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Employee Engagement Program

Fast-Forward Film Gives Employers A New Tool In Supporting Families

***** NY, NY There’s no question families have taken a tremendous hit across the globe over the past year and particularly in the US. This, combined with the pre-pandemic increase in US intergenerational living, families are in closer quarters amidst more stressful conditions than ever before. Health concerns, financial issues and loss of family members are a regular occurrence today leaving families searching for hope and answers.

In addition to all the ways COVID-19 has uprooted family life as we know it, the fallout of the pandemic has also disrupted the workplace in unprecedented ways. With many young adults having to become caregivers sooner than expected, employers have been forced to grapple with how best to support their employees and the added layer of responsibilities in their lives.

A new documentary film, Fast-Forward, recently debuted on PBS nationwide and combined with its Community Impact & Outreach effort is providing a fresh perspective for families to get ahead of the strain of planning for the aging process. Narrated by Rosario Dawson and with original music from Andrew Bird, the film brings millennials and their parents together to meet their future selves.

“After working on this topic for four years, one clear reality remains: it’s not easy to get people to plan for – or even talk – about their aging process,” said Fast-Forward Director, Michael Eric Hurtig of FLX Entertainment.“After they tried on the MIT-produced aging suit that simulates the physical changes associated with aging and saw their future selves in the mirror with advanced make-up, our cast made it clear that aging is a lot to take on.”

In an effort to ameliorate this problem, Executive Producer and PBS veteran, Bill Baker, created Fast-Forward with Hurtig to help families realize the need to put preparing for aging on the agenda, whether it be financial, health, living arrangements, advance care directives or simply “having the conversation.”

With the support of The John A. Hartford and Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, FLX has also created a robust, free Impact & Outreach program for businesses and community organizations. The program, complete with private screenings, virtual panels and digital engagements mirrors the ‘aging bootcamp’ the film cast experienced. “We’re bringing the Fast-Forward program to businesses to help employers and employees start these conversations about care and family which are so often left out of the workplace,” Hurtig said.

And, the timing for an outreach project of this type seems to be right. As we enter the post-pandemic world, business leaders have a unique opportunity to advance a much needed dialogue with their workforce around issues related to aging, such as caregiving, financial planning and more. Employee Assistance “Programs like this are on the rise nationally,” says Executive Director of the Bernard L. Schwartz Center for Media, Public Policy and Education, at Fordham University, Bill Baker. “Since COVID-19, these programs are more important than ever to help support employees and the families on the other side of the Zoom calls.”

“The goal of the Fast-Forward Social Impact Program on Aging,” says Michael LeFort, Head of Marketing & Impact for the film, “is to go wide with our message and provide free support to businesses and community groups so they can help their employees and members take a proactive look at the process of aging.” By creating more spaces in the work environment where honest and difficult conversations around these issues can occur, employers can more holistically support their workforce and ensure they’re more healthy, productive, and prepared for the aging process at every stage of their professional lives.

A.G.N.E.S. Suit

One of the stars of the film is “A.G.N.E.S.” the MIT-produced aging empathy suit which was designed to physically age someone by 30 years and to induce the appropriate empathy. This tool has been used by the MIT Age Lab in a variety of ways to help the community understand more fully and empathize with the aging process in order to understand it and prepare for it. Simple as it may seem, showing empathy is an invaluable way employers can build trust with employees. Cultivating spaces where conversations on aging can take place and employees can access resources lets employees know that their holistic wellbeing is an organizational priority.

“More businesses are recognizing the value in supporting employees who are balancing work and caregiving for older family members,” said Terry Fulmer, PhD, RN, FAAN, president of The John A. Hartford Foundation. “We are excited to support Fast-Forward screenings as a way for companies and community groups to help families proactively prepare for aging.”

With millions already engaged nationally and thousands saying they now feel more prepared for aging than before they saw the film, Fast-Forward will continue to bring its message of putting aging on the agenda for families and in the workplace for months to come.

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To learn more about the Fast-Forward Social Impact Program on Aging, visit:  http://www.fastforwardmovie.com/do-more or email Michael LeFort at michael.lefort@flxentertainment.com to discuss the program.