Together, Area Agencies on Aging and Councils on Aging constitute the public infrastructure designed to support America’s older adults. As such, they are natural partners for public libraries seeking to develop programs that lead communities “on the path to healthy aging,” as the ALA Health Literacy Toolkit puts it.
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May is Older Americans Month, first proclaimed by Gerald Ford in 1976. The past year has been challenging for all Americans, but the consequences of the pandemic fell heavily on older Americans and their families and caregivers. A unique challenge that many older Americans face is money management.
Most in-person programs for older adults have been put to a halt for the better part of a year. No worries, however! They can still be done online or by phone, says Jon Kay, director of Traditional Arts Indiana and associate professor of folklore and ethnomusicology at Indiana University Bloomington.
Through Tales and Travel, the Gail Borden Public Library seeks to reach a stigmatized population: older adults with early- to mid-stage dementia. This monthly “excursion,” offered at 17 assisted-living facilities in the region by the end of 2017, takes participants on an imaginary trip to another country or region of the United States using library materials (e.g. books, music and objects).
This class, the first of its kind at our library, began in early 2016 at the suggestion of a patron. We meet twice a week in our library's community room from 8:15 to 9 a.m.
Our instructor is a patron who volunteers to conduct the classes. We follow a set regime of exercises that are good for joints and building strength. Both men and women typically attend this class.
Since many older adult patrons can't make it to Coventry Public Library's in-house programs, we decided to offer both a senior fitness class and a chair yoga class at the Coventry Housing Authority, which is conveniently located near the senior living center. We run the classes twice a week for six weeks, and the seniors are always begging for more!
Begin the New Year by Thinking about the End was a program series focusing on the practical aspects that surround the end of life.
We offered four sessions: Beginning the Conversation, Affordable Funeral Planning, Financial Planning and Making Sure Everything Is Legal. The programs were held on Saturdays in January.
To celebrate Older Americans Month in May 2016, San Antonio Public Library (SAPL) hosted a special event called Senior Speed Connect @ Igo. (Igo is the name of our branch.) The program was patterned after Senior Speed Dating, which was depicted in "The Age of Love," a documentary shown at the SAPL Central Library in February.
Editor’s note: This Program Model is part of a series highlighting the work of the Lifetime Arts Affiliates, a cohort of 20 libraries that has been working with Lifetime Arts Inc. to launch professionally conducted arts education for older adults.
Editor's note: To learn more about starting an oral history program, view this 60-minute webinar.
Our Streets, Our Stories is an ongoing oral history project housed in the Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) Services for Older Adults within the Department of Outreach Services. We seek to explore the Brooklyn that is and the Brooklyn that was, from the words of the community that lives here.
The Wells Public Library is working with a master gardener from the York County Cooperative Extension office to offer a series of gardening programs. We are teaching basic gardening skills to foster a love of growing your own food, herbs and flowers. This is a series with lots of hands-on learning, and there is usually a take-away (such as a container garden, instructions for building raised beds, or bulbs that have been forced). We are also creating a community garden at the library.