Free Services For Seniors

As seniors age, it’s important that they stay as engaged and mentally active as possible. There are alternatives other than being shuttled to bingo games or sitting parked in front of random television shows. Most seniors prefer to be helpful, or to have someone with whom to reminisce, or to be able to access entertainment that is personally meaningful. The greater Chicago area is fortunate to have free services for seniors which facilitate these options—whether your senior loved one is home-bound or is able to be out and about.

Seniors helping seniors, with a little assistance

Chicago’s Senior Companion Program allows retired seniors to have a rewarding experience and make new friends in the process of helping homebound elderly people. If you or your loved one is homebound, you may be able to request home visits from seniors in this program.

Another popular senior volunteer opportunity is the Foster Grandparent Program. This gives senior volunteers an opportunity to make a difference in a child’s life—as a tutor or mentor—as well as an opportunity to be around other seniors in the program.

Opportunities with free or low-cost special transportation for the elderly

Seniors can enjoy each other’s company and make friends while shopping for groceries in the safety of a large group, by utilizing the Senior Shuttle Service program. This service provides free, weekly transportation to nearby grocery stores. Handicap-accessible buses are available upon request, and specialized transportation is available for eligible seniors—including the Taxi Access Program (TAP) that provides door-to-door transportation to seniors at reduced rates.

For information about the above free services for seniors, call 312-744-4016.

If you have more specific needs, for a nominal fee, there are a number of senior transportation services that provide personalized service to the grocery store, beauty shop or gatherings with friends.

Opportunities of personal interest and continuing education

The Lifelong Learners Program brings classes from the City College of Chicago to the Regional Senior Centers. Classes are free and open to Chicagoans 60 years of age and older, and may include learning Spanish, digital photography, or various art programs. More information is available by calling 312-744-4016.

Another free service to brighten the long hours a senior spends at home

Without leaving their home, and without any purchase or rental fees, your senior loved one can enjoy reading books or listening to the audio versions of a wide range of topics and genres. Would your loved one be interested in a current bestseller? How about seeing a recent film, or a favorite old movie from the comfort of home? Think of the serenity or happy memories your loved one can experience by listening to the popular music of his or her youth?

As seniors age, it’s important that they stay as engaged and mentally active as possible. There are alternatives other than being shuttled to bingo games or sitting parked in front of random television shows. Most seniors would prefer to be helpful, or to have someone with whom to reminisce, or to be able to access entertainment that is personally meaningful. The greater Chicago area is fortunate to have programs which facilitate these options—whether your senior loved one is home-bound or is able to be out and about. Where can you obtain these free services for seniors?

  1. The greater Chicago area is blessed to have one of the very best networks of public libraries in the world. But many older people are unaware that they can place “orders” through the Chicago Public Library’s website. With a valid library card, your senior can select books, DVDs, audiobooks and CDs from an online catalog, and then place a hold (also known as a reserve) on the items they want. These will in turn be delivered, absolutely free, to your nearest branch library—usually in a day or two!
  2. If your senior does not have internet access, or is unfamiliar with how to use it, a family member or an in-home caregiver can assist with placing the holds (or reserves), and with picking up the library items for your loved one, monitoring due dates to avoid late fees, and returning the items to the library.

Here is information about placing holds for anything in the Chicago area Public Library System. If you need library branch information, here is a handy location locator.Consider the possibilities of this amazing resource, and the joy it can bring to your life—or the life of an elderly loved one.

If any of this is too much to navigate alone, there is help

If your loved one is no longer capable of getting out and doing things on their own, that doesn’t mean they have to be stuck home alone. If bus schedules, program requirements, and library websites are too confusing, why not engage a home care professional to assist? Ask us about options we have available to you for a wide variety of personal care services.

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