PASTORING: Senior Productions Raise Self-Esteem
Stereotyping and media misunderstanding must be found on many levels. Making older viewers the stars of their own shows is one of the most effective, since it raises self-esteem while providing hands-on media instruction. Existing video resources owned by religious and nonprofit groups in many communities can be adapted to senior uses with only a little adjustment. Seniors trained to use video cameras and microphones can soon be creating their own programs and documentaries while learning the language of television.
The most successful efforts respond to local needs. In one notable example, a cable channel serving a large retirement community is operated by resident volunteers. Aided at times by a paid manager and small technical staff, its older production personnel have created community news programs, commentaries and talk shows, documentaries on local attractions, even a cooking show.
This program's success demonstrates that seniors, like the rest of us, are attracted to solid enterprises that promise real rewards in learning and achievement. A well-conceived production effort led by respected local experts is the best place to start.
Planning a Program
Media production can be an enthralling experience for a properly supported older group. But perhaps its greatest payoff lies in the message its practitioners create — what's important to them, what their lives are like, what their stories have taught them about the history they've lived through and their place in it. That's what I'm watching for as seniors take their rightful place in the production world of television.