Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia that result in memory loss impact many people in our community. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, over six million Americans are currently living with Alzheimer’s, and more than 11 million Americans provide unpaid care for people living with dementia.
In June, all Heights Libraries branches will begin circulating Memory Kits to support community members living with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia and their caregivers.
Library staff developed the kits after attending a Dementia Friends training in the fall of 2020 hosted by the Benjamin Rose Institute, which described ways people and spaces can be more welcoming to people living with dementia.
“The Library is always trying to find ways to assist various groups in our community,” said Adult Services Librarian Amia Wheatley. “After this training, we formed a task force to create these memory kits and programming for those living with dementia and their caregivers to use to help start conversations.”
Memory Kits are interactive bundles of library materials, containing books, music, movies, and activities that center around a theme or a decade. The materials in the kits are designed to be used by both those living with dementia and their caregivers to trigger fond memories and help them connect over fun and relaxing activities.
“I hope that the users of these kits will find enjoyment in using them,” Wheatley said. “and that they will help stir up memories through the music, movies, and activities we’ve selected.”
Library staff also partnered with Amy Jenkins, supervisor of the Cleveland Heights Office on Aging, to develop the kits.
“With this partnership, driven by an initiative called Dementia Friendly Cleveland Heights, our office hopes to expand our programming to include Cleveland Heights seniors with dementia and their caregivers,” Jenkins said. “Our vision would be to someday be able to host a support group at the Center.
The Library will be donating a set of six Memory Kits to the city’s Senior Center.
“The kits that the library has compiled should serve as a wonderful vehicle for discussion, participation, stimulation, and fun! We look forward to sharing them with the community,” said Jenkins.
This summer, Heights Libraries will also be hosting a series of programs to help educate people in the community about Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. The Cleveland Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association will present on topics ranging from “Understanding Alzheimer’s and Dementia” on June 7 to “Effective Communication Strategies” on July 26. All programs will be hosted on Zoom at 7 p.m.
For more information, visit our memory kits page.