TV show puts spotlight on seniors
By Tiffany Esshaki
C & G Staff Writer
Greg Bator knows a thing or two about senior living. As an attorney specializing in the needs of older adults, Bator has plenty of experience working with seniors and the families that care for them. The task of helping those seniors was one he enjoyed and took very seriously.
Over the years, though, he noticed that not all seniors were fortunate enough to have the knowledge and support they needed to deal with the issues that arise in advancing age. Seeing that need, Bator thought of developing a TV program designed to engage and inform seniors on a variety of topics relevant to their lifestyle. “Graceful Aging” was born.
“There really was an absence of a show that provided practical information,” said Bator. “From there, I developed a concept and started doing shows. And I can’t stop, because it’s so much fun.”
Now, three years later, Bator’s program is one of the most popular cable access shows in America, reaching more than 12 million households. Each episode of “Graceful Aging” is 30 minutes long, and according to Bator, is chock-full of useful information for adults ages 40-120, from driving tips to caregiving issues and even talks about keeping intimacy alive in older age.
“I try to focus all the shows on how we can maintain maximum independence and vibrancy in our lives,” he said. “What I try to do is deal with issues relating to aging, and each show covers a single topic, like caregiving issues, housing or relationships. I bring in an expert to talk about that.”
The show is produced at the Bloomfield Community Television studios in Bloomfield Hills. He said that he designs each talk show to be pertinent to viewers nationwide and in a way that the information discussed is timeless, so episodes can be viewed at any time and still be relevant. The show airs on more than 280 cable access stations across the United States and continues to grow, as viewers request their local cable providers to start airing the program. Bator makes “Graceful Aging” available to stations free of charge. But for those who aren’t able to see the show in their area, segments can be seen on the show’s website.
Bator said the reason he makes the show available to stations at no charge is that it’s more important to him that seniors get the information they need to live a healthy, independent life.
“I want people to come together at kitchen tables and in living rooms and continue the show after it ends,” he said. “We give them information and vocabulary, so they have more to work with when dealing with the issues.”
The show isn’t just for seniors, though. Fan Norine Zimmer, 77, of Huntington Woods said that adults of all ages can learn from the topics discussed in the program, as we’re all aging in some way.
“Preparing for aging is a very important part of our living, and Greg’s program absolutely opens doors and is very convincing about how much influences we have over our aging, as much as genetics,” she said. “It’s interesting, loaded with information, and it has an appeal for everyone.”
Renee Cortright is the executive director of the Birmingham Area Seniors Coordinating Council and Center. She said that visitors of the BASCC will often watch the program on the center’s large TV, and she thinks it’s great that there’s a show dedicated to aging, because everyone can relate to the topic in some way.
“Any information that can benefit someone living independently and supports them to continue to live independently is beneficial not only to the senior and their family, but the community at large.”
To find out if “Graceful Aging” airs in your area, call your local cable provider. For more information on “Graceful Aging,” visit www.GracefulAging.com.
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