St. Louis County Library Helps Older Adults Stay Connected During the Pandemic

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(St. LOUIS, MO)–St. Louis County Library is expanding the Digital Equity Initiative to help underserved older adults access technology and stay connected to loved ones during the COVID-19 pandemic. Starting February 10, older adults who live in St. Louis County can apply to receive a GrandPad tablet for one year. GrandPad is a tablet designed to meet the needs of people over the age of 75. It comes preloaded with software and built-in 4G LTE service that allows users to access email, make phone calls, participate in video calls, take, send and receive photos, and access information over the internet. The tablets will be purchased using federal CARES Act funds; the program is part of the Digital Equity Initiative established by St. Louis County Executive Dr. Sam Page in 2020. Eligible seniors must have a St. Louis County Library card and be a resident of St. Louis County. More information and the online application are available at www.slcl.org/grandpad.

The combined impact of social isolation and limited access to technology has been particularly devastating to older adults during the COVID-19 pandemic. Homebound individuals, or those living in a senior care facility, have not had the same access to online resources like Zoom, email or Facetime to stay in touch with loved ones, or to keep up to date on the latest COVID or vaccine information.  

St. Louis County Library Director & CEO, Kristen Sorth said, "We are so grateful to partner with St. Louis County on the expansion of the Digital Equity Initiative. The pandemic has increased barriers for much of our community and particularly for older adults who may not have access to technology that could connect them to family, friends and information. Social isolation for seniors is a serious public health concern. Providing GrandPad tablets that were designed by and for older adults will give individuals the ability to connect in so many meaningful ways."  

“This is an exciting partnership, one that allows us to expand on our Digital Equity Initiative,” said County Executive Dr. Sam Page. “Our commitment from the beginning of this pandemic has been to get resources to those who need them the most.”

SLCL is providing approximately 1,500 GrandPad tablets for a period of one year to help address social isolation and the digital divide affecting seniors in our region. The tablets are easy to use and were designed for use by individuals with little or no technology experience. A built-in data connection is included free with every GrandPad, giving users  secure access to the internet. There is no home internet connection required, no data contracts required, and no additional fees involved. Users are automatically set up with an email account that is ready to use on the device. GrandPad features large, colorful icons for easy navigation. Powerful, front facing speakers help improve communication for the hearing impaired. The device comes with a hands-free charging cradle, eliminating the need for hard-to-connect charging cords. Easy-to-use video calling and voice, email and text gives seniors multiple options for connecting with caregivers and families. A dedicated GrandPad support person is accessible 24/7/365 by simply touching the “Help” button on the GrandPad home screen.

“Despite the wired world in which we live today, seniors are increasingly isolated and disconnected because they are unable to use devices that simply were not designed for older adults,” said Scott Lien, co-founder and CEO of GrandPad. “We’ve created a tablet that eliminates all the common points of frustration for seniors, making it easy and safe for them to reconnect to family, friends, and caregivers and to stay in touch with their community and the world.”

GrandPad provides access to a wide variety of activities that provide mental stimulation and entertainment, such as music, games, streaming radio, articles, and weather. Users will also be able to easily access Library resources. A direct link to the St. Louis County COVID Information website including vaccination sign up will also be included on the GrandPad.

Applications for the GrandPad tablets will open on February 10, 2021. Individuals must apply online by February 28, a number of other eligibility requirements will apply. Details are available at www.slcl.org/grandpad.

The GrandPad tablets will be purchased using $1 million in federal CARES Act funding and are part of the Digital Equity Initiative, established in 2020 by St. Louis County Executive Dr. Sam Page.  

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For more information:  

To learn more about the GrandPad tablets available from St. Louis County Library, please visit www.slcl.org/grandpad or call 314-994-3300. Media inquiries should be directed to Jennifer McBride, Manager of Communications, 314-994-3300 ext 2250 or jmcbride@slcl.org.  

About GrandPad Barbara Tabor, APR / (651) 230-9192 / barbara@taborpr.com

Based in Orange, CA, GrandPad is a digital health company that develops engagement solutions to improve the health and well-being of older adults by reconnecting them to families, friends, and caregivers through technology that is safe, reliable, and easy to use. The GrandPad purpose-built tablet for people over the age of 75 -- the first mobile device of its kind -- addresses usability, security, and connectivity issues that are often roadblocks for integrating remote monitoring and telehealth into professional and familial caregiving settings. The company's secure cloud platform with built-in LTE and web applications allows care teams and family members to engage remotely with older adults without depending on WiFi connectivity. GrandPad enables a variety of interactions, including video calls, sharing essential care-related emails and messages, and conducting multi-party video care conferences between family members and a patient’s continuum of caregivers. For professional caregivers, GrandPad offers connected device capabilities that support enhanced telehealth and remote monitoring services provided by a growing number of in-home healthcare organizations. To learn more, visit GrandPad.net or connect with us on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter @grandpad_social.

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