Older Adult Podcasters On Air!
By Lori Mars, JD, LLM
August 16, 2023
Of the over 2.5 million podcasts in the United States, over 100 address issues relating to older adults and aging. These podcasts run the gamut from the cheerfully framed Zestful Aging, Optimal Aging, and Successful Aging to the more bleakly titled Aging Immaturely, Aging Terribly, and even Old Cow. Among this mix of broadcasts are two that have been developed by older adults for older adults (and just about anyone else) about the joys and challenges of aging: Not Born Yesterday and Specifically for Seniors. Both podcasts were conceived and launched during the lonely days of pandemic isolation to engage their innovative creators and inform their devoted audiences.
Not Born Yesterday
With 62 podcasts to their credit, accomplished public relations consultants and prolific television and radio producers Miriam Goodman and Lynn Winter-Gross, both 80 and San Franciscans, have used their platform to explore a range of eclectic topics at the intersection of aging and ageism. Former college roommates at the University of Michigan and friends for nearly 60 years, the pair are ardent social justice advocates. A half-century ago, Miriam launched the nation’s first radio show on feminism, a project that Lynn continued when Miriam turned her energy to television. Miriam has earned numerous broadcasting accolades, while Lynn has earned three degrees and served as the Director of Communications for all nine Los Angeles community colleges. Just a few months ago, the duo traveled with Global Volunteers to Puerto Rico to educate and mentor students. Miriam currently serves on a social action committee to deliver supplies to Ukrainians, is a board member of the Randall Museum of Science, Nature, and the Arts, and is learning Spanish. Lynn is an acrylic landscape artist and encaustic painter, assists Ukrainian refugees, and teaches job interviewing skills to adults re-entering the workplace. Miriam and Lynn bring their passion for equity and inclusivity to each broadcast. Both women lament the fact that as people are living longer, our society and structures have not recognized and prepared for this trend. They are committed to raising awareness of the policies and practices that impact the aging population. Miriam and Lynn scour the news to identify topics of interest, meticulously research the subject matter, and select expert guests to discuss the issues. Through their podcast, they have exposed concerns relating to senior housing, ageism, and dating, among others. Recent episodes, accessible on the home page of their website, have tackled “Never Too Old for Love,” “Aging in Prison: Making a Life After Release,” and “Looking on the Bright Side–Aging Is a Gift,” featuring elder justice expert and acclaimed author M.T. Connolly. Future topics include finding the right place to live as we age and navigating end of life issues with a death doula.
Specifically for Seniors
Retired dentist and former Assistant Clinical Professor at the Harvard School of Dental Medicine, 87-year-old Bostonian Larry Barsh is a renaissance man and the creative voice behind Specifically for Seniors. As the pandemic was winding down in February 2022, but social isolation remained in high gear, Larry purchased a microphone and webcam from Amazon and entered the podcast arena to connect with people. New to broadcasting, but expert at reinventing his professional path, Larry followed his 40-year dentistry career with successful pursuits into website development, television studio photography, and digital art. His website about sleep apnea, “Snoring isn’t Sexy,” garnered visitors from 173 countries and seven continents. Larry’s photographs appeared in Rolling Stone, Variety, and the Hollywood Reporter. Along the way, he published a textbook for dentists.
Like Miriam and Lynn, Larry has used his platform to highlight issues relevant to aging. He selects topics of interest, actively seeks out noted speakers, and thoroughly prepares for his interviews. With almost 60 podcasts under his belt, Larry has curated a series on cognitive fitness, conversed with journalists about guardianship, and discussed ageism with multiple guests. Age-bias is a particular focus given his concern that as we age, we internalize ageist misperceptions and behave to stereotypes, losing our sense of fun and adventure. He urges that we do something different, and strive to learn something new, without fear of failure. Past podcasts explored fly fishing, Tepui tree frogs, and matchmaking with Netflix’s Aliza Ben Shalom of “Jewish Matchmaking.” Next, Larry will be speaking with a historian about the ages of presidential candidates.
Through their shared wisdom and informative broadcasts, each of these octogenarian podcasters affirms the importance of social connection, continuous learning, joyful interactions, and new challenges. They enthusiastically seek social and intellectual engagement, while simultaneously modeling resilience in aging and dispatching critical knowledge and resources for listeners at home. Recently, Miriam and Lynn’s podcast was awarded the prestigious Gold Award from the National Mature Media Awards. Larry’s new projects include redefining Specifically for Seniors, as a multigenerational podcast for all age groups who share a curiosity for life, and developing a news aggregating site for older adults called “sNEWSer.com.” Larry’s new project is Specifically for Seniors, The Next Generation, a multigenerational podcast for all age groups who share a curiosity for life. Professionals in the aging field often herald the need to elevate the voices of older adults. These outstanding podcasters are showing us just how to do this.