A woman stands in front of a building.

Preview: Never Too Old proves you can do anything regardless of age

As they say, age is just a number. That saying is driven home in the excellent, inspiring “Never Too Old.”

Debuting Thursday at 9 p.m. on CBC as part of CBC Docs POV, the project—from Dream Street Pictures, who made the equally excellent “Sickboy”—tells the story of 82-year-old Olive Bryanton who aims to earn her PhD, and documents the lives of women over 85 living in rural Canada.

Never one to relax, cameras capture Prince Edward Island native Olive as she works on her doctoral thesis at the University of Prince Edward Island. Her thesis? To prove most octogenarians and older defy the stereotype of taking it easy. Olive recruited 10 women aged 85-91, living in rural P.E.I., to document their busy lives and determine what support, if any, was there helping or hindering them in their lives.

“I’m sick and tired of hearing older adults are a burden on society, because they’re not,” Olive says. She, and the ladies we meet in “Never Too Old,” would run circles around me and a lot of younger folks I know. Like 91-year-old Theresa, a self-professed tomboy who delights in cutting the grass on her riding lawnmower and has “no notion of living anywhere else.” Or 88-year-old Anna, who is still active in her farming community; 87-year-old Ruby, the centre of her senior’s group; and 89-year-old Nan, who paints, revels in her “beautiful junk” and still feels sexual.

At the heart of Olive’s message is dropping the stigma that the older generation isn’t of value to society. As she points out, society’s focus is on those living in care facilities. But a mere 10 per cent of seniors are living in them. They’re active and they have something to say.

“I have never said to myself, ‘It’s too late to do something’ or ‘I’m too old to do something,'” Olive says. “That has never entered my mind.”

“Never Too Old” airs as part of CBC Docs POV on Thursday at 9 p.m. on CBC and streams on CBC Gem.

Image courtesy of CBC.

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2 thoughts on “Preview: Never Too Old proves you can do anything regardless of age”

  1. What a wonderful documentary. Olive is such an inspiration. Congratulations, Olive in getting her PhD.

    My mother lived in her own home in a semi-rural area in Eastern Ontario until she was 90. Unfortunately, due to dementia issues she had to move into an assisted living facility in a nearby town and eventually moved into a senior care facility as her health deteriorated. She passed away in September, 2018 at age 97. She was widowed at age 52, and at the time of my father’s death, she had had 5 children ranging in age from 21 to 7 years in age. She worked part time until age 65 and was extremely active in her community, putting in thousands of hours of volunteer work both at her church and the local hospital. She is my inspiration to keep active and to keep on working for many more years at a job that I love, even though I will be turning 65 this December.

    I hope that Olive’s research will improve the lives of older women in P.E.I. and the remainder of Canada.

  2. I’ve just finished watching the documentary about Olive Bryanston. I enjoyed it immensely!

    I am inspired by Olive and I admire her greatly.

    Please send her my congratulations. I’m so happy for her.

    Elaine Adam

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