CHAMPAIGN — Coming soon to your own living room: SeniorWise TV.
Several local organizations in Champaign County are collaborating to launch this new venture intended to provide older adults with some locally produced content on TV and help take the edge off social isolation for those seniors cooped up at home.
Kicking off April 1, SeniorWise TV will be available two days a week, for about an hour each day, via Urbana Public Television at 1 p.m. each Thursday and Parkland College Television at 11 a.m. each Tuesday.
SeniorWise has been in the planning stages for several months and is intended to bring locally-produced programs on such topics as exercise, technology support, crafts, entertainment and education into the homes of seniors who aren’t getting out into the community much and maybe also not getting much exercise these days, said Julie Schubach, director of the Senior Resource Center at Family Service of Champaign County.
While many seniors have been vaccinated, many of the places they would typically go, other than to stores and visiting family, still haven’t resumed in-person service, she said. And, despite being vaccinated, some older adults remain cautious about leaving their homes, she said.
Even before the pandemic, social isolation among seniors has been a concern, Schubach said.
“Even outside the pandemic, we have a lot of people who, for a variety of reasons, are not getting out in the community much,” she said.
SeniorWise TV was an idea that arose from the local Senior Task Force in discussions about the impact of the pandemic on the physical and mental health of local seniors, Schubach said.
The Senior Resource Center is coordinating SeniorWise TV, with help from a subcommittee including representatives from Parkland College, Circle of Friends Adult Day Center, Synergy HomeCare, the Urbana Park District, Champaign Public Library, CRIS Healthy Aging, Inman Place and the University of Illinois Center for Health, Aging and Disability, Schubach said.
Along with these organizations, she said, there are a number of contributors and community partners willing to provide content. Even her tap dance class through the Champaign Park District is interested in taping a show for SeniorWise TV, she said.
Some of the content is already taped and ready to go, Schubach said.
Down the road, planners hope to be able to add some evening SeniorWise programs catering to caregivers, she said.
A comedy program will kick off the first day of programming through Urbana Public Television on April Fool’s Day, while exercise programs from Parkland’s occupational therapy assistant program will lead off the first program through Parkland College Television April 6.
Urbana Public Television will be coming to Clark-Lindsey Village on April 21 to record live music performed outdoors (for the Ethel and Maud’s Table program) to air it on April 22, said Sara Hawkins, Clark-Lindsey’s marketing and outreach specialist.
Schubach said SeniorWise programs will be aired commercial-free, though there will be some shorter segments with announcements and updates about local services geared toward senior interests.
Find SeniorWise on Tuesdays on Parkland College Television on Comcast channel 9, Mediacom channel 10 and AT&T channel 99. To access Thursday programs on Urbana Public Television, tune in to Comcast channels 6 and 1096, channel 6 on i3 Broadband and AT&T channel 99.