The Academy Awards will be handed out this evening.  You  probably have heard about or scene all of the movies nominated for best picture, best actor and actress, and best director.  However, you are less likely to have heard about a film nominated for an Academy Award for best documentary short subject, Edith + Eddie.

The short film tells  the story of Edith and Eddie, ages 96 and 95, America’s oldest interracial newlyweds. Their love story is disrupted by a family feud about caring for an aging parent that threatens to tear the couple apart.   The movie begins in the fall of 2014 with Edith Hill, 96, and Eddie Harrison, 95, who were married only a few months before, enjoying a series of intimate moments — dancing together, holding hands, exercising and chatting comfortably.  It ends months later with the couple being separated by Edith’s court-appointed legal guardian, with police on the scene, and Edith taken off abruptly to Florida. Shockingly, Eddie died only a few weeks later.

There are allegations from one of Edith’s daughters about money issues and possession of the family home, as well as insinuations of racism (Edith is black, Eddie is white).  The movie is also critical of the legal guardianship system in the US by its failing to adequately protect elders.

However, as I have  learned in my close to 20 years as an elder care law attorney, family disputes about how to care for frail, vulnerable elderly parents are inevitably complicated and full of unresolved emotional issues. The focus should always be on what is in the best interest of the elderly parent.  Hopefully, Edith + Eddie can create a dialogue on aging in America and the role of the courts to act in the best interest of the elder.

You can watch the short film at the below link:

Edith + Eddie


About Jerry

Jerold E. Rothkoff, a practicing New Jersey and Pennsylvania attorney, is the Principal of the Rothkoff Law Group, an elder care law firm. Jerry dedicates his practice to serving clients in the areas of life care planning, long-term care planning, Medicaid & VA benefits, and advocacy for the elderly and disabled. He is past President of the NJ Chapter of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, former chair of the elder law section of the NJ State Bar Association, and past President of the Life Care Planning Law Firm Association. Jerry continues to be an outspoken advocate for the rights of the elderly and disabled. He writes for and gives presentations regularly to attorneys and other professionals about legal issues related to seniors and those with disabilities. Jerry’s community activities include the Twilight Wish Foundation, the Delaware Valley Stroke Council, the Alzheimer’s Association, as well as numerous other advocacy groups. When not in the office, Jerry spends time with his wife, Erica, and their five children, eighteen-year old identical twin girls, Liza and Julia, fifteen-year old fraternal twin boys, Evan and Gregory, and six-year old Aitan.

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