10 Enriching (and Free) Activities for Seniors and Their Friends

By Gretchen Raab, Director, Neenah Public Library

Life enrichment activities are for everyone. We meet new friends, are exposed to fresh ideas, and pursue our passions. I was recently contacted by Valley VNA to write a guest article about the enrichment programs offered at the library. Valley VNA in-home caregivers who assist seniors in their homes, often take clients on outings in the community. And the Neenah Public Library is a favorite stop.

What can you do (for no charge) at our beautiful library? The opportunities are always expanding. It’s a place for reading books, magazines & newspapers, watching bald eagles or pelicans on the river, working on a puzzle, playing a game of chess, or simply being with others. But did you know you can:

  1. Enjoy the talk Sweet Collaborators: The Neenah Galloway Company and Neenah’s Dairy Queen on Thursday, March 16 at 7 p.m. Tim Galloway and Jim Reiser will collaborate on a presentation about how their two businesses have worked together for decades. The Neenah Historical Society is a co-sponsor of this event.
  2. Visit the local history room on the second floor and enjoy easy access to the cabinets of well-organized historical photos. You can even find yourself (or your old high school flame) in our Neenah High School yearbooks dating back nearly a century. Browsing from home? Enjoy more than 400 photos of old Neenah in our local history digital collection.
  3. Enjoy live music at our First Friday Concerts or Sunday Concert Series. We invite talented musicians from all over the state to share their musical gifts with our patrons. Refreshments included.
  4. Learn to play the ukulele! The library has ukuleles you can check out, and we offer a free 8-week beginner class.
  5. Access com Library Edition online. This amazing digital resource affords you access to the U.S. Federal Census, military, marriage, and immigration records. There is a learning center for tips on how to best approach the website’s 16 billion records and how to create a timeline for each family member. Use a library computer to log on via the Neenah Public Library web site. (The library edition is only available in-house.) Our librarians on the second floor will be happy to get you started.
  6. Enjoy a Monday Matinee or a Tuesday Night Movie. Our movies and program speakers can be heard through a hearing loop that works with many newer hearing aids. Free popcorn and pop.
  7. Meet new friends and gather with them regularly in our Monday Morning Book Klatch or knitting club. Find joy in sharing time together centered around a common interest.
  8. Migrate to e-books to more easily increase type size and contrast so reading is easier on your eyes. Audio books are also a great option because no one ever tires of hearing a grand story read aloud. At the Neenah Public Library website, you can download both e-books and audio books for your Kindle, IPad, IPod, or home computer. If you need help learning about how to use an e-reader or other digital device, did you know we have monthly Tech Talks at 3 p.m. the second Thursday of each month? Friendly help is always available at the library.
  9. Rediscover a language of your past, or learn a new one. Did you grow up with parents or grandparents speaking a language at home other than English? Do you wish you could remember the words to those childhood nursery rhymes in German or Polish? Our online world languages program could be the treasure you seek. You can learn a language at your own pace through videos and lessons. Use your library card to log on to Pronunciator at the Neenah Library website.
  10. Participate in monthly Memory Cafés for people experiencing early stage dementia, mild memory loss or cognitive impairment, and for family and friends of those affected. It’s an opportunity for lively discussions, information gathering, refreshments, camaraderie, and lots of creative fun. Upcoming topics include visiting Cuba, fishing, and flower arranging.

Libraries are for lifelong learners. We are a warm, friendly, safe, and sunny place for multiple generations of patrons. Visit us to see all we have to offer.