PBS Documentary Fast Forward Features Joe Coughlin, AGNES

by Adam Felts

A PBS documentary that follows families as they travel into their futures features AgeLab Director Joseph Coughlin and the AgeLab’s Age Gain Now Empathy System, AGNES. The documentary, titled Fast Forward, exposes people to how they might look and feel when they are older, to prompt conversations and reflections on aging and how to live a good life in older age.

In the leadup to the documentary’s release, Dr. Coughlin and AgeLab Research Specialist Sam Brady sat down with Fast Forward director Eric Hurtig for a conversation on some of the movie’s topics and themes, including the value of visualizing one’s future self, the power of intergenerational connections, and the possibility of living well in one’s 80s, 90s, and beyond.

Dr. Coughlin noted his favorite scene in the documentary was one that featured a 90-year-old café hostess in Philadelphia named Frida. Speaking about that scene, he said, “You could tell that she really enjoyed not just the community but having a sense of purpose … And I think that showed that … the end of life need not be, shall we say, a sad song … I believe that woman really exemplifies what aging could be even at age 90.”

Learn more about the Fast Forward documentary here.

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About the Author

Photo of Adam Felts
Adam Felts

Adam Felts is a researcher and writer at the MIT AgeLab. Currently he is involved in research on the experiences of family caregivers and the future of financial advice. He also manages the AgeLab blog and newsletter. He received his Master's in Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Boston University in 2014 and his Master's of Theological Studies from Boston University in 2019.

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