Currently, I am posting on the Senior Services blog for the Pasco County Library System. You can read my posts here and the RSS feed is here. I also have a new list of interesting articles for older adults, which I have been updating often. These articles can be found on my work del.icio.us account, PCLSlibrarian2. You can click here for the RSS feed for this list.
Monday, April 07, 2008
May is "Older American's Month". It was originally called "Senior Citizens Month" by President Kennedy in 1963, but the name was changed to "Older Americans Month" by President Carter in 1980. The Administration on Aging described this month as "... a time to acknowledge the contributions of past and current older persons to our country, in particular those who defended our country." The Administration on Aging published the theme for this year's celebration: "Working Together for Strong, Healthy, and Supportive Communities". The Administration on Aging has provided the logo above and a nice poster for download. This poster would be great for a display at the library which highlights the accomplishments of older adults:
The U.S. Census Bureau released a fact sheet for Older Americans Month. These facts include:
- 37.3 million people were 65 and older in the U.S. in 2006
- There is a projected 147% increase in the 65-and-older population between 2000 and 2050
- The poverty rate for people 65 and older in 2006 - 9.4%
- By 2016, the number of people 65 and older in the labor force will reach 10.1 million
- 7.3 million are taking adult education classes
- 1.6 million live in nursing homes
- Charlotte County, Fl has the highest percentage of 65+ at 31.2%
Posted by Isabelle Fetherston at 3:15 AM
Sunday, March 23, 2008
Medicare's "Nursing Home Compare" provides a way to evaluate nursing homes by providing state inspection information, number of registered nurses, and resident characteristics. This is a very good resource. However, it would be nice to have more information about the facilities and the quality of life for the residents at these facilities.
A recent article by Keosha Johnson in the AARP bulletin discussed a new website called seniorDecision. This website was designed to provide a place for consumer ratings and reviews of assisted living, nursing homes, and home health care companies. I took a look at the site and it has potential for the future. However, right now there are not many reviews. For example, I did not find any reviews of companies in the Tampa area. Perhaps the AARP article will make people more aware of this website and more people will add reviews. It will be interesting to see if this website succeeds in gaining a critical mass of reviews.
Posted by Isabelle Fetherston at 11:21 AM
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
I am happy to announce that I have just started as a full time Librarian in the Pasco County Library System. I graduated last April with an M.S. in Library and Information Studies from Florida State University and had been working as a part-time reference Librarian in Hillsborough County. I will miss my friends in Hillsborough, but I am very excited about my new position. I may be posting to this blog less than usual for a few weeks, as I adapt to my long commute and new job.
Posted by Isabelle Fetherston at 5:36 PM
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
While looking through the resources in the Creating Aging Friendly Communities conference, I came across a reference to United Generations Ontario. This non-profit organization is "... dedicated to promoting the effectiveness and efficiency of other registered Canadian charities involved in providing benefits to members of different generations - children, youth, their parents and people of their parents' generation, seniors and other older adults." They provide a free pdf called Connecting Generations Toolkit: Best Practices in Intergenerational Programing.
This toolkit lists the benefits of intergenerational programs, such as:
- emotional support
- social role development
- mental stimulation
- understanding the needs of other generations
This toolkit also provides tips and recommendations about how to successfully create partnerships with other organizations to provide intergenerational programming. There is also a database of resources. However, the links to many of the websites and pdf files are not working through their search page. Here are some useful resources that I did find through the site:
Intergenerational Programs and Aging - with great program examples, resource links, and research about intergenerational programs (from Penn State University College of Agriculture Sciences).
Strengthening Families and Communities by Sharing Life Stories
Bridging the Gap
Tried and True: A Guide to Successful Intergenerational Activities at Shared Site Programs
Posted by Isabelle Fetherston at 10:00 AM
Monday, February 18, 2008
The Creating Aging-Friendly Communities online conference website has opened up and the live conference events will be starting this week. For more information about this conference, please see a previous post. I have started to explore the site and have found many policy and research papers available, a list of organizations interested in aging-friendly issues, discussion board areas, and a searchable list of participants to encourage networking. There are several librarians already signed in to the conference, including Allan Kleiman of Senior Spaces and Satia Orange, Director of the Office for Literacy & Outreach Services of the American Library Association. I am glad to see librarians participating and networking at this conference. I will probably be only participating asynchronously, due to my schedule, but I hope to blog about some of the presentations.
Unfortunately, this free conference has had so many people interested, that the organizers have had to limit registrations. However, the organizers have promised that all of the content from the conference will be made available to the general public after the conference.
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
In a previous post, I mentioned that we need to consider how we name and market our programs for older adults. Recent articles show that many senior centers are changing their names to avoid using aging labels, in order to be more attractive to older adults. I came across a post about a "senior center" called Vitalize! Wellness Centre. This center describes itself as "... a successful aging center that takes a holistic approach to aging by focusing on the tenets of successful aging: physical, intellectual, spiritual, emotional, and vocational wellness."
This aging center does more than just have a catchy name to attract older adults. It successfully makes its programming intriguing and in doing so, it defies any negative stereotypes about programming for seniors. Their lifelong learning classes are called "hungry mind" classes. Concepts used in their marketing video include empowerment, independence, lifelong learning, community, fun, friends, and purpose.
Here is a Youtube video promoting this wellness center:
"Mather's—More Than a Café" is also "thinking outside the box". These cafes are provided by Mather LifeWays, which is a not-for-profit organization. Here is how they describe the cafés:
“Our Cafés are special places where older adults reenergize, explore, connect, and enjoy.
Reenergize by strength training, practicing tai chi, or taking a yoga class.
Explore the world through lifelong learning adventures and taking line-dancing, piano, pottery, chess, and computer classes. Attend book readings and signings as well as important lectures about identity theft and tax laws. Take a day trip to an exciting area event, like Broadway in Chicago!
Connect with neighbors in your community who sharre mutual interests. Gain free access to area information."
Note that this center provides classes, author signings, a place to socialize, a place to meet people with similar interests, and local information about the area. Libraries are currently providing most or all of these activities and services for older adults. We need to develop successful marketing campaigns - like these created by non-profit organizations - to highlight our services for older adults.
Posted by Isabelle Fetherston at 9:19 PM
Monday, February 04, 2008
When I started this blog, I wanted to come up with a name that would be short and catchy. I realized that the term "older adults" is more widely accepted - for example the American Library Association has a "Services to Older Adults" page. However, I do not feel that there is a negative association to the word "senior" - at least with members of the "Greatest Generation".
Boomers, on the other hand, may not be happy with the term "senior". Recently I have read several articles that state that Boomers are very sensitive about activities and places that are labeled "senior". Allison Rupp wrote an article in the Casper Star Tribune about the trend for senior centers to change their name to better attract Boomers who are in their 50's. In Butler County Ohio, Tiffany Latta (of Hamilton Journal News) wrote that the local "Senior Citizens, Inc." group had changed their name to "Partners in Prime". The idea was to remove the "senior citizen" label, which may have some negative connotations for some older adults.
This idea was discussed by Dave Schleck in a recent Daily Press article. Mr. Schleck quoted author Chuck Underwood, who is the author of "The Generational Imperative: Understanding Generational Differences in the American Workplace, Marketplace, And Living Room."
Here is Chuck Underwood's list of seven words that one should not use in marketing to Boomers:
- golden years
- silver years
- prime time
Posted by Isabelle Fetherston at 10:02 PM
Monday, January 28, 2008
The National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a) partnered with the MetLife Foundation and four other national organizations to survey 10,000 local governments to "determine their “aging readiness” to provide programs, policies and services that address the needs of older adults and their caregivers; to ensure that their communities are “livable” for persons of all ages; and to harness the talent, wisdom, and experience of older adults to contribute to the community at large." (p.1 print, p. 3 pdf). The resulting report is called "The Maturing of America- Getting Communities on Track for an Aging Population" and the pdf file can be downloaded here. (I found this report via the Docuticker Blog).
This report found that only 46% of American communities have begun to prepare for the rapidly increasing numbers of older adults. In fact, most local governments "do not have the policies, programs, or services in place to promote the quality of life and the ability of older adults to live independently and contribute to their communities for as long as possible" (p.1 print, p. 3 pdf). The report listed many areas of concern for "aging readiness", including:
- Public Safety
- Workforce development/ Lifelong Learning
- Civic engagement/ Volunteer activities
- Aging/Human Services
In the section on transportation, the study mentions that "Reduced mobility can put an older person at risk of poor health, isolation, and loneliness." (p. 9 in print and p. 11 of pdf). The survey question about public transportation lists the following places: senior centers, adult day care services, grocery stores, faith communities, and cultural events. There is no mention of public transit availability to libraries. We may need to lobby for public transportation to our libraries.
It seems clear that many of the aging services stakeholders are not thinking about libraries - either as a resource for older adults or as a community social destination for older adults. As local government agencies begin to plan for the future, librarians will need to remind them that we are here for older adults - to provide information, technology training, lifelong learning programing, and as a community center for social interaction and volunteering. In addition, we should find ways to partner with local aging services, so that we can create services that neither agency alone could provide.
Certainly we can take an idea from UPS and ask these agencies "What can libraries do for you?" We certainly should show other government agencies what we have to offer - our meeting rooms, programming, staff expertise, ability to outreach to older adults, etc. We need to be a part of the planning process and to increase our visibility.
Posted by Isabelle Fetherston at 8:44 AM
Sunday, January 20, 2008
The Family Caregiver Alliance (FCA) has recently created a database for publicly-funded caregiver support programs. This database is called "Caregiving across the States" and it can be accessed by clicking one's state on a map or by choosing the state from a drop down menu. The information includes details about specific caregiving programs, including eligibility requirements, the geographic regions served by the programs, and the services provided by each program. For example, program services may include assistive technology, caregiver training, supplies, counseling, homemaker assistance, and respite care. In addition, there is a wealth of statistical information about caregivers and the cost of caregiving in each state. The Florida information is here.
The Family Caregiver Alliance is a community-based nonprofit organization. The FCA website is a great resource for older adults and for caregivers. There are useful fact sheets in English, Spanish, and Chinese; research reports; caregiving advice; and links to online support groups.
(Found via a post from the excellent Minding Our Elders blog, written by Carol Bradley Bursack)
Posted by Isabelle Fetherston at 3:28 PM
Sunday, January 13, 2008
A new study has recently been released called “Information Searches That Solve Problems: How people use the internet, libraries, and government agencies when they need help”. It was created through a partnership between the University Of Illinois Graduate School Of Library and Information Science and the Pew Internet and American Life Project. The full report in pdf form is here. I have listed below some of the results of the study which relate to older adults and libraries:
Library Use by Age Group
Gen Y (18-30) 62%
Gen X (31-42) 59%
Trailing Boomers (43 – 52) 57%
Leading Boomers (53-61) 46%
Matures (62-71) 42%
After Work (72+) 32%
(p. 10 of report; p. 20 of pdf)
Sarah Houghton-Jan, the LibarianInBlack, commented in a recent blog post that these statistics “… show that library use steadily declines as people age--what can we do about that? Are we neglecting our senior populations once more? Is there an opportunity for added outreach here?”
This data challenges the common view that we are already reaching the older adult demographic and do not need to market library services to this group. I agree with Sarah that we should not neglect our senior population. However, to successfully market library services to this demographic, we need a lot more data. I am very interested in finding out about older adults who do not use the library and finding out why they do not use the library. Also, what services or materials would encourage them to use the library? I hope someone does this type of research. For the 72+ age group, some of the decline in library use may be due to mobility, general health, or transportation issues. That is one reason that I hope that we can use online library services to reach out to homebound seniors in the future. Another possibility is for libraries to partner with local organizations which visit the homebound.
% of adults in each group with internet access
Gen Y (18-30) 91%
Gen X (31-42) 90%
Boomers (43 – 61) 79%
Matures (62-71) 56%
After Work (72+) 29%
(p. 3 of report; p. 13 of pdf)
% of adults in each group with internet access
This report clearly shows the digital divide in internet access between young people and older adults. Older adults do not have internet access through school and since many older adults are retired, they lack access to the internet through their place of work. Another factor is that many older adults have not been trained to use computers or search the internet. Libraries are thus a critical asset for older adults, since libraries not only provide internet access, they many also provide computer training.
Furthermore, even people with internet access often need help in finding information. The report stated that “... Americans on both sides of the digital divide – those with both low-access and high-access to computing -- are equally likely to use the public library for information that helps them address matters and solve problems in their lives – especially those matters that lie in some way within the government domain.” (p. 30 of report; p. 40 of pdf). I would add that finding government information (such as Medicare information and Social Security benefits) is of great concern to many older adults.
Posted by Isabelle Fetherston at 8:25 PM
Saturday, January 05, 2008
The University of California at Berkeley, Center for the Advanced Study of Aging Services and Community Strengths will be hosting a free online conference. The American Library Association is one of the co-sponsors. The "Creating Aging-Friendly Communities" conference website is here.
The conference description states:
"Join participants from state and local government, community-based organizations, policy makers, business leaders, funders, recognized experts, and concerned citizens, as they capture emerging knowledge regarding ways to make their communities more aging-friendly."I think that this is a wonderful opportunity for librarians to "have a seat at the table". In other words, we can participate in discussions about community building and community planning. I think that creating dialogs with community based organizations and government agencies (such as Aging Services) can lead to new ideas and successful partnerships.
The conference will take place over three weeks. It will have previously recorded presentations, which can be viewed at any time during the conference or up to 60 days after the conference. There will also be live presentations and live panel discussions on Wednesday, February 20th, Wednesday, February 27th, and Wednesday, March 5th.. One can also participate in scheduled online discussions and informal networking. This is great because it can potentially include anyone interested in aging services and lifelong learning throughout the country - with no need for travel or related expenses!
Conference topics will include the characteristics of aging-friendly communities, lifelong learning, developing community partnerships, building local capacity, mobility and transportation issues, intergenerational perspectives, health and wellness, "aging in place", and creating communities of practice for aging-friendly communities.I would like to thank Satia Orange for posting about this conference on the ALA Senior Services listserv.
Posted by Isabelle Fetherston at 8:09 AM