A “global emergency.” That’s what The Economist calls the increase in dementia patients. So when meternally.com, a company specializing in reminiscence therapy and memory kits for patients with dementia and Alzheimer’s, reached out to Pinellas County libraries to see if any wanted to use their memory kits, Betcinda Kettells said yes.
“What we’re trying to do is to help caregivers of Alzheimer’s and dementia patients, engage with their patients and give them something fun to talk about,” Kettells, the St. Pete Beach Library director, said. “We all know that dementia patients remember things from a long time ago, where they might not remember something from yesterday, and so this is about reminiscence therapy.”
Two kinds of memory kits sit on the shelf: favorite things and busy bottles. The favorite things kits include DVDs, activity cards, and photo cards (outdoors, animals, or autumn themed); these help caregivers tell stories to evoke memories of their loved one’s youth or past.
Colored rice and themed plastic figurines fill the cylindrical winter-, autumn-, spring-, and summer-themed busy bottles. For example, the spring bottle has plastic hearts, rainbows, umbrellas, butterflies, and leprechauns submerged in pink and red rice. The user will move, shake, flip, and look around the bottle to find each individual item. Kettells told The Gabber this kind of activity will keep users engaged and entertained.
“I thought this would be a great thing to have, especially in our community where we skew a little to the older demographic,” Kettells said, noting library patrons checked out books on Alzheimer’s and dementia in the past, and events based on caregiving for those with such diseases had great attendance rates.
Anyone with a library card can check out a kit for a 14-day period.