The library has a wealth of help for seniors
By: Scott Hayes
| Posted: Saturday, Aug 17, 2013 06:00 am
Ongoing series looks at programs and services offered at the St. Albert Public Library.
The St. Albert Public Library is more than just books these days, especially for local seniors. Special services co-ordinator Janice Cheung said that there is a veritable cornucopia of programs and services that cater specifically to the 50-plus and elderly crowd.
“We have a whole collection of stuff,” she stated, starting with the obvious: reading materials.
“We have large print. We have audio books for people who may have sight issues. We also have the DAISY book.”
Those are portable Digital Accessible Information System readers that are lent out with a collection of titles made available through the Canadian National Institute for the Blind, or CNIB.
“They are similar to the audiobook, the difference is that they have more functions. You can play the book at a faster rate. A lot of people, if they have visual issues, they may be able to train their hearing to listen to things a lot faster.”
Among the other services offered for seniors is the home library service, a book club for seniors, computer and technology training classes, and an assistive technology centre that has a machine that magnifies objects for easier reading.
This device doesn’t get as much use as it should, Cheung said.
“I’m not sure if it’s because they don’t know about it. I guess it’s really tiny, and it’s beside the reference desk,” she said, offering examples of the many ways it would prove useful to library patrons. “If they have trouble reading a magazine article, they could put it under. Reading the newspaper. Reading your prescription … you can put your pill bottle beneath it.”
The library also plays host to a bunch of programs and events that cater to seniors. The next upcoming event is called Healthy Aging: Travel Wise, Travel Well. It takes place on Friday, Sept. 6 from 2 to 3:30 p.m. It will offer prospective travellers tips on how to decrease health risks during travel through planning and prevention. It will be presented by Lori Jack from the Primary Care Network. Attendance is free, but please call 780-459-1682 to register.
Other items on the programming schedule include and the ever-popular literary board game, Scrabble. It happens from 2 to 4 p.m. on the second and fourth Fridays of each month starting in September.
“It’s really, really popular with seniors. I think for them, especially in the wintertime, it gives them something to do and it’s really good for them to get together and socialize with each other.”
She said that there’s a regular group of people who started taking in the Scrabble sessions as strangers. Now, they have become fine friends. Cheung added that this simple social program helps to combat the major problems of loneliness and memory loss at the same time.
“They come and talk, and they really enjoy it. This helps bring seniors together. Scrabble is really good for improving your mind.”
Jack also runs the Enhancing Your Memory sessions. The next memory program takes place in October. It has four sessions and includes tips and hints.
Other seniors programs include Planning For Your Future (Powers of Attorney, Personal Directives and Wills) The Government Services and Benefits for Seniors program will be brought in as a joint effort by representatives from the provincial and federal governments.
For a full listing of all seniors related programs and services offered through the library, call 780-459-1682 or visit www.sapl.ca/seniors.html. The website also offers access to the St. Albert Seniors' Directory, a compilation of anything and everything related to seniors and seniors’ issues.
Cheung can also be reached at 780-459-1751.