Aging Gracefully TV Is A Recipient of a Philo Festival Award for two years – 2018 and 2019!
Kathryn Eyring, creator, Host & Producer of Aging Gracefully TV, received a Northeast Ohio Boomer Impact Award in 2020 as an innovator and problem-solver who strives to make life better for people over 50 in Northeast Ohio!
Boomer Impact Award: Changing the Aging Game
The article below is reprinted with permission. It is written by Marie Elium, Editor of Northeast Ohio Boomer and Beyond Magazine.
“Do you want to see my garden?”
I catch up with Kathryn Eyring as she nimbly steps through the raised beds in her backyard, a block from Lake Erie.
The garden, like Eyring, has a lot going on: tomatoes, beets, cucumbers and more. The tour takes time because Eyring likes explaining what she planted and why. She’s a natural teacher and skilled cheerleader. Right now, she’s promoting the season’s lush harvest.
When we sit down in her screened porch to talk about her “Aging Gracefully TV” and how she ended up as Boomer Impact honoree, Eyring stops the conversation.
“Do you like pickles? I made pickles. My first time,” she says. Eyring goes inside and brings out a jar of pickles and plops one onto a plate in front of me.
“Wait. Do you mind if I record this for my website? I’m recording peoples’ reactions.”
The pickles were delicious. You get the idea that there’s not much Eyring does that she doesn’t do well. And, as promised, she later sent me a link to her pickle-tasting segment, my reaction edited in.
A Poster Child for Healthy Aging
Eyring uses that same energy and enthusiasm to promote healthy aging through her “Aging Gracefully TV,” an interactive online community for people 50+. Her series of webcasts, classes and public-access TV shows are Eyring-conceived, produced and executed. Because of COVID-19, she’s been recording many from the basement of her Avon Lake home.
As is true for many people, but especially Eyring, the pandemic has been an uneasy fit. “It’s not that I don’t take this seriously. I cannot live in fear. You cannot think rationally if you live in fear.”
The mother of three grown sons and a grandmother to four, Eyring’s positive nature and silliness come through with her online videos. She’s passionate about promoting healthy aging and looks the part, crediting yoga and healthy eating — again, the garden and other habits she promotes through her website, AgingGracefully.TV.
Eyring, 61, is such a dynamic, powerful and youthful-looking advocate for aging, it’s hard to think of her growing older. She embraces what’s ahead with peaceful, positive confidence. Her mother died at age 45 in a car accident. Eyring considers every day a gift.
Why Focus Her Career on Serving People 50 and Older?
“I’ve always really loved older adults and I wonder if it’s because I had such an excellent relationship with my grandparents. I adored my grandparents,” she says.
Children and teens are the focus of many community programs. Providing internet access during the pandemic is an example that comes to mind. But if older adults don’t have the internet, they can become isolated. “If we’re going to give to the kids, please, I want to give to the seniors. I think the focus so often is just on younger people.”
Many factors keep older adults from being fully integrated into their communities.
“There is an assumption, for one thing, that they are not tech-savvy. But I think, given the opportunity, so many of them are whizzes with the stuff. When all of my classes went to Zoom, I helped everyone who needed it. But 75 percent of them didn’t need any help. They were able to figure it out.”
Eyring has learned a lot from her older friends and students.
“Seniors have told me, you have to make sure you’re always feeding young people into your social funnel. You’re a scientist, you’re a principal, you’re a doctor. When you speak with them, you learn so much is in the past. That’s when I started thinking, ‘these people are amazing.’ They didn’t just stop having some quality life when they retired. These are people who just keep it going.”
She continues, “I started the TV show when a woman came out to my class in Bay Village and she was 85 at the time. She told me she teaches Tai Chi two to three times a week and had been doing it for 20 years. And she played the cello and she just started it when she was 80. She was my very first guest on the TV show. And I thought, ‘You’re just amazing. How do you do this? Tell me more.’”
“I want to be like this until I drop at 104,” Eyring says. “I actually picked yoga as my late-career choice because I’m thinking it’s something I can grow with and nobody can say you’re too old to teach yoga. Only I can say that.”