Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Caring for the Elderly

On KobreGuide, we previously showcased an intensely personal story about a couple -- filmmaker Julie Winokur and photojournalist Ed Kashi -- who uprooted themselves and their two kids to move across the country to care for her octogenarian father. Winokur and Kashi used their storytelling gifts to craft a first-person video chronicle of universal appeal, as they find themselves among the 20 million Americans who are caught between having to simultaneously take care of young children and aging parents. It was produced by MediaStorm, appeared on MSNBC, and is called "The Sandwich Generation."

We've just added some more chapters to the ongoing saga of how America is coping with a booming population of seniors who are afflicted with dementia, and our frustratingly limited resources for caring for them. The Roanoke Times embarked on an ambitious multi-faceted online project that examines how well their region is taking care of its elderly. (Roanoke's senior population is one of the largest per capita in the nation.)

Their series, Age of Uncertainty, includes a four-part video story of a woman caring for her husband who suffers from dementia, and eight additional videos covering topics such as doctors who make house calls, Meals on Wheels, a home care aid, and the profile of a geriatrician. The package is the result of a successful collaboration of writer Beth Macy and videojournalist Josh Meltzer. This enterprising project looks at a range of care options for the elderly, and repeatedly asks the important question: How will we as a society take care of our increasingly aging population?

Please take a look at both of these packages -- one from a first-person perspective, the other a more traditional third-person perspective. They're both heart-wrenching, and we think you'll appreciate the merits of each. Please let us know what you think, by using the Comments box on their respective pages. Then click the "Share This" icon at the top of each story's page, so that you can email it to friends, or post it to your favorite social-network Website. Hard-hitting stories like these are too good, and too valuable, to keep secret.

1 comment:

Aging Avenues said...

This is going to be common place for families in the next ten years. Today one out of every six people from the age of 45-65 are caring for an elderly loved one. This is extremely difficult for the 60% who are still working and the 40% that still have children at home. It helps to get educated on your options prior to needing the help so you don't just react. It's almost like at 50 you get a colonoscapy and your go to a seminar on Helping Your Aging Parents. I've worked with seniors and their families for years now. Because of the lack of information I developed a website that covers 200 aging issues, Currently it only has resources and service providers for the Indianapolis area but will eventually will go nationwide. The topics are universal and are a good place to help people be prepared.