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Elderly Embrace Care Network Fosters Intergenerational Dialogue, Deep Respect

Siblings Hannah and Joseph Shin developed a deep understanding and respect for the elderly community while volunteering at several area nursing homes. Their compassion for the older generation was strengthened by the relationship they had with their grandmother, with whom they have lived for four years.

As intergenerational advocates, the duo was determined to take their passion and turn it into a mission to foster intergenerational dialogue and admiration. In November 2019, they founded Elderly Embrace Care Network (EECN), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit media organization.

“We founded EECN to foster intergenerational dialogue and promote a culture of deep respect for the elderly community,” said Hannah Shin, a rising senior at North Allegheny High School. “The heart and soul of our mission is to shift the cultural narrative to truly celebrate seniors and encourage conversations toward creating a better world for our elderly.”

Since its launch, the team of 10 volunteers at Elderly Embrace Care Network has been hard at work running several projects. From its informative blog and podcast to its youth education series and Grandparents’ Day celebratory challenge, the small but mighty group has created more than 150 pieces of content across multiple platforms.

Serving Up Senior Conversations

EECN wanted to ensure that it was truly serving the wants and needs of seniors in the community. That meant that it had to find a way to include seniors in the conversation, rather than having a discussion around them.

“Our podcast is dear to me, especially as I love learning from and sharing the wisdom of seniors across lived experiences. We are excited that we will soon be interviewing seniors at a local assisted living facility that has kindly agreed to share their seniors’ stories,” said Joseph Shin, a rising senior at the University of Pittsburgh.

Among the content they created for the Silver Bridge Blog were materials designed to help seniors understand Generation Z. “From our culture to our fashion to our school system and mental health dialogue, we wanted to bridge the gap between these two generations,” said Hannah.

Beyond their podcast, EECN’s Instagram serves as a conduit for pushing out tidbits about senior living, mental and physical health, and other educational messages for their curriculum that shines a light on important senior-focused issues. The team also uses the platform to highlight ‘Senior Superheroes’ who are making a difference in the world.

Senior-focused Curriculum Resources

When Hannah was a sophomore at North Allegheny, she fell deeply into researching the sustainability of the aging community.

“I was so intrigued to learn about the medicinal, the cultural, and the institutional aspects that weigh our seniors down. Through that, I learned about so many issues,” she explained. “From the financial burdens of nursing home care to the ageism that is deeply embedded into our society, I wondered why aren’t these issues talked about? Why aren’t our elders placed at the forefront of these conversations when they are so integral to our society?”

Joseph’s devotion to the elderly community is rooted in medicine. He volunteers at a UPMC hospital and cherishes supporting patients in any way that he can. He continues to nurture his lifelong dream of becoming a geriatrician.

“EECN has been one of the most influential experiences of my life, and I love harnessing this platform to speak up about, share the stories of, and advocate for seniors,” he said. “I aim to leave a legacy on this world through geriatrics, serving seniors and shaping their lives for the better. EECN has better prepared me for my journey on this path.”

Moving forward, the nonprofit hopes to attract five additional staff writers and contributors and increase its exposure to reach more seniors. The Shins said that they are excited to grow their nonprofit and hope to influence the lives of seniors in the same way that seniors have impacted theirs.

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