Marika Lhoumeau

Actress / Screenwriter / Caregiver / Gerontology student, 53 years old  

For more than twenty-five years, Marika has worked in theatre, television and film. Since her studies at L’INIS in 2013, she is also devoting herself to writing, especially for film. Her short films have been shown to several festivals, and her first feature-length script will be directed in 2021 by filmmaker Nathalie Saint-Pierre. She is currently completing a documentary podcast, “Becoming Margot”, that tells her story as a caregiver to her father throughout his dementia. She’s also studying part-time at the Université de Montréal in gerontology.

Amongst all of the questions that resonate with you about aging and growing old, which one seems the most essential for you that you would like to share ?

I am particularly interested in issues related to seniors and vulnerable people dealing with dementia. Having helped my father through his own issues with dementia for the past three years, I have seen that there is still a long way to go to offer the health conditions, respect and dignity to which these people are entitled. Dementia will also become a major health issue in the coming years. We must absolutely prepare for it.

From your own experiences, tell us about a significant moment or event in your personal or professional life that shaped your perspective around aging.

Being there for my father through his dementia was a turning point in my personal and professional life. I plunged into this “adventure” with fear and apprehension, and it left me moved, enriched by a transformative experience, closer to my humanity. My view of aging has completely changed with this experience. I no longer see the older person as “others” but more as “we”. I also had the opportunity to experience regularly the long-term care world (CHSLD etc.) and was able to see how desperate the needs (especially human) are. I wanted to share my story in a documentary podcast entitled “Becoming Margot”. It will be broadcast on Télé-Québec’s digital platform in 2021. This accompaniment with my father has also made me want to pursue my awareness with dementia and I will undertake a master’s degree in theatre at UQAM to further my thinking as an artist in connection with this subject. In the meantime, I enrolled in the Gerontology Certificate to gain a broader perspective on aging. So I would say that my personal and professional life have undergone a small revolution! And I am only better off with that.