Early every Saturday morning, Lombard’s Sue Billings Zawacki’s voice can be heard across the airwaves, as 560WIND broadcasts her radio show: Aging Info Radio.
The weekly show features experts who provide listeners with information and resources specifically targeted to assist the elderly and their families. With her guests, Zawacki touches on issues relevant to the country’s aging population, such as healthy living, elder care, retirement communities, wealth at retirement and more.
“I love what I do,” she said. “I look forward to having my own office with staff one day. Anything’s possible.”
Zawacki’s idea to create the radio show came from spending many years working in the elder and aging care industry, she said. She was working a a job writing policies on long-term care and Medicare when she became more and more aware of the issues facing adult children who were caring for their aging parents.
She became connected with an organization that published a resource guide for seniors, and she became responsible for managing its distribution in the Chicago area. From here, she developed the idea to launch her own radio station, unique to the aging population.
“I really started Aging Info Radio, being in the aging and elder care industry for 15 years, there’s so much that people don’t realize when they’re dealing with aging adults,” Zawacki said.
She said that as people age, they aren’t proactive about approaching their children or other family members and specifically planning for how they want to live in their older years.
“If you want to be in control of your final days, if you don’t set it up today, you’re going to lose it down the road,” she said. “People do not do it properly. Parents don’t go to their kids and say ‘This is what I want.’”
Her show is a little more than two years old, and she hosts anywhere from two to five guests each week, and tries to bring on a high-profile person about every six weeks.
Longtime Chicago radio personality, Clark Weber, will be on the Dec. 8 show.
Zawacki said she tries to coordinate her shows around upcoming holidays or other events. Last week’s show focused on Veteran’s Day, and she has a few scheduled for the Christmas season about gift giving for seniors, identity theft protection and resolutions for the new year.
Plans and broadcasts the show on her own, and said she is supported by a loyal collection of advertisers. She learns a little more every show and is gradually watching Aging Info Radio expand. The show began on WJJG AM 1530 in Elmhurst, before she expanded it to a larger broadcast venue in January 2012.
When she gets feedback from listeners they usually have more questions than what was address in the show, or else they ask for referrals for service providers.
“I just want Aging Info Radio to expand in a way that best serves the listeners and aging population,” she said. “I believe you’re led to where you can be.”