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AgeOptions grant sponsors outings for seniors, technology

A special grant benefitting seniors is helping the Homewood Public Library take a dozen seniors on a Chicago architecture tour by boat this month, and a second trip to the Chicago History Museum on Oct. 13.

The library received a $10,000 grant from AgeOptions, a nonprofit organization that is part of the Area Agency on Aging for Suburban Cook County. The grant had two components – offering technology to improve digital literacy and improving socialization for person 55 and older. 

In the past, the library used AgeOptions grant money to purchase Chrome Books and hotspots to improve WiFi connections. Nathan Hare, director of adult services, said this year the library purchased devices that patrons can use in their everyday lives, including Fitbits, a wearable device that registers physical fitness and activity; hearing aids; Amazon Echo, a voice-controlled personal assistant; and digital magnifiers to help those with low vision. All can be checked out for a week using a Homewood library card.

To help improve socialization, the library offered a trip on the Chicago River. Unfortunately, the mini-bus only offers seating for 12, and Hare said he was surprised how quickly the reservations came in. The Sept. 29 trip is filled. He decided to plan a second trip in October open to patrons with a Homewood library card and a record of COVID-19 vaccinations.

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The library is applying for a $7,500 grant from AgeOptions for 2023, Hare said.

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