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. 

ABOUT PARENTING AGING PARENTS

Over the past five years, Kim and Mike Barnes found themselves navigating problems they never saw coming from their parents: Alzheimer’s, pacemakers, COVID pneumonia, and the tough decision to move parents into retirement communities. They’ve learned to balance the many facets of parenting aging parents, including medical, financial, and everyday-life decisions, emotional rollercoasters, protecting their parents from scams, and more, all while parenting college-age kids and building their own careers.

Many struggle in silence—which is why Parenting Aging Parents provides information, resources, and support. Through their free Facebook Group, expert interviews, and guide for gathering essential information, Kim and Mike provide access to the knowledge desperately needed for adult children. Parenting Aging Parents is a safe space and a second family for anyone in a position of support and caregiving for the elder relatives in their lives, and especially those who are struggling. Caregiving happens in the margins of life and tugs people (especially women) in so many directions – being a supportive child, a good parent, a productive employee – that it’s too easy to forget yourself in the mix. Parenting Aging Parents strives to provide content, connection, and community for its members so that adult children know how to be better prepared for the challenges ahead as their parents get older.

TALKING POINTS

  • How to balance kids, careers, and aging parents
  • Uncomfortable Conversations: Practical questions everyone 40+ needs to ask their parents
  • 5 tips to prepare caregivers for the challenges ahead
  • Navigating Alzheimer’s, dementia, and other debilitating mental diseases with your parent
  • When to move your parent or bring in care at home and the options you need to know you have
  • Elderly Dating: What you need to know to protect your parents may shock you
  • How to protect your parents from scams and teach them tech

TIMELY TIE-INS

September

  • Self-Care Month
  • World Alzheimer’s Awareness Month
  • Healthy Aging Awareness Month
  • 11 – Grandparents Day
  • 11-17 – National Assisted Living Week
  • 16 – Working Parents Day
  • 18-24 – National Falls Prevention Awareness Week
  • 30 – National Love People Day

October

  • Long Term Care Planning Month
  • National Work and Family Month
  • Health Literacy Month
  • 1 – International Day of Older Persons
  • 8 – World Hospice and Palliative Care Day
  • 12 – World Arthritis Day
  • 17-21 – National Health Education Week

November

  • National Family Caregivers Month
  • Alzheimer’s Awareness Month

PRAISE

“This group has been invaluable in my journey in the care of my mother.  The information and education have not only given me answers to the questions of elderly caregiving but has also been a soft place to land because everyone in this group understands  Thank you to Mike and Kim Barnes for putting in one place everything one needs to know as they face the challenges and the bittersweet life as a parent caregiver.” —Evelyn, group member

“This group is like oxygen for those of us out of breath caregiving! I’m grateful for this group and its impeccable timing in my life.” —Leslie, group member

“When you have a loved one going through dementia, Parkinson’s, or any disease with parents, it can at times feel so isolating. Reading the posts from my fellow group members has helped me feel not so lonely in this world where my mom has slipped away to the grey cloud of dementia.” —Stephanie, group member

“You have built something special here—really making a difference in an incredibly important aspect of people’s lives. Your communication skills to talk about hard things, your interview skills to get the subject matter folks in here need… Thank you for what you are doing here.” —Ann, group member

“You’re not alone. This support group is such a blessing to have! Even if [there are] no [specific] answers for some of the issues, you definitely find suggestions, ideas, recommendations, and most important tons of encouragement, compassion and love.” —Chris, group member

“I just signed up as a founding member of Parenting Aging Parents and downloaded the Caregiver’s Guide. Holy smokes! That guide is an amazing resource!! Thank you so much for putting it together. I will be sitting down with my folks soon to fill it out.” —Kara, group member

“I love this group so much! Mike and Kim Barnes have done a great job on it! I actually feel heard, seen and validated as I/we navigate these new waters with our parents.” —Teri, group member

“I just wanted to say thank you for all of your support and extremely helpful information… The amount of support this page has given me has been a true blessing. From the bottom of my heart I can’t thank you all enough for opening up to talk and share your personal experiences with each and every one of us. God Bless and always keep fighting!” —Jennifer, group member