A live virtual public forum explores strategies for caregivers and the community to provide the support our seniors deserve, presented by the New York & Michigan Solutions Journalism Collaborative

Thursday, Sept. 9, 7 p.m. on Detroit Public TV Facebook

Whether they are paid workers or family members, people who provide care for older adults face numerous challenges, from physical burdens and economic hardships to loneliness and depression. 

More than one in five Americans act as a family caregiver, according to a 2020 report from the AARP Public Policy Institute, many of whom receive no compensation and must balance competing professional and personal obligations. Increasingly, caregivers are younger people and from diverse backgrounds, creating new hurdles for government and social welfare organizations trying to reach these individuals.  

A new journalism collaborative is hosting a Caregivers on the Front Lines Public Forum at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 9, to explore solutions for the complex issues that caregivers encounter. This free live, virtual event will be hosted by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Stephen Henderson and carried on Detroit Public Televisions digital platforms, including Facebook

The New York & Michigan Solutions Journalism Collaborative was formed this year by more than 30 media, academic and community organizations, initially to focus on the lives and challenges of caregivers.  

Its first public forum in Michigan will bring together journalists from the collaborative, experts in the field and, most importantly, caregivers and the people they care for. Panels will discuss potential solutions on a range of crucial issues including the growing shortage of paid direct care workers, the urgent need for respite care, support for communities in which many caregivers and care recipients do not speak English, and training for family members who find themselves thrust into but unprepared for the role of caregiver, among other topics. 

Henderson is the host of “American Black Journal” on DPTV as well as Detroit Today, the morning show on 101.9 WDET, Detroit’s NPR Station. 

The event is being produced in collaboration with Strides for Seniors, an annual month-long series of activities celebrating Detroits neighborhood Senior Centers, organized by Detroit Area Agency on Aging, Detroits Parks & Recreation and St. Patrick Senior Center. 

Our collaboratives journalists have produced insightful, solutions-based coverage, which has brought a new and needed focus to issues of caregiving in our communities,” said Karen Magnuson, project director. Their reporting has given a human face to the problems faced by caregivers, while at the same time identifying available programs and resources to help them provide better care.”

The public forum will help us deliver this important content to a larger audience and give caregivers of older adults a voice and an opportunity to inform us about the issues that matter most to them.” 

The New York & Michigan Solutions Journalism Collaborative was catalyzed by the Solutions Journalism Network (SJN) in 2021. SJN seeks to spread and support the practice of solutions journalism: rigorous reporting on responses to social problems. The New York & Michigan Solutions Journalism Collaborative provides critical reporting on responses — not just challenges — to the seemingly intractable problems facing caregivers of older adults. The New York & Michigan Solutions Journalism Collaborative is part of SJN’s Local Media Project, a multi-year initiative supported by the Knight Foundation, the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation, and the Health Foundation for Western & Central New York to strengthen and reinvigorate local media ecosystems. 

Members of the news collaborative in Michigan include Bridge Michigan, Detroit Free Press, Detroit Public Television, Detour Detroit, Hometown Life, Michigan Radio, The Detroit News, Livingston Daily, Macomb Daily, The Oakland Press, Tostada Magazine and Urban Aging News. 

Four news organizations represented by New Michigan Media are also involved: The Arab American News, Latino Press, Michigan Korean Weekly and The Detroit Jewish News. Community partners include Front Edge Publishing, Michigan State University and Wayne State University.

Members of the news collaborative in New York include the Democrat and Chronicle, Minority Reporter, La Voz, WXXI and News10NBC in Rochester, and WGRZ, The Buffalo News, the Niagara Gazette and the Lockport Union-Sun & Journal and WBFO in the Buffalo area. Community partners include the Rochester Institute of Technology’s MAGIC Center.

The inaugural reporting project for the New York & Michigan Solutions Journalism Collaborative focuses on solutions for caregivers of older adults.