Autumn is upon us and COVID-19 is still taking its toll on the world, particularly for older adults with health issues. In New Jersey, schools are back in session, many employees are returning to work and more businesses are finally able to re-open their doors. Now what?
NJ Foundation for Aging’s Melissa Chalker, host of the award-winning TV program Aging Insights, sought answers to that question from a diverse group of experts in the field of aging. The result is a two-part episode of Aging Insights, titled “COVID-19: Now What?” Launched in 2011, Aging Insights can be viewed here on YouTube, on NJFA’s website at njfoundationforaging.org/aging-insights and more than 70 public-access stations across NJ (check local listings for channels and times).
Part 1 of “COVID-19: Now What?” (Aging Insights Episode #109) features New York Times columnist and New Jersey resident Paula Span, Piscataway Office on Aging Director Amy Bauman, and Postdoctoral Associate with the School of Social Work at Rutgers University, Dr. Althea Pestine-Stevens. Guests on Part 2, which will air in November, are the coordinator of NJ’s Foster Grandparent Program, a physician and an educator.
Span, Bauman and Pestine-Stevens provide their perspectives on the risks that still exist for older adults and the lasting impact that COVID-19 will have. They discuss such issues as the choices seniors must make before they decide to go out and determining what makes your life worth living, opportunities and services available through local senior centers and ways the Piscataway location has been providing for its members, and how many older adults have lost their social connectedness and why we now can share empathy for people whose isolation began long before the pandemic.
Paula Span writes the New Old Age column (nytimes.com/column/the-new-old-age) and the Generation Grandparent column (nytimes.com/column/generation-grandparent) for the New York Times. A veteran journalist, she has been a staff writer for the Washington Post and a freelance contributor to numerous national magazines. She is the author of “When the Time Comes: Families With Aging Parents Share Their Struggles and Solutions.” Span also has been teaching at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism since 1999.
Amy Bauman is the Director of the Piscataway Township Office on Aging. She has 23 years of experience directing Senior Citizen Centers and assisting older adults with staying in the community for as long as possible. She earned Basic and Advanced Gerontology and Senior Housing certifications, as well as an Affordable Housing Certification, from Rutgers University. Additionally, she is a NJ Certified Assisted Living Administrator and Recreation Administrator.
Dr. Althea Pestine-Stevens is a postdoctoral associate at Rutgers University School of Social Work. Her primary area of research is understanding and measuring inter-organizational collaboration in age-friendly community initiatives. Other areas of study include social isolation and community practice. She teaches a course on the network of aging services and has led community-engaged research and program evaluation efforts with nonprofit organizations, public agencies and community coalitions.
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New Jersey Foundation for Aging (njfoundationforaging.org) is the only statewide nonprofit organization focused solely on providing leadership in public policy and education to enable older adults to live with independence and dignity in their communities. In addition to its policy leadership role, NJFA produces the award-winning Aging Insights, a monthly half-hour TV program promoting dialogue on critical issues for older adults and caregivers. The show can be seen on more than 70 public-access stations and njfoundationforaging.org/aging-insights. NJFA also presents an annual conference offering development opportunities and best practices for professionals entrusted with caring for seniors.