“Can’t Help Falling in Love” by Elvis Presley, “Fly Me To The Moon” by Frank Sinatra and the classic “LOVE” by Nat King Cole are all included in “Nostalgic wink” a three-hour playlist curated for the elderly by the youth of Pittsburgh.
The Song Collection is one of more than 150 pieces of content produced by the nonprofit media organization Seniors care network (EECN). Senior storytelling podcasts, informative Instagram infographics, and hearing aid and Gen Z blog posts all aim to promote intergenerational dialogue and respect for the senior community.
The two-year-old nonprofit attracted additional attention during the pandemic for its educational pieces on the isolation of the elderly and anti-old age and anti-Asian hatred. While the past 15 months have socially isolated many elderly people from their loved ones, 16-year-old co-founder and CEO Hannah Shin said loneliness was a problem long before 2020. She said the organization is celebrating older people rather than telling their stories as an afterthought.
“The peaks of COVID cases in nursing homes, as well as the increase in hate crimes against our seniors, these are the discussions when the elderly have been brought to the forefront of the news,” Shin said. . “But we really wanted to create a platform where it gets talked about all the time.”
The rising senior from North Allegheny High School founded the association with her older brother Joseph, a rising senior at the University of Pittsburgh. With a team of peers, the duo reached listeners in 14 countries with their podcast and garnered thousands of pageviews across all platforms.
Part of the EECN’s mission is education, including programming that educates seniors about Generation Z and the different types of hearing aids. The organization also sensitizes the guards to tangible steps to take in health care and nutrition. For young people, topics range from introductions to Parkinson’s disease and dementia to the financial burdens of nursing home care.
The larger message beyond education is celebration and conversation. EECN hosted the National Festive Challenge for the Elderly in the fall to encourage young people to reflect on the seniors who have an impact on their lives. In addition to the playlist, the website provides a joke book and videos to play sudoku with a youngster.
“We are really looking at a holistic view of what we can do to make the elderly laugh, smile and be able to have a better life and enjoy their time,” Shin said.