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Arts & Culture
Peabody Award-winner Trey Kay brings us stories exploring all sides of the cultural issues that too often divide us.

Who’ll Care For West Virginia's Growing Elder Generation?

Mawma socials.jpg
Lalena Price
Who's Going To Take Care Of Maw Maw?

We’re an aging nation.

Today 16 percent of Americans are over age 65. In the next few decades that will double as the youngest Baby Boomers move into old age, but in West Virginia, that future is now. It’s the third oldest state in the nation and more than 20 percent of its residents are over age 65. At the same time, West Virginia’s birth rate is low because young people are leaving. That generational imbalance will increase in coming years.

The numbers show a growing crisis. More seniors want to stay in their homes and the industry has shifted from a nursing home model to one focused on aging in place. That’s led to an explosion in home-based support and care services, but now those companies struggle to find the workers they need to provide services for the growing elderly population.

This episode of Us & Them is presented with support from the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation and the West Virginia Humanities Council.

Subscribe to Us & Them on Apple Podcasts, NPR One, RadioPublic, Spotify, Stitcher and beyond. You also can listen to Us & Them on WVPB Radio — tune in tonight, June 24, at 8 p.m., or listen to the encore presentation on the following Saturday at 3 p.m.

Phyllis Nichols
Trey Kay
Phyllis Nichols lives in a Section 8 housing facility in Charleston, West Virginia, that's designated for elderly and persons with disabilities. Several times a week, she receives a visit from a specialized caregiver, who helps her 'age in place.'
Jim_Lewis - Emergency Room
Trey Kay
Rev. Jim Lewis waits for a medical exam.
Saunders and Eugene
Trey Kay
Eugene Barker looks after the needs of Saunders Cleage. Fifteen years ago, Cleage had a stroke and ever since, Barker has been his full-time caregiver.
Trey Kay and Jim Lewis
Trey Kay
Trey Kay visits Rev. Jim Lewis at his new residence in a retirement community.

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