Reminiscing with loved ones is a time-honoured way to connect. For people living with dementia, and their caregivers, reminiscing takes on an even more critical role. Looking at something that sparks a conversation or reflection provides the potential for remembered moments from the past, and a meaningful way to communicate and share.
Kingston Frontenac Public Library and the Alzheimer Society Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington recognize the power of reminiscing, and are putting it in the hands of community members. KFPL’s new Reminiscing Kits, funded through a 2021 Community Investment Fund Grant from the United Way and the City of Kingston, will connect caregivers with quality, curated resources to help them engage in activities with loved ones who are experiencing varying levels of dementia.
“The Alzheimer Society of KFLA is excited to collaborate with the KFPL on the Reminiscing Kit Project,” shared Vicki Poffley, Executive Director of the Alzheimer Society KFLA. “Being able to provide families with access to specially curated kits that allow them to continue to keep their minds active while creating memories is an important part of the dementia journey. We are grateful to the United Way and the City of Kingston for providing seed funding to launch the program.”
For Kimberly Sutherland-Mills, KFPL’s Director of Service Design & Delivery, this is a program that holds deep meaning.
"This project has a special place in my heart,” she said. “Having watched my father, and three of my grandparents, gradually lose their memories and capability due to dementia I know how deeply this impacts both those who have the disease and their caregivers. These kits will support caregivers in providing stimulating activities for those they love!"
There are 50 kits, filled with curated materials and activities including a how-to resource guide for caregivers. Working with the Alzheimer Society, KFPL used the latest information to guide our selection of materials and activities, providing both caregivers and their loved ones a means of entertainment, problem-solving, and engagement with their community and each other.
Caregivers can use these materials to engage their loved one in cognitively stimulating activities on a regular basis throughout the eight-week loan period. Supported activities will increase caregiver confidence, strengthen the relationship between caregiver and loved one, and reduce conflict and other challenging behaviour arising due to dementia symptoms. The kits will also support other family and friends to engage in meaningful ways with the person with dementia, providing much needed respite for the primary caregiver. For more information, visit www.kfpl.ca or call your local branch.