DURHAM, NH (January, 2, 2024) – As the second oldest state in the nation,(according to the US Census, 20% of NH residents are 65 plus) with adults living longer than ever before, there are a wealth of new questions and opportunities facing New Hampshire residents. What’s the best way to stem social isolation? How do you plan for the future? There are more options than ever before.
Seniority Authority, a locally produced podcast that explores age-related topics like these, will now join the broadcast lineup on New Hampshire PBS with a televised half-hour program. SENIORITY AUTHORITY: SECRET TO A HAPPY LIFE will launch on NHPBS on Thursday, January 11 at 9 PM with featured guest Dr. Robert Waldinger, Director of Harvard’s Center for Adult Development, who has conducted Harvard’s 70+ year-long study about leading a long and healthy life.
The Seniority Authority podcast was created and hosted by Cathleen Toomey of the RiverWoods Group, the largest family of charitable nonprofit continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs)in New Hampshire. As vice president of marketing for RiverWoods, Toomey found herself frequently fielding questions about aging, and in 2021 began a podcast interviewing national experts.
The podcast caught the interest of Dawn DeAngelis, Vice President and Chief Content Officer at NHPBS, and she approached Toomey with the idea of partnering with video. “This content is exactly what our viewers are interested in, and we are excited to bring this valuable information to the NHPBS audience. We are thrilled that the pilot episode will be distributed to PBS stations nationwide,” said DeAngelis.
“There are so many aspects of aging that people don’t understand, or have outdated assumptions about,” said Toomey. “SENIORITY AUTHORITY is designed to give people practical and up-to-date information they can use today to help plan for a robust life in the future. The NHPBS audience has been so receptive to this information.”
Because she has spent 17 years working directly with older adults, Toomey has a sense of what is on people’s minds, and how to find the latest research, tools and experts that address those topics. The broadcast program will offer a combination of expert interviews and feature segments profiling three people in the community. The overall goal is to offer actionable suggestions, allowing viewers to get smarter about getting older.
“People watch television, and we know that they learn through video and storytelling,” said Toomey. “We have the opportunity to reach thousands more people with the message because it’s presented in a televised format. I hope that through this program we can change the way people think and act about aging, and to be more positive about the experience.”
“While public television always strives to engage new audiences, we know folks over 50 encompass some of our most loyal and engaged viewers,” said DeAngelis. “SENIORITY AUTHORITY presents timely, useful information for individuals and family members who have questions about aging or are assisting loved ones.”
Among Toomey’s dream guests for future episodes are academics from Yale, Stanford and Harvard universities that conduct and publish research on the power of mind-body connections, longevity and how positive thinking can help people build the lives they want. She also hopes to clarify misinformation about the aging process, including misperceptions about independent living, loss of strength and physical fitness for the older population.
NHPBS and Toomey hope the program will reinforce that the aging process is universal; everyone ages and witnesses family members or friends as they age. Furthermore, U.S. culture tends to be youth-centric. SENIORITY AUTHORITY aims to shift this perspective by highlighting the contributions of the older population and gently reiterating how aging is a gift – a gift that, sadly, not everyone gets to unwrap.
“You get such perspective being around older adults who have been through world wars, untimely deaths or huge losses and have persevered,” said Toomey. “You get a deeper point of view by having in-depth conversations with older adults. We need people that have empathy and a willingness to connect with other people to help us step away from the high anxiety and high distraction levels of our current world. That’s part of the richness of having older adults in your life.”
Viewers are encouraged to pose their questions about aging by sending an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Toomey also curates a reading list of relevant titles related to aging. Viewers can send an email to the same address to receive the list.
HOW TO WATCH SENIORITY AUTHORITY: SECRET TO A HAPPY LIFE
SENIORITY AUTHORITY: SECRET TO A HAPPY LIFE will premiere on Thursday, January 11 at 9 PM on NHPBS.
NHPBS APP (on-demand)
Viewers can stream SENIORITY AUTHORITY: SECRET TO A HAPPY LIFE online on the NHPBS APP after the initial on-air broadcast. Go to video.nhpbs.org/show/seniority-authority to watch the show.
SENIORITY AUTHORITY is generously supported by D.F. Richard Energy, Kennebunk Savings, Milne Travel American Express, Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Dartmouth and United Healthcare.
About New Hampshire PBS: New Hampshire PBS inspires one million Granite Staters each month with engaging and trusted local and national programs and services on-air, online, via mobile, in classrooms and in communities. Beyond its award-winning television programs, New Hampshire PBS is a leader in education and community engagement. www.nhpbs.org
Peter A. Frid
President & CEO
Vice President & Chief Content Officer
Carla Gordon Russell
Director of Communications