Dare County Library announces new memory kit program for individuals with Dementia – OBX Today

Dare County Library announces new memory kit program for individuals with Dementia - OBX Today

The Dare County Library has announced that memory kits for individuals with dementia are now available at all three Dare County Library branches—the Kill Devil Hills Library, Manteo Library and Hatteras Library—thanks to a partnership with the Outer Banks Dementia Friendly Coalition.

In the fall of 2023, Hatteras Library Branch Manager Michelle Lord launched a monthly crafting session focusing on those in the community with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, as well as their caregivers and family members. Although Lord was familiar with the topic, she called on Dianne Denny and Jan Collins of the Outer Banks Dementia Friendly Coalition for assistance and additional information. Together, they developed ideas for future programs that addressed the needs of attendees through visual and tactile activities.

Inspired by these programs, Dare County Librarian Meaghan Leenaarts Beasley asked Denny and Collins to provide training for staff at all three Dare County Library branches. The training sessions, which took place over December 2023 and January 2024, taught staff how to assist patrons with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease and how to help their caregivers locate useful library resources. As a result, all three Dare County Library locations now sport the Outer Banks Dementia Friendly Coalition’s signature purple seahorse sticker on their doors, letting the public know that they are “dementia-friendly” certified establishments.

Image of the Kill Devil Hills Library staff after undergoing the Outer Banks Dementia Friendly Coalition training.
Image of the Kill Devil Hills Library staff after undergoing the Outer Banks Dementia Friendly Coalition training.
Image of the Manteo Library staff after undergoing the Outer Banks Dementia Friendly Coalition training.
Image of the Manteo Library staff after undergoing the Outer Banks Dementia Friendly Coalition training.

Building on that momentum—and in recognition of the Outer Banks’ aging population—the Outer Banks Dementia Friendly Coalition and Dare County Library have partnered to offer MEternally® memory kits for checkout. These kits come in a clear plastic, easy-to-handle backpack full of photo cards, games and interactive activities that are designed to spark memories and encourage conversations between family members and caregivers across generations in the relaxed setting of home. The memory kits are free to check out with a Dare County Library card and come in four different themes: winter, spring, summer and fall.

Four photos of the items contained in the seasonal memory kit backpacks.
Image of the seasonal items provided to patrons in a memory kit backpack.

Each memory kit contains an inventory list, a set of laminated cards with games and puzzles at different skill levels, a package of dry erase markers, a pack of photo cards and an accompanying DVD to stimulate memories, as well as a fun “I Spy” cylinder game. The cards included with each activity recommend conversation starters and memory triggers to help users make the most of all of the materials within the kit. Each memory kit can be checked out for up to three weeks.

For more information about the Dare County Library’s new memory kits, visit www.DareNC.gov/Library and click on the “Library of Things” tab, or click the button below. To reserve a memory kit and arrange for pickup at any Dare County Library location or delivery via the library’s Home Visit program, please call the Kill Devil Hills Library at 252-441-4331.