Looking at sitcoms most centre around misfits, semi dysfunctional families or the misadventures of youth. These are easy to write around but there is a section of society, and they are growing year on year, which can also provide lots of laughs. It is the late middle aged and elderly. They get a bit forgotten but it is worth remembering that this is generation that has seen it all plus they got to be in their twenties in the hedonistic age of the 1960’s and 70’s so they’ve pretty much seen it all. This has changed as there are several comedy programs that focus on the world of the retired, and the fun they can get up to fill the time now that employment is over. These older sitcoms and programs are perfect to watch with your care individuals if you work in Dementia live in care as the stories and locations will often spark a conversation or perhaps a memory reminder.
- Last of the Summer Wine. Lasting for thirty seven years and several cast changes this is seen as one of the best examples. Written by the master of the gentle comedy Roy Clarke (also responsible for Open all Hours and Keeping up Appearances) the show focused on 3 retired friends spending their days in a picturesque village in the Yorkshire dales. It combined slapstick humour, owing much to the silent generation of film, with gentle ribbing by the three friends. The cast reads like a who’s who of British Comedy with Bill Owen, Kathy Staff, Dame Thora Hird, Peter Sallis who kept up the role of Clegg into his late eighties and Burt Kwouk all coming into replace aging characters.
- Still Game. A gem from Scotland that has managed to translate well into the mainstream. It’s similar to Summer Wine but the focus is more about the ribald elements of life. Again it centres around three male protagonists that are determined to make their Seventies go with a bang.
- The Golden girls. This brilliant US comedy focuses on four ladies that have seen life and a bit more. Rose from St Olaf Minnesota, the naïve but wise peacemaker, between the buxom life loving, and some would say over indulging, Southern Belle Blanche and Dorothy the hard nosed New Yorker divorcee forced to bring her acerbic but actually deeply caring Mother along. The knockabout quick script and perfect one-liners laid down the template for how Frasier and Friends would be made.
- Waiting for God. Set in a nursing home around the friendship of two residents Diana and Tom. Both are there for the convenience of their families and they dedicate their lives to causing trouble for the management and their infrequently visiting relatives.