The Lodge
A Film in Progress

The National LGBTQ Task Force estimates 3 million LGBTQ+ elders now live in the United States. As baby boomers are retiring, the audience is rapidly increasing for a documentary that explores continuing care dedicated to the specific needs of LGBTQ+ elders.

“We are delighted to endorse Pam Walton’s latest documentary, The Lodge. We encourage your support for this worthy project.” »Full letter of endorsement

—Rea Carey, Executive Director, National LGBTQ Task Force

The Lodge is a work-in-progress.


The Lodge is a story about the first-of-its kind LGBTQ retirement community. Fountaingrove Lodge in Santa Rosa, California, is the nation’s first state-licensed continuing care retirement community (CCRC) that’s specifically for LGBTQ+ seniors and their straight allies. Today approximately 100 residents from all over the United States live at The Lodge. The average age is 75; the oldest person is 97. It offers a continuum of care from independent living to failing health.

Fountaingrove Lodge

Filmmakers Pam Walton, 75, and Ruth Carranza, 70, are best qualified to make this film because we have unique access to it – we’ve been living at The Lodge since December 2017. We’ve come to know and have gained the trust of the people who live here. The Lodge looks inside this unique experiment in gay/straight living to show us the daily lives, hopes, and fears of people in their 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s. What you discover will surprise you.


“Advocates for L.G.B.T. seniors have argued for years that long-term care facilities fail to protect them against discrimination and harassment, leaving them particularly vulnerable.”

Joni Zimmerman and Mathile Rothschild, residents at Fountaingrove Lodge since 2013.
Joni and Mathile, residents at Fountaingrove Lodge since 2013

“Same-sex partners may not be allowed to room together; staff may treat LGBT elders insensitively; recreational interests may be ignored or denied; finances and benefits normally given to heterosexual partners may be withheld from surviving same-sex partners; and the loneliness and isolation that accompany aging may be compounded by discrimination.”

The LGBTQ+ community in the United States has been waiting for a place like Fountaingrove Lodge. According to the Sonoma County Gazette, it was the first of its kind in “the world”! The Press Democrat, The New York Times, and the San Francisco Chronicle noted its opening in November 2013. And now the country is waiting to see whether its welcoming and accepting policies will survive and encourage the building of other like communities.

Senior Gay Pride marchers, June 2019
John and Bill, Lodge residents

Sponsored by the International Documentary Association