A new media initiative aims to shed light on caregivers for older adults and investigate potential solutions to their challenges. WBFO and nine other media outlets in Western New York are tackling the issue as part of a journalism collaborative supported by the Solutions Journalism Network.
Caregivers are in short supply due to a rapidly growing older population that is living longer and requiring more assistance. The caregivers who step up – both family members and those who are paid to do the job -- face many physical, emotional and financial challenges that have been exacerbated by the pandemic.
The collaborative is publishing news content with the goal of raising awareness about caregiving issues and introducing the community to replicable ideas that have been vetted by a team of journalists.
WBFO reporter Tom Dinki's story on The Greenhouse Project uses that approach to analyze whether small group-home sized nursing homes are a financiallly practical way of reducing COVID infections of both staff and patients.
Other members of the news collaborative include the Democrat and Chronicle, Minority Reporter, La Voz, WXXI and News10NBC in Rochester, and WGRZ, The Buffalo News, the Niagara Gazette and the Lockport Union-Sun & Journal in the Buffalo area. Community partners include the MAGIC Center at the Rochester Institute of Technology and a journalism professor at St. John Fisher College.
A similar effort to the one Dinki explores exisits outside Ithaca and was spotlighted recently by The Buffalo News and WGRZ TV . WHEC TV in Rochester examined Buffalo's Canopy of Neighbors, a cooperative that Dinki reported on in 2019.
This spring, the initiative will expand to include news and community organizations in Southeast Michigan, becoming the first interstate collaborative supported by the Solutions Journalism Network. The New York & Michigan Solutions Journalism Collaborative - as the interstate collaborative will be called - is made possible through a grant from the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation. The foundation makes grants in the Western New York and Southeast Michigan regions, honoring Wilson's connections to both Buffalo and Detroit.
This collaborative is modeled on other uccessful news collaboratives supported by the Solutions Journalism Network. As a solutions-oriented project, Invisible Army: Caregiving on the Front Lines, will produce rigorous reporting on successful responses to challenges experienced by caregivers and older adults.