What are Memory Kits?
The Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia, opens a new window is excited to partner with Halifax Public Libraries on the creation and lending of Memory Kits. Memory Kits include activities that people living with dementia may find engaging and that can be adapted as abilities change. The items in the Memory Kits aim to evoke memories, spark conversations, and create opportunities for meaningful engagement.
Did you know?
Dementia is not one disease, but an umbrella term for a range of symptoms that include memory loss and difficulties with thinking, problem-solving or language. There are many types of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, vascular, Lewy Body, and frontotemporal.
While most anyone can enjoy using a Memory Kit, they are designed for successful engagement with people living with dementia. Memory loss and confusion are common symptoms of most dementias – a remembered moment from the past is a gift. Photographs, music, and memorabilia from the past can evoke memories and provide a bridge for partners in care to communicate and connect.
Why are activities important?
Activities allow all of us to express ourselves through different means, fulfilling the need for cognitive, social, physical and emotional stimulation, which we also know is important for brain health. Activities provide a sense of accomplishment and a sense of being able to contribute, which is important for everyone, including people living with dementia.
As dementia progresses, a person’s ability to participate in certain activities will change. Adapting activities to their changing abilities and remaining flexible are key to helping a person living with dementia remain engaged in a variety of activities that are meaningful to them.
What to expect
The Library currently has five unique Memory Kit types featuring variations of the items below; so folks can borrow each of the five kit types for a different experience each time.
What's in a Memory Kit?
All kits include:
- 35-piece puzzle
- Activity (e.g. Sudoku)
- Word puzzle (e.g. word search, crossword)
- Matching game (e.g Number BINGO)
- Carry on Reading book
- Sing-Along DVD (classic songs)
- Wonderbook (classic songs as picture books)
- Play-away book with accompanying MP3 player (with headphones)
Resources from The Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia
- “How to Use” overview sheet
- Communication Tips for Memory
- Tips for a Healthier Brain
- Recommended Activities and Ideas (via Alzheimer Society of BC)
Using the Kits: Tips for success
Some suggestions to promote success using the Memory Kits:
- Avoid unnecessary background noise, such as the TV or radio.
- Slow down and take your time, let the person with dementia set the pace.
- If needed, break it down into smaller, more manageable steps.
- Remember that not everyone needs to be busy ALL the time. Some people like to be engaged and are looking for things to do, while some people need a chance to rest and just look out a window.
- Think about the length of time. People living with dementia can be overwhelmed by new experiences and might prefer short (5-15 minute) interactions spread out over the day.
- The more stimulating activities may be better suited to the morning or afternoon and quieter, less stimulating activities are better suited for the evening and winding down.
- Can the user focus and work on an activity alone, with no direction or very little, or do they need you there to prompt or encourage them?
Depending on what stage the person living with dementia is in or what type of dementia they have, these tips may not be necessary, however, they give you something to consider. Not everything in these kits will interest everyone. If an activity doesn’t seem to be going well, switch it up, take a break or try it again later.
Most importantly: Enjoy the moment. Focus on the process, not the outcome. The goal of exploring these Memory Kits is to enjoy the activity and connect.
How to borrow and return Memory Kits
Please return the complete Memory Kit to a Library Info Desk. Please do not return the kits through a book drop.
For more information about meaningful activities or suggestions, connect with the Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia by phone at 1-800-611-6345 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.