Building a Bridge for Boomers
Baby boomers are reaching retirement age. In Maryland, about 1.3 million boomers will turn 65 within a decade.
“[As] the boomers are coming of age, there’s a real need for resources,” explains Faith Michel, Director of Outreach for Maryland Public Television (MPT). To address that need, MPT committed to serving as a bridge between seniors and local resources.
The station convened a summit of area health and education leaders to create a plan for addressing these needs and coordinating efforts. A community advisory committee helped find additional funding to broaden the project’s local impact.
“We came up a good plan of action,” Faith notes. “We wanted to help people be more proactive.”
MPT staged a series of community events and programming, including a health fair with a whole day of presentations on complementary medicine for 500 attendees. Afterward, MPT aired the PBS program “The New Medicine” as a follow-up to the health fair.
Dr. Brian Berman, director of the Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and author of several books, played an integral role. Dr. Berman got involved “to raise awareness of what integrative medicine is about and how our mind can affect our health,” he explains.
Berman’s involvement led to presentations, book-signings, on-air interviews and a guest appearance on a local follow-up broadcast on MPT. Community volunteers fielded about two hundred calls during this broadcast alone. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg, according to Berman. “We certainly had an increase in the number of calls to our center’s clinic, asking about available services and further information.”
For MPT, this is just the beginning of their ongoing commitment to aging baby boomers. “[This issue] is not going to go away anytime soon,” Michel says. MPT continues to air relevant programs, host community events, and work with community partners to meet the needs of Maryland’s aging population.