When someone has dementia or Alzheimer's it may become difficult to find ways to spend quality time with this person. Finding activities to do may be challenging, but the Ellsworth Public Library has found a way to help.
Ellsworth Public Library Director Tiffany Meyer said the library has caregiver kits available for people to check out.
"The Ellsworth Public Library has created eight caregiver kits with generous funding from [Aging and Disability Resource Center] ADRC of Pierce County," Meyer said. "The kits are designed to help caregivers working with people with memory loss."
Meyer said the ADRC had approached her to see if the library would have room for books and DVDs about caregiving. Because of limited space at the library, Meyer wasn't sure that would work. But she said she had heard at the Wisconsin Library Association Conference in the fall about how the Mount Horeb Library had made caregiver kits for people to check out. She asked the ADRC if they would be interested in that and they were willing to help fund kits.
Each of the kits, Meyer said, contains a variety of items including sensory activities, interactive books, DVDs, music, creative projects and puzzles. While each kit has similar items, they also vary because each kit has its own theme. Meyer said the themes include America, colors, dogs and puppies, flowers, fun and games, seasons, spirituality, and wild animals.
"One of the hardest things when you have experience with someone and they have dementia [is to] figure out how the relationship can continue," Meyer said. "The activities provide opportunities of self-expression, great social and emotional connections with others, engagement with life, stress relief and the ability to stir memories and provide moments of greater clarity."
Meyer said they put a lot of thought and research into what products to put in each kit.
"Many of the items in the kits were purchased from Best Alzheimer's Products' website," Meyer said.
These kits, Meyer said, have the potential to help many people.
"One struggle with dementia can be for friends and family members to figure out how to continue having meaningful interactions with a loved one who is experiencing dementia," Meyer said. "While the kits were designed with caregivers in mind, they have also been used successfully by folks going to visit a friend or family member with dementia."
Meyer said the kits are all ready and can be checked out at any time.
"The caregiver kits can be checked out from the library for three weeks at a time," Meyer said. "Because of the number of pieces in each kit, they must be picked up from and returned to the Ellsworth Public Library."
Some community members have already taken advantage of the kits. Kristina Larson of Beldenville said she and her family checked out the dog and puppy themed caregiver kit.
"We started checking out the caregiver kits for our grandparents, George and Elva Boyd, who live just outside of Ellsworth and no longer drive," Larson said. "The activities are perfect for them, and my kids love to join in on them too. We checked out the dog-themed one for our first kit and were impressed by how engaging and high-quality the materials were."