For four decades, Patricia Raskin has delighted in interviewing people and turning those interviews into columns and broadcast and internet radio shows. Raskin, who is a columnist for Jewish Rhode Island, has also worked as a lifestyle coach and consultant, focusing on topics such as health and wellness. She prides herself on her positive outlook.
Now, the 75-year-old Rhode Islander has a new podcast, “Positive Aging,” that aims to help the growing number of older adults in the United States.
Jewish Rhode Island recently interviewed Raskin about her newest venture.
Why did you decide to focus on the aging population?
My work has always been about positive living, and my first program on cable television, in 1982, was called “Positive People.” Now that I am older and an early baby boomer, positive aging fits for me as well as for millions of others in our age group. The principles [of positive living] are the same, we are just older. We may not walk as fast or hear as well but we still get there!
In addition, there is still a lot of ageism in our country, and I want to debunk the myths and show how as older adults we can create the “new” in work, hobbies and relationships.
Love is love at any age, creative thinking is creative thinking at any age. They don’t have numbers attached to them.
Do you think there is appeal in your podcast for all ages?
Yes, the topics are timeless. We cover wellness, medical topics, relationships, technology, innovation, travel, finances and many others. We all need to eat well, exercise regularly, get enough sleep, learn technology to stay current, have positive relationships, learn new things to keep our brains active, and think positively. On my “Positive Aging” podcast, we adapt specific strategies and activities to older adults, but the concepts are the same for all of us to stay active, vital and healthy.
What are you looking for in a guest on your podcast?
I have chosen guest experts in their fields who are shining examples of positive living and positive aging. They are all on a mission to help others stay or improve mental, physical, emotional and behavioral health. We have already recorded the 13-week series, which is produced by Rhode Island PBS and funded by Southcoast Health, Greenwood Credit Union, Cochlear, BAMA companies and Balancing Life’s Issues. The podcasts air each week until Dec. 13. The show remains archived on Spotify, Apple and other podcast platforms. To listen to the podcast, go to https://www.buzzsprout.com/2025964.
How does this lean into your Jewish values?
Judaism teaches us about doing mitzvahs, giving tzedakah, tikkun olam [repairing the world] and having a purpose in life. All of my interviews, and there have been over 5,000 of them in four decades, focus on one of these in some way. I would say that about 70% of the experts, authors and celebrities I have interviewed have been through a life-changing event that propelled them to do their work, write their book and teach their principles.
I know you have a finite number of episodes, but do you hope to keep going on this subject with podcasts?
Absolutely! Podcasts are growing every day and now there are over 2 million podcasts available worldwide. This is such a great way to get information when you can’t watch, and today many podcasts are produced on a platform such as Zoom, where you can watch as well. Also, podcasts are so adaptable. You can transcribe them, turn them into a blog or book, and keep them archived so they are evergreen. Podcasts are really radio shows in a digital format.
What’s your next step to age positively?
To keep doing the things talked about on my program so that I can continue to stay vital, active, and continue to learn and grow. My motto comes from the book “Illusions,” by Richard Bach, who I was fortunate to interview. In it, he writes, “You teach best what you most need to learn.” That has been my life’s work in a nutshell. The more I teach and interview, the more I learn and grow.
Anything else you’d like people to know?
Positive aging is really positive living. I started applying these principles early in my career, but you can start at any age. On a television documentary I produced, I interviewed a 102-year-old golfer who started playing golf at 92. His average score was 100!
A very special person in my life got a bachelor’s degree at 46, a master’s degree at 60, learned how to scuba and snow ski at 63, and began dance lessons at 81.
The way we think makes such a difference! And this is true at any age.
FRAN OSTENDORF is the editor of Jewish Rhode Island.