Tim Frakes Productions

The Age Wave, Responding With Faith

The Age Wave, Responding with Faith is a three-part documentary series I produced for the Chicago Sunday Evening Club. All three programs aired on WTTW Channel 11, PBS Chicago in January, 2018. David Dault got the ball rolling on this project along with Sunday Evening Club Board member Bob Green. Khiem Tran served as editor. Katy Scrogin worked as script supervisor.

Episode 1. “The Age Wave”
It’s called “The Age Wave.” By 2030, an American demographic crisis will have become a reality. In thirteen years, America’s healthcare industry will be flooded with aging, economically unprepared Baby Boomers. Millennials, children born after 1980, will find it difficult to support the healthcare needs of their parents’ generation.

This will all take place amid a pervasive cultural bias that idolizes youth, fears death and often discriminates against the elderly. As the healthcare industry and government and social service professionals grapple with these issues the Chicago Sunday Evening Club explores the challenges facing American society as it ages, and examines ways in which communities of faith can respond in helpful ways to a looming silver tsunami.

Episode 2. Ambiguous Grief: Alzheimer’s, Dementia and the American Age Wave looks at one families journey through Alzheimer’s Disease. Alzheimer’s disease is a persistent degeneration of the nervous system that represents 60 to 70 percent of all cases of dementia. The disease often begins slowly, worsening over time. 12. 48 million people are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease worldwide with 5 million cases in the United States. By 2050 some estimates push the US figure to 13.8 million.

Episode 3. The Age Wave, A Faith-based Response
By 2030 demographers predict 20 percent of Americans will be over the age of 65. Baby boomers, American’s born between 1946 and 1965, will be at or above retirement age, flooding an already burdened healthcare, social security, medicare, medicaid and healthcare system. 4. At the same time, research shows that there is a growing secularization of American society away from formal, organized religious institutions and denominations.

According to a study published by the Public Religion Research Institute, those who claim no affiliation with a religious body make up the largest “religious” group in the United States. They are at 25 percent today, and growing rapidly.

As Americans age, many of the institutions who often provided care for their parents and grandparents generations are faith-based. Many of Americas hospitals, nursing homes and educational institutions were founded by faith-based organizations. Large, non-profit charities, who often bear the brunt of care for America’s indigent elderly are faith-based organizations. Given the demographic realities associated with Americas approaching age wave, the Chicago Sunday Evening Club takes a look at faith-based organizations and institutions and examines how these institutions and the people who work for, volunteer and support them, are addressing the challenges posed by the coming age wave through a faith-based approach.

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