It all began one day with a chat between Miriam Goodman and a neighbor. “My neighbor’s husband had been in banking, his bank was absorbed and he’d lost his job,” remembers Goodman. “He suggested they use the opportunity to bike around the world.”
But his wife wasn’t buying. “She was at a high point in her own career and didn’t want to bike around the world,” says Goodman. “That started me thinking.”
The result of those thoughts was Goodman’s first book, “Reinventing Retirement: 389 bright ideas about Family, Friends, Health, What to Do and Where to Live.” Published by Chronicle Books, the attractive spiral-bound notebook is a comprehensive baby boomers guide to all aspects of retirement with sections ranging from work and health issues to finances and home ownership. As a follow-up Goodman published “Too Much Togetherness: Surviving retirement as a couple.” Written before the pandemic to deal with the problem of adjusting to life together when work no longer dominates, the book turned out to be a valuable primer for life during the pandemic as well.
These days you’ll regularly find Goodman at a microphone, along with her close friend and colleague Lynn Winter Gross. The two regularly now write and produce a podcast entitled “Not Born Yesterday.” With invited experts, they explore issues of aging and ageism as well as the challenges and delights of later years.
About the hosts
Goodman, who grew up in Dayton and is a graduate of Fairview High School, lives in San Francisco. She’s had an impressive career as journalist, author, award-winning radio and television producer and public relations consultant. Over the years, she’s interviewed more than 1,000 individuals from celebrities to diplomats. She created, produced and hosted the first nationally syndicated feminist radio program and has been a frequent contributor to National Public Radio, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
Gross, who has spent her career in marketing, public relations and media production, has long had an interest in providing programs for older adults. She’s counseled retirees at the San Francisco Jewish Vocational Service and created video presentations for the San Francisco Public Library Career Center on developing strategies for dealing with ageism in the job market.
When the two friends were asked to create a podcast on the issues of aging for NEXT Village, a nonprofit serving older adults, they decided to give it a go. They now have more than 45 episodes under their belts. Topics range from technology and caregiving to financial literacy and travel. The women close their 20-minute shows with “News You Can Use,” tidbits on a variety of subjects: exercise, balance and connections. Recently, for example, they urged listeners not to panic when they first view the results of lab tests on their online charts. “We advise them to talk to their health care providers first,” says Goodman, adding that one of their listeners admitted she’d freaked out when she saw her blood test results but after listening to the podcast decided to wait until she talked to her doctor before allowing herself to get upset.
“It’s a lot of work,” says Goodman of the ambitious project. “We need to research, find guests, write the introductions and questions. Afterwards we edit. Our engineer puts it all together and releases the completed episode to the various platforms that run the podcast.”
Gross says they’ve been getting great feedback. “I’m in a choir and last Monday one of my fellow singers came up to me and said she loved the episode on volunteering because she was looking for some ideas. Another member said she learned a lot from our episode on solo traveling. My niece thanked me for the information we gave on caregivers because she is in charge of her father-in-law’s home care.”
Gross says her pilates instructor has been trying in vain to get her mother to take better care of her health but her mother is constantly resisting. “So I forwarded our episode on ‘parenting your parents’ to her.”
Gross says they never run out of topics. “There is so much research being done on older adults and we want to let our listeners hear what’s going on,” she says. “It’s a wonderful feeling knowing we are discussing topics of interest to older adults, their children and their communities.”
Goodman says they are hoping to offer information that will help those who are aging and don’t want to feel alone or just want to understand the aging process and how it might affect them or people they know. “Some people may resist new information, thinking their struggles are unique to them, but there is so much new information out now that I like to think that aging has become ‘sexy’ as a subject!,” she says. “Granted, some of the information may seem depressing but by and large we learn something from every interview and hope listeners do too. "
Another Dayton connection
While looking for subject matter for upcoming podcasts, Goodman came across “Rules of Estrangement,” by psychologist Josh Coleman. The book deals with a painful and often heartbreaking topic: adult children who intentionally stop communicating with their parents.
Coleman, it turns out, also grew up in Dayton and now lives in San Francisco. “There was a period of time when I’d been estranged from my own daughter after getting remarried,” he explains when asked how he came to write his latest book. “She felt displaced and cut off contact. We were eventually able to reconcile but at the time there was nothing written to help me.”
What he’s learned from the experience, he says, is the importance of listening with empathy and understanding. He advises others in a similar situation not to be defensive but to try and find a kernel of truth and recognize how much family life has changed.
In the old days, Coleman says, it was all about honoring your father and mother. “But that rule has been replaced by new notions of family,” he explains. “These days if a parent isn’t able to have a relationship that matches the adult child’s ideals about their own mental health preservation or personal happiness, nothing compels them to remain in contact.”
“Some people think podcasts are just for the young and technically proficient,” Goodman has said. “But the reality is that if you have a cell phone or a computer, you can easily listen to the podcast. Our listeners are people of all ages and we have heard from fans all around the world.”
HOW TO LISTEN:
“NOT BORN YESTERDAY” is available on major podcasts: Apple, Google, Amazon Music and many other platforms.
Here are tips gleaned from experts who’ve appeared on “Not Born Yesterday”
- Too many older adults think technology is just for the young, yet designers and engineers are working to make products of all kinds that will enhance lives as we age. Robotic pill dispensers and automatic jar openers are just a few. Research shows that older people who learned how to zoom or otherwise keep in touch with family during COVID-19 were much happier than those who refused to embrace the technology.
- More than 53 million Americans are unpaid caregivers to family members. They have high rates of loneliness, loss of career and loss of themselves. Tanya Yarkoni, who has a disabled child, is out to change this by providing online support groups for people who feel overworked and overlooked. https://www.integrativecaregiving.co/
- If you are ready to travel again, be realistic about your abilities and expectations. Don’t be afraid to use taxis when you might have walked before, let a bellman carry your luggage, or ask for a hotel room close to the elevator. The more honest you are about your limitations, the more you will enjoy your trip.
- A hospice doctor says most of his patients have few regrets and instead make every moment count.
- Do you recognize age bias when you see it? Too often we tolerate and even promote attitudes about age we would reject if applied to any other group. Even older adults have unconscious prejudices based on age...and we need to destroy these myths.
- Romance scams are big business. Lonely people are convinced their online romance is real, but to avoid heartbreak and bankruptcy be cautious, actually meet the person rather than spending hours online.
- Geriatrician Louse Aronson says we can redefine aging by starting with how the medical community treats us. Her book, “Elderhood: Redefining Aging and Transforming Medicine” suggests we can each do our part to make sure our wishes and care is respected.
- When your friend shows signs of dementia, what can you do? It is hard to maintain a relationship when he/she tells you the same story over and over again. But as a friend, we must support our friend, as challenging as it may be.
- One is never too old for love. Dating at an older age is different, and the first step is being confident and clear on what you want.
- Ageism in advertising is a costly mistake. Image makers have been slow to understand our needs and we need to push for change by letting the sponsors and creators know we will take our money elsewhere.
- Want to teach children about helping the less fortunate and passing on your own traditions to the next generation? Consider “Grandparents for Social Action” http://www.grandparentsforsocialaction.org/and learn to share your values with your grandchildren. Give them money and let them choose how they will distribute it, creating a positive influence and great memories.
- The current generation of older adults contains millions of never married, divorced and childless people. These “solo agers” can build their own ‘families’ and support systems and enjoy their later years if they start planning early.
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