Folks at Home Lending Library

By Beth Riner, Messenger Staff Writer

Sewanee-based Folks at Home has a new lending library for its members thanks to a grant from the South Cumberland Community Fund.

“Folks at Home empowers Sewanee’s senior citizens to live at home with dignity by supporting them with everyday tasks and increasing their access to wellness programming,” said Philanthropy Intern Delana Turner, who presented the $561 award to the organization. “This grant will fund the implementation of a lending library, providing members access to various readings from Harvard Health. By promoting health awareness and education, we are fostering a culture of wellness right here on the Plateau, and this grant will allow Folks at Home to continue enriching the lives of our senior community members.”

Mercedes Ingles, services coordinator for Folks at Home, said the lending library books purchased with the grant are from Harvard Medical School, considered a reliable and trusted source.

The agency purchased three copies of each the following books: “Osteoarthritis,” “Aging in Place,” “Caregiver’s Handbook,” “Stretching,” “Better Bladder,” “Mobility and Independence,” “Improving Memory,” “Osteoporosis,” “Joint Pain Relief,” “Coping with Hearing Loss,” “Healthy Eating for Type 2 Diabetes,” “Alzheimer’s Disease,” “Vitamins/Minerals,” “Grief and Loss,” “Life After Cancer,” “Advance Care Planning,” “Living Will,” “Walking for Health,” and “Cognitive Fitness.”

“The lending library is a resource for our membership to hopefully be able to stay a little more active and fit as they age in place,” Ingles said. “To check out a title, simply give us a call, come by, or just let us know if you would like to have them dropped off. We have a check out system that will note how many issues — not what titles — you have for a time period of two weeks.”

One of the reasons for creating the lending library was ease of accessibility for its membership.

“For some of our membership, using technology is difficult and distracting,” Ingles explained. “Even for myself, I often prefer a book in my hand as opposed to reading a book online. The books are a great resource for information and hopefully include topics that will be useful to our membership.”

Folks at Home recently hit a big membership milestone.

“Right before the end of the year, we broached 100 members for our organization — for the first time in its history,” Ingles said.

The nonprofit agency focuses on elder care in Sewanee and its surrounding area.

“Our mission is to assist members to stay home and thrive as much as possible as opposed to going to a nursing home or a facility,” she explained.

Free services offered to members include transportation to medical appointments; errands such as grocery shopping or pharmacy pickups; phone check-in calls if requested; health and in-home care assessment; home safety, fall risk and emergency preparedness review; participation in events, classes, activities, and excursions; and connections with individuals to talk about travels, volunteering, work, health care, moving, care giving, and adjusting to the death of a loved one.

Fee-based services include prepared meals and catering; home repairs; computer assistance; home medication consultation and planning; comprehensive care management; access to medical and non-medical home health care; financial and retirement consultation and planning; and minimum cost assistance with specific tasks such as transportation, shopping, pet walking, and outings.

“Anybody that wants to can become a member of Folks at Home,” Ingles said, noting there are two types of membership: service and sustaining.

“With service memberships, we are actively assisting with possibly meal deliveries or transports, which range from medical to non-medical to errands or grocery runs. We also do vendor referrals,” Ingles explained. “Sustaining members still have access to our programs, but don’t necessarily utilize us for our services. They are still paying a membership fee, but more as a donor role to support our cause and mission.”

Yearly membership is $400 per person or $700 for a two-person household.

For more information on Folks at Home, visit or call (931) 598-0303.

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