February 13th, 2017

Passion for the Elderly Turns into an Entrepreneurial Journey to Owning a Business

When I first met Donna Harrity over a year ago, it was clear that she had a passion for the business she wanted to start. Donna Harrity’s drive to become self-employed started with a need she found in the community while working for 20 years as Director of Admissions at Calvert Manor. “People would call me more and more and say that a parent was ready to be in a nursing home and couldn’t live alone anymore. After a brief discussion, it became evident that their parent could stay at home if they were simply more aware of community resources available to them,” Harrity explains. She knew about the resources available to help keep seniors living in their own home longer and felt that she could be that resource connecting the dots for these families.
Harrity’s launched her small business Aging Life Guides with a mission to help seniors and their families make informed decisions to meet individual needs and to help maintain a high quality of life. The mission and drive came easy to Harrity, but she did not know where to begin when it came to formalizing the business. During an appointment at CCPL’s Small Business Information Center we discussed the process of starting a business in Cecil County.
“The brochure that the library provided on starting a business was an excellent step-by-step guide that really helped to lay the groundwork for creating an LLC. It simplified what I thought was going to be a complicated process.” Harrity credits the resources at the Cecil County Public Library as being instrumental in the early stages of her business.
“We were able to find pertinent demographic information from the library’s databases along with projections on my target population. The competitor analysis from Reference USA (another library database) also helped me to visualize where the current need for my services was not being met.” Harrity also praises the Gale Online Courses offered through the library’s website. She took a class on Healthy Aging and plans to take more in the future to stay current on both general business topics and topics specific to her industry.
Currently, Aging Life Guides provides assessment and care plans that evaluate a senior’s abilities and areas of concern as well as solutions. Harrity also assists families with home care providers, home equipment, managing medications, banking and bill paying. In addition, she can provide a transition plan when a senior is discharged from the hospital or rehab back to home. Her warm personality and experience in geriatric care a perfect combination for an entrepreneur in this industry. If you would like to contact Donna Harrity and discuss the services she can offer to your family, call 443-207-8834 or visit www.aginglifeguides.com or email her at donna@aginglifeguides.com.
Future goals for Harrity include connecting to more potential collaborators, like financial planners and eldercare lawyers. She plans to consult with the library in the future to help guide her along the way. Using the library’s free online database Reference USA, she now has a complete contact lists for all financial planners in Cecil County, so she is on her way to achieving these goals.
Another opportunity to benefit from Harrity’s eldercare knowledge involves a new collaboration with St. Mary Anne’s Church in North East. They are presenting a free, three-part series of workshops on Managing Senior Life: “Paying for Long-Term Care” on February 11 at 10am, “Staying Strong with Age” on March 11 at 10am and “Time to Give-up the Keys” on April 1 at 10am.
For more information about the free services offered by the Cecil County Public Library’s Small Business Information Center, visit www.cecil.ebranch.info/smallbusiness or call 410-996-5600 ext. 128 or email sbic@ccplnet.org. As the Small Business Librarian, I would be happy to meet with you one-on-one and assist you with your research needs in starting or running your small business.


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January 30th, 2017

The Best Way to Read to Your Child

What is one of the best things you can do for your young child? Reading out loud! It stimulates early brain development and promotes the development of language and social skills. Sounds pretty awesome, right? Does it matter if a child reads from a tablet, a laptop, a PC, a smartphone, or a regular book? Drumroll, please…it actually does not matter, as long as you provide a balance of print books and eBooks and remember to combine media use with human interaction. Reading using technology can be an enjoyable and valuable experience. Research tells us when children read eBooks, it is essential that there be adult interaction to ensure best results. Fancy, glowing touch-screens are no substitute for comforting, genuine face-to-face interactions. However, you can use the same techniques of asking your child questions about the story, counting or finding things in the pictures and modeling pronunciation whether you are reading a paper book or an eBook together. CCPL has always had an extensive collection of physical books and now a large selection of eBooks can be found on the newly designed OverDrive page on the library’s website. https://maryland.overdrive.com/library/kids

“Screen-time” has now been replaced by “media use” and is the term experts use to describe the amount of time a person looks at/uses media. The American Academy of Pediatrics’ recent findings for healthy media use does not support a one size fits all approach, but does emphasize the importance of being aware of your purpose when using media, whether for education or for entertainment. For help with making decisions about your family’s use of media, there is a new, highly recommended, easy-to-use online tool which assists parents in the creation of a media use plan for families with children ages 18 mos. – 18 yrs. This powerful tool can help families successfully monitor screen-time and develop effective uses for your family through various customizations.

While parenting in a media-centric world can be overwhelming, today’s devices are another tool for children, just like regular books, blocks, toys, and outside play. With thoughtful planning, interacting with your child using today’s latest technology can be a rewarding and educational experience for the entire family.


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