Monday, February 24, 2014

Al Jazeera America presents four- part series on Aging in America

This week, Al Jazeera America’s AMERICA TONIGHT presents an in-depth series of segments that explore the many facets of aging in America. Details on the series as follows:

  • The Silent Army airs Monday, February 24 – There are an estimated 29 million unpaid and culturally invisible family caregivers – 9 percent of the US population – who help take care of someone over 74. We profile three women who have given over their lives in different ways to care for their parents. One woman took her father in and has to pay for daycare and a caregiver so she can continue to work; another suffered through forcibly putting her angry father into a home; a third went on what she thought would be a two week visit to help her parents and ended up staying to care for them, giving up life with her husband and son. They are members of the silent army. Michael Okwu reports.
  • Street Angels airs Tuesday, February 25 – Many families with aging parents rely on caretakers, aides that one daughter called “street angels” because they provide compassionate care and allow families to keep their loved ones out of an institution. But who takes care of the caretakers? Despite poor pay and often harsh lives of their own, they draw on wells of compassion and emotional skill to care for parents their own children may not have time for. They are not entitled to minimum wage, overtime or other protections because their services are often interpreted as mere companionship. We profile one such street angel, who barely makes it on her salary as she cares for an elderly man in Brooklyn.
  • Seniors Helping Seniors airs Wednesday, February 26 – With a burgeoning senior population in the United States - more seniors need care - and there's not enough help. There is one demographic with extra time on their hands though - retired seniors. We profile New Hampshire resident Larry Davis who supplies the elderly in his town with firewood, helps them winterize their homes and shovels snow. He’s part of a growing community of seniors helping seniors. His help means an elderly woman can stay in her home a little longer. Davis is paying it forward; he can still haul firewood and shovel snow, but it won’t last forever and he hopes that when he needs it, someone will be around to do the same thing for him. Christof Putzel reports.
  • Techno-Care airs Thursday, February 27 – Will high tech homes help grandma avoid the nursing home? Meet the early adopters in elder care technology who are testing the limits of how robots and "aware homes" can prolong the time that older adults stay in their own homes. We profile a man who bought his mother a telepresence robot. Using the robot, he and his 3 siblings can roam around her apartment and check in on Edith's well-being. We also look at sensor technology -- mounted on beds, bathrooms, hallways, medicine cabinets, stoves, doorways -- that allows adult children to wire up their parent's home for 24-hr a day monitoring. For some families, it provides a valuable safety net, but at the expense of privacy.  Adam May reports. 

Join the conversation at @AmericaTonight.

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