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Arnold M. Knightly

Harrah's Foundation pays for PBS special on aging

2 April 2008

LAS VEGAS, Nevada -- The Harrah's Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Harrah's Entertainment, is focusing a large portion of its charitable efforts on what it believes is the overlooked population in the United States.

"Everyone loves to give to animals and children," said Jan Jones, Harrah's Entertainment senior vice president of communications and government relations. "Nobody wants to give to seniors."

The nonprofit foundation paid $1 million to WGBH Boston to produce tonight's PBS special "Caring For Your Parents."

The documentary looks at five families from different social and economic backgrounds and shows how they deal with an aging parent in various situations, such as deciding which sibling will care for a dying parent, deciding whether to put a parent into a home, or dealing with Alzheimer's disease.

The 90-minute documentary will air at 9 p.m. on KLVX-TV, Channel 10, followed by a 30-minute panel discussion. It will repeat at 5 p.m. Sunday.

Foundation Executive Director Thom Reilly said the beauty of the film is that it helps push a much needed conversation of various senior issues into the public forum.

"It's really an important dialogue to have," he said. "Getting the community involved and actually providing some resources goes a step further."

Hugh Delehanty, author of the book "Caring for Your Parents" and editor-in-chief of AARP Magazine, said the trend in society is to create partnerships between nonprofits and corporations to engage the public in social issues.

A 30-minute clip of the documentary was screened March 26 at the Rio, followed by a panel discussion hosted by Rep. Shelley Berkley.

"I don't think any of us that either have an older parent that is starting to slow down or has experienced the death of a parent, particularly the slow death of a parent, can help but identify with the people in the video," said the Las Vegas Democrat, who noted that both her mother and mother-in-law died at home.

The foundation held similar screenings in New Orleans, Atlantic City and Hammond, Ind., outside Chicago.

Harrah's Foundation pays for PBS special on aging is republished from