Support and information for seniors and those who care for them
By Jill Raymond, Library Associate
We at the Library have been building a collection of materials that offer help, information, support and inspiration for those over 55 and all others with elders in their lives. In other words, these sources have something to say to just about everyone.
In 2014 the Library partnered with the newly-created office of Lifelong Takoma as they planned their first annual event for seniors and their family and friends. From that participation, the Library has increased its focus on the needs of this community by offering several resources.
Book display and bibliography: We are especially proud of our book display, right in front of the circulation desk, featuring books that directly address those facing issues of the “third stage” of life. The display includes books offering a general treatment of the experience of getting older like Aging with Grace: What the Nun Study Teaches Us about Leading Longer, Healthier, and More Meaningful Lives and The Third Chapter: Passion, Risk and Adventure in the 25 Years after 50 as well as books that take a look at special interests from an elder’s perspective, such as A Heart of Wisdom: Making the Jewish Journey from Midlife Through the Elder Years and Gardening for a Lifetime: How to Garden Wiser as You Grow Older as well as Lilias! Yoga Gets Better with Age. Also included are memoirs and observations on aging from some of the most interesting voices of our time, including Jimmy Carter’s The Virtues of Aging, Gloria Steinem’s Doing Sixty and Seventy, and May Sarton’s Coming into 80.
The Library offers a number of primers on particular questions geared to an older person’s needs, such as and Living Longer Depression Free: A Family Guide to Recognizing, Treating, and Preventing Depression in Later Life as well as discussions of relationships and change, Seniors in Love by Robert Wolley and Red Hot Mamas: Coming into Our Own at 50 by Colette Dowling, author of The Cinderella Complex.
Housing is an increasingly stressful issue for seniors, both from a financial and a mobility standpoint, and we have a number of books on senior housing, living independently on a budget and retiring in a foreign country. Collective living situations among older friends is addressed in My House Our House and local author Beth Baker’s With a Little Help from Our Friends. The Library has also compiled a bibliography of most of our collection’s current materials that address issues of aging. Copies are available on the book display cart.
Main collection: Our adult nonfiction collection includes a range of useful materials for this population from the current science on cognition and memory, fitness, senior housing, financial and legal issues to Medicare, Social Security, and caregiving.
On our magazine shelves the Library makes available issues of AARP’s bi-monthly magazine and its monthly Bulletin as well as periodicals like Cooking Light, Health, Prevention, Consumer Reports and This Old House along with a number of prestigious science journals like Science and Nature as well as many of general interest like Discovery, National Geographic and Scientific American for those keeping up with the latest understandings of the physiology and the psychosociology of aging.
Computers: We have 27 Internet stations, offering access in twenty-some languages. The Library partners with the Recreation Department in offering courses, taught by Library staff, in our computer center designed for seniors who want to begin to build, or continue to build, on their own computer skills. The computer center offers a Seniors Room with four internet terminals set aside specifically for seniors’ use as well as comfortable lounge chairs, tables and materials of interest for older residents.
Of course the Library has my personal favorite, an updated version of Computers for Seniors for Dummies as well as My IPhone for Seniors and My iPad for Seniors. Our Computer Center always has a Library staff member available for one-on-one help in room A. All you need is a Takoma Park Library card.
This article appeared in the September 2016 edition of the Takoma Park Newsletter. The Takoma Park Newsletter is available for download here.