We’re putting the newsroom online. For the next two months, Columbia University’s News21 team is traveling the country reporting on aging America. Massive demographic shifts over the next 40 years will transform everything from family life and health care to employment and housing. We’re calling our project Brave Old World: Our Future Selves.
17 June 2011
15 June 2011
Two weeks ago, I met with Anna Novak, her son Kevin and Antimina Garmley, to work on our story about elders who share homes. A year ago, Antimina, who is 65, was looking for affordable housing, and Kevin was looking for someone to live with his 81-year-old mother, keep her company and do light housekeeping. The two met through a home-sharing matchmaking program for seniors, and after an initial lunch meeting, Antimina moved in last July.
Two days before my visit, everyone was reminded of the importance of having someone in the house with Anna when Anna fell while using the bathroom in the middle of the night, cutting her left eyebrow and breaking her left pinkie finger. Antimina bandaged her badly cut left eye and took her to the hospital. On the day we first met, Anna still had a black eye and her left arm was in a cast and sling.
Farhod and I went back a week later to accompany Anna and Antimina to a doctor’s appointment and their post-appointment trip to a local diner for eggs and home fries.
Anna’s black eye had faded, and she mentioned several times how wonderful it was that the doctor had glued the cut on her eye instead of giving her stitches. Her cast had to stay on for two weeks, making it difficult for her to eat with her left hand, and most importantly, to hold her cane and the hand rail when she went up and down the stairs.
The diner, with its blue and red florescent lights, large windows and regular incandescent bulbs, presented a nightmare for white-balancing the cameras. It took several tries to get the skin colors to look human.
Finally, yesterday I took my final trip up to White Plains, NY to spend some time with Anna, Antimina and Kevin around the house and at dinner time. Tamir came along to shoot sit-down interviews and film the three sharing dinner (Antimina, who does all of the cooking, made lasagna, including home-made tomato sauce).
Anna is supposed to get her cast off today, and Farhod, Tamir and I have several hours worth of footage to edit down for our story about shared housing!