After spending 30 years building stellar careers on TV, Kim and Mike Barnes have a new mission: to broadcast a message of support and to undercut the confusion surrounding care for aging parents as well as to provide a community where no one in these situations will ever feel judged or alone.
After a terrible car accident left Mike hospitalized in dangerous condition nearly 30 years ago, his mother started writing a journal, chronicling the experience. They had been warned he might remain in a coma, but he woke just days later during a visit from Kim. Throughout his time in the hospital, Mike’s mom maintained a positive attitude to ensure her son’s spirits never fell. When Mike found the journal decades later and realized what his mother had been doing for him, he resolved to mimic her loving actions when the roles reversed. He now maintains a cheerful and positive demeanor no matter what his mother forgets in her battle with Alzheimer’s.
Through their experiences caring for Mike’s mother, his 84-year-old father who must live apart from his wife of 62 years, and Kim’s 81-year-old mother who suffers from mixed dementia and has been the victim of several scams, the couple realized there is so much weighing on the “sandwich generation,” which cares for both children and aging parents, yet no one ever talks about it. After a simple post to social media expressing the emotional toll of moving his mother to memory care, he received an outpouring of empathy as well as comments from many facing similar challenges. They realized they needed to do something to help other adult children with aging parents, leading to the creation of Parenting Aging Parents in 2021.
Kim and Mike received the Anne Durham Robinson Creative Initiative Award from Women Communicators of Austin in April 2022 for Parenting Aging Parents. They met as broadcast journalism majors at the University of Texas at Austin. Kim’s résumé includes 15 years as an award-winning reporter and news anchor. Since then, she spent years continuing to do on-air and voiceover work as well as started Barnes Team Media. Mike’s includes 29 years as an award-winning sportscaster. He has been honored as “Best in Austin” 17 times and won several Associated Press awards for “Best Sportscaster” and “Best Sportscast” in the state of Texas as well as a prestigious Murrow Award for Sports Reporting.