It’s Not A Burden is an intimate, humorous and heartfelt journey into the stories of adult children navigating the challenges and joys of caring for their aging parents. The film highlights several LGBTQ families and their trials and tribulations of caregiving for an aging loved one. 

They spent much of their lives taking care of us, now it’s our turn. Emmy-nominated  filmmaker Michelle Boyaner (HBO’s Packed in a Trunk) shares her complex and  devastatingly tender journey caring for her long-divorced aging parents– her mother  Elaine, who abandoned the family and left then 19-year-old Michelle to help raise her five younger siblings and is now faced with dementia, and her father Morris, once a brilliant  Aerospace Engineer and now a hoarder unable to navigate his own world.

A diverse mix of other families are woven in, each with their own unique challenges.  You’ll meet Esther, an entertainer whose daughters bring love and laughter to her last  act, and Mike, who helps his mother Florence while raising teenagers as s single father.  

With humour and heart, the film explores not only the frustrations and fears, but also the  transformative bonds that happen when familial roles are reversed.  Is it a burden or a blessing? Maybe a little of both.  

IT’S NOT A BURDEN is written, directed and produced by Emmy®-nominated filmmaker Michelle Boyaner (Packed in a Trunk: The Lost Art of Edith Lake Wilkinson). Barbara Green (A Finished Life: The Goodbye and No Regrets Tour) served as Cinematographer/Editor/Producer. Katie Ford (Miss Congeniality) and Wendy Zipes Hunter (Voices of Parkland) served as Producers. Original score composed by Joanna Katcher (Nice Manners) featuring songs by Danielle Ate The Sandwich. Executive Producers include Maxine Lapiduss, Aaron Lustig and Barb Held. 

The film is distributed by Gravitas Ventures (North American), a Red Arrow Studios Company and will be released on VOD  on June 1, 2021 on several platforms including iTunes, Vudu, Google Play, Vimeo and more.

For more information about the film visit


I can’t say it was the lowest of low points, but it was in my top 10. I had just  dropped down to the floor and performed an awkward belly crawl underneath the  door to the handicapped stall in a large, crowded public restroom to help rescue  my then 77-year-old Mother Elaine from the toilet seat where she had insisted, just  10 minutes earlier, that she’d be able to get up from on her own. 

Upon my arrival in the stall, I saw that my Mom was weeping. She had just been  shrieking– something I heard a lot of growing up, but now she was weeping. Then  I started weeping too. She didn’t want me to have to come and help get her off of  the toilet and I definitely didn’t want to be there. Eventually we both stopped  weeping, then started laughing, and finally got her off the seat, clothes re-arranged  and back into the wheelchair, hurrying to get to the 11:30AM matinee showing of  MAGIC MIKE XXL (her choice.) 

When we finally exited the stall there was a woman, a few years older than me,  standing near a sink watching us. She had tears in her eyes, and as we passed  her, she put her hand on my shoulder and told me that her Mother had passed  

away a few months prior, and she never thought she’d say it, but she missed  moments like what she just overheard happening to my Mom and I. She told me  that I was a good daughter and that I should cherish every moment I get to spend  with my Mom. 

A few weeks later, my partner Barbara & I were sitting with dear friends and  instead of a lighthearted chat about the latest TV shows we were binge-watching,  we found ourselves talking about what brand of adult diapers and dementia  medications we were getting for our parents. We were all in the midst of caring (in  one way or another) for our aging parents and felt stressed, il-equipped and were  often laughing through the tears. 

Every time the subject of caring for our parents came up, other friends, work  associates or even strangers in line at the grocery store all added their “amen” to  the chorus. 

It started to feel like an epidemic. And so, the documentary, IT’S NOT A BURDEN:  The Humor and Heartache of Raising Elderly Parents was born.

By the middle of 2015, we had outfitted our two vintage Volvos with a tiny action  camera (which came to be known as the “Elaine Cam”) that we would turn on  every time I had my Mom in the car on our way to Doctor’s appointments or other  weekly outings, to help capture our conversations. Ours was a complicated  relationship and I knew that if I could give others a glimpse into that, they might be  able to find some value in it for themselves. 

On the other hand, my relationship with my Dad had always been very good– we  were extremely close, but his hoarding issue had concerned my siblings and I for  well over a decade. When I once again raised the issue about the extreme clutter  in his home in the context of this new film project, he surprisingly agreed to let us  film with him and see where that would lead. 

I knew that this shouldn’t be a film just about my story with my parents. I wanted  to be able to show all the different ways this looked for other people too, so I  began reaching out to find families that were willing to share their stories with us.  Over the course of our four years of filming, we travelled to several states across  the country and families generously welcomed us into their homes and hearts and  shared what this journey looked like for them. 

As a group, we bear witness to the universal challenges and remarkable rewards  of this experience. These truths are the heart of this film and it’s an honor to be  able to share them. 

Michelle Boyaner 



About the Author

Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist with a focus on travel, lifestyle, entertainment and hospitality. He has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews with musicians, actors and other public personalities. He enjoys discovering delicious eats, tasting spirited treats, and being mesmerized by musical beats.