NPR’s Scott Detrow Interviews Passavant Community Residents on Aging Politicians

In an engaging and enlightening discussion, Scott Detrow, renowned NPR journalist and weekend host of “All Things Considered,” recently visited Lutheran SeniorLife Passavant Community to converse with residents about a topic that has been capturing the nation’s attention: aging politicians. The conversation delved into the impact of aging leaders like President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump in government and explored the perspectives of seniors. who have witnessed decades of political change.

As the United States grapples with a growing number of senior politicians holding influential positions, Detrow embarked on a journey to gain insight from those with a unique vantage point on this issue. Passavant Community, nestled in a picturesque corner of Zelienople, Butler County, Pennsylvania, provided the perfect backdrop for this thought-provoking discussion.

Detrow spent three hours interviewing residents as he toured the campus stopping by the fitness center and model train room prior to a roundtable discussion with residents in the community’s restaurant—the Baron’s Inn.

Ahmad Zaghab asked a profound question during his interview: “Why do we have people staying in power for so long?” He believes it is time to “change course.”  Moreover, resident David Reckless mentioned a litany of challenges the United States faces no matter, who the candidates maybe. “As an American you can’t afford not to vote,” said Reckless.

Residents, Rosalie Bablak, a retired medical technologist, joined fellow resident, retiree John Fuller, former Senior Manager at H.J. Heinz Company as well as guests, Preston Shimer, and Sue Hughes to discuss the upcoming presidential election centered on the topic of aging politicians. Many of them have seen the political landscape evolve over the years, giving them a seasoned viewpoint on how aging politicians can impact the country’s governance.

Detrow began the roundtable discussion by asking residents about their thoughts on aging politicians specifically the upcoming presidential election where it is highly likely a former president will challenge a sitting president for the first time in the nation’s history. Opinions were varied, reflecting the broader discourse in the country. Some roundtable participants argued that experience could be a valuable asset in politics, while others expressed concerns about potential cognitive decline and an inability to connect with younger generations.

Passavant residents Rosalie Bablak and John Fuller

Residents Bablak, 86, and Fuller, 81, hold contrasting political viewpoints, but they both concur that age will play a significant role in the forthcoming presidential election. They also agreed that they would prefer different candidates than President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump.

Fuller believes both presidents “…have done some good things in their political careers, but… there are more things going on in the world that I think we need a younger perspective as to how to solve problems.”

“I’d like to see younger people have the opportunity,” noted Bablak. “I like the wisdom that we have in the candidates and I’d like to have their wisdom as part of it… but I’d like to see the president be a younger person.”

Laura Roy, Passavant Community and Scott Detrow, NPR

Despite the age of the candidate, Bablak reminded everyone, “We are one nation under God, and we may be democrat or republican, but we are one people, and we can differ, but it’s important to respect one another.”

At the conclusion of the interview, Laura Roy, Executive Director of Passavant Community, thanked Detrow for… “His insightful questions and genuine interest in our residents’ perspectives made for a truly engaging conversation.”

This segment of All Things Considered is set to air on Pittsburgh’s NPR station, 90.5 WESA, at 5:00 pm, Sunday, Sept. 24.