WPBS Supports Senior Isolation Initiative with a Free Community Screening and Discussion

WATERTOWN, NY (March 14, 2023) – WPBS-TV is proud to present a Free Community Screening of Aging Together in New York – an original WPBS production, crafted from informative segments that will air throughout April and May on WPBS Weekly: Inside the Stories (Tuesday evenings at 7:30 pm). The event will be held on Wednesday, March 29th from 6:00 – 8:00 pm at the Roswell P. Flower Memorial Library in Watertown, NY. After the screening, a brief discussion will follow with Guest Speaker Joanne Nugent-Ward of Seniors Helping Seniors.

Through interviews with community members, Aging Together in New York celebrates the vibrant lives and contributions of our elder population, while exploring challenges and solutions to issues facing older North Country residents. Senior isolation, depression, and loneliness is a fast growing issue in our nation, further exacerbated by the COVID pandemic. Aging Together in New York addresses those issues and more.

The initiative is supported by the New York State Education Department.

In Aging Together in New York, WPBS sat down with Greg Olsen, Director at the New York State Office For the Aging in Albany, for a one-on-one interview to discuss NYSOFA’s role in addressing some of the issues confronting our elder population, such as isolation, loneliness, depression, declining health, and transportation.  In the interview, Greg talks about contributing factors to senior isolation and depression, and various programs available to seniors that can help our elder population thrive.  Our senior population is often undervalued and underappreciated. Greg also emphasizes the value and impact senior citizens have on our economies and communities – not just through wealth, wisdom, and experience, but also the number of hours spent volunteering, caregiving, and raising grandchildren. The numbers just might shock you – and give you a new perspective about our elders.

One way the Office for the Aging locally, and state-wide, is helping to combat isolation is through the use of robo-pets. In the documentary, WPBS goes inside the homes of two local residents whose robotic furry companions offer a comforting presence around the clock. According to the Office for the Aging in Albany, these artificially intelligent creatures have reduced feelings of isolation and loneliness in seniors by 75%.

Many seniors have found that volunteering is also an excellent way to help reduce feelings of isolation, depression, and loneliness. When people retire from a job or a long-term career, they often find that their “purpose in life” has disappeared along with their weekly paycheck. At Jefferson County Hospice, volunteers share their time with patients ready to pass to the other side. In Aging Together in New York, we meet two women who have spent several years volunteering with both in-home hospice care and at the hospice facility. We also meet Nora, a therapy dog that eases the hearts and minds of seniors at the end of life.

This event is free and open to the public. Attendees are asked to register at: wpbstv.org/events.

About WPBS
WPBS is a PBS station serving approximately 650,000 households throughout Northern New York and Eastern Ontario via cable, satellite, Internet and over-the-air distribution. WPBS is a non-profit organization whose mission is to educate, inform, and engage its two-nation region with exceptional and trusted content across multiple platforms. Its vision is to be the premier provider of extraordinary public media that instills wonder and curiosity across generations and borders. More information about WPBS, including a full channel listing, is available at wpbstv.org, or by following WPBS on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.