//Engaged at Every Age

Engaged at Every Age

Whether it’s finding your next great read or learning to use a computer, Shaker Library offers plenty for seniors.

Senior woman reading a book at the library

According to the AARP, nearly seven baby boomers turn 65 every 60 seconds. In keeping up to the minute, the Shaker Heights Public Library offers inclusive programming and services including lectures, performances, and educational programs that reflect the wide interests of today’s older adults.

Computer coaching, knitting programs, chess instruction, casual Coffee & Conversation programs with neighbors, and programs on researching family history sponsored by the African-American Genealogical Society are just a few of the programs tailored to this age group.

In Ohio, service to seniors begins at age 60 when the state mails its Golden Buckeye Card, which provides discounts on thousands of items from camping, to museum admissions, to prescription drug discounts. For those who have not received a card, application forms are available at the Library Reference desks.

To help older adults get the most out of their retirement years, the Library offers programs on health and
wellness – both physical and fiscal.

Working with Fairhill Partners, the Library has offered courses on managing chronic health conditions and sessions on how to avoid falls. Financial counselors from Empowering & Strengthening Ohio’s People (ESOP) have led classes on how to avoid scams and exploitation, estate  planning, and credit and debt issues, and provided participants the opportunity to meet individually with a qualified advisor.

“According to the AARP, nearly seven baby boomers turn 65 every 60 seconds.”

Ongoing programs for seniors include informative and unbiased sessions about Medicare with the Ohio Senior Health Insurance Information Program (OSHIIP). This fall seniors can learn the ins and outs of Medicare and sign up for 45-minute appointments on Medicare Review with an OSHIIP representative at Main Library. Twice a week in February and March, AARP volunteers offer free tax preparation for seniors.

This fall in partnership with the City, the Library will host a Senior Housing Fair to help residents consider their options in Shaker. A variety of vendors and speakers from housing and service groups will be available to help seniors and their families weigh their options, from apartment living, to senior residences, to adapting their current residences to make them more accessible.

The Library reaches beyond its walls to engage seniors living in senior residences and nursing homes. Librarians Pam Tidwell and Rachel Dinga give book talks at both Library Court Apartments and Campbell Court as well as provide Library collections in both buildings. Twice a month, Library Associate Virginia Schoelch meets with residents of the Woodlands Assisted Living Center, sharing stories and puzzles and bringing in guests to perform music, lead oral history projects, or teach chair yoga. She even helped the group create their own book, Wise Old Sayings of the Woodlands.

Stacie Anderson and Caitlin Fitz Gordon manage the Library’s Homebound Program, which includes a team of volunteers who deliver books and other material to homebound seniors. When a homebound senior signs up for the program, Stacie or Caitlin interview them about their favorite genres or authors to get a sense of their reading and listening preferences. Then they select materials to be delivered by a volunteer who picks them up
and returns them to the Library.

“Having someone take the time to help me has been a blessing. I can’t say enough about it,” says resident Deidre Wingfield. Resident Jane Arrington’s first reaction was to smile and say, “I’m a reader, and, having been disabled for nearly a year with leg problems, I categorically can say this program gives excellent service to its customers under the direction of Stacie Anderson and her volunteers. I do appreciate my personal volunteer Lynda Thomas, who walks down my hallway singing while carrying books to last me for a month.”

The Library welcomes new volunteers and new homebound seniors to the Homebound Program. To register or volunteer for the program, call 216-991-2030 x 2339.

Originally published in Shaker Life, Fall 2018.