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St. Louis County residents and County library card-holders over 75 years old can apply now, from June 22 through July 13, and potentially receive a GrandPad tablet for one year as part of the Federal CARES Act.

"Because this will entertain you and keep you from being sad and lonely," a GrandPad user said. "They set it up so beautifully. It's so easy for people like me, illiterate regarding gadgets." 

St. Louis County Executive Dr. Sam Page and The Digital Equity Initiative made the program possible. Eligible seniors must have a St. Louis County Library card and be a resident of St. Louis County.

"During this pandemic, GrandPads have been a lifeline for not just the seniors but also their families," said Councilwoman Lisa Clancy. "I'm grateful we can keep the program going."

The devices come preloaded with software, including a built-in 4G LTE service allowing access to email, phone calls, and video calls, take, send and receive photos, and more.

Page said his goal was designating $4 million in federal CARES Act to vulnerable, affected communities and providing funding to the St. Louis County Library to establish the Initiative to help the youth maintain a productive education, virtually.  This includes providing Chromebooks, WiFi hotspots, and virtual tutoring services to students and school districts in St. Louis County.

SLCL launched the GrandPad program in March 2021. The initial 1,500 GrandPad tablets were purchased using federal CARES Act Funds. In March 2022, St. Louis County allocated $2 million in American Rescue Plan Act funding to extend the popular GrandPad tablet program, with $1 million dedicated to paying for another year of the 1,500 GrandPads currently being used.

"The GrandPads have proven to be a valuable connection to resources for our older residents," said County Executive Dr. Sam Page. "I appreciate the Council allocating these funds so that we can expand this popular program."

GrandPads are user-friendly and designed for people with little or no technology experience. A built-in data connection is included free with every GrandPad, giving users secure and constant internet access. No home internet connection is required, no data contracts are required, and no additional fees are involved.

Another service offered is the ability to conduct multi-party video care conferences between family members and a patient's caregivers. 

"We are so grateful to the County Council for supporting older adults in the region and expanding access to those that need it," Kristen Sorth, St. Louis County Library Director & CEO, said. "I received a handwritten note from a patron that said she equates her GrandPad with 'winning the lottery.' She wrote, 'It has changed my life for the better!'"

The St. Louis County users logged more than 280,000 hours of use on the tablets and made more than 4,800 zoom calls. Customer service is available 24/7.

Worldwide, GrandPad said the tablets are now used by more than 1.4 million people in more than 120 countries. 

The Library said it continues to receive many touching testimonials. One user said, "I wanted to say thank you; you saved my life."

Applications are available atwww.slcl.org/grandpad and must be submitted by 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, July 13.

GrandPad is a digital health company that develops engagement solutions to improve the health and well-being of older adults.

To learn more, visit GrandPad.net or connect with them on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter @grandpad_social.

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