Memory kits help caregivers connect to loved ones with memory loss

In Poplar Bluff, there is a program that aims to help families with the frustrations of Dementia and Alzheimer's
Published: May. 19, 2023 at 4:46 PM CDT|Updated: May. 19, 2023 at 6:14 PM CDT
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POPLAR BLUFF, Mo. (KFVS) - Many families know the frustrations of dementia and Alzheimer’s. Communication and even interacting with an ill loved one can be difficult.

In Poplar Bluff, there is a program that aims to help, and it is as close as the local library.

Inside Poplar Bluff Municipal Library, Tony Miller has been developing these memory kits for a year.

”I looked into it and I said, ‘well, that would be a really good service for us to have,’” Miller said.

”It really has, for Tony, been a labor of love to get this where it is today,” the library’s assistant director, Belinda Birrer, said.

A passion project that Miller hopes can make a difference.

”Basically, it’s centered on helping a caregiver and someone with dementia or memory loss reconnect,” Miller said.

The library now has five memory kits. Each one includes a book for the caregiver, picture books, puzzles and movies. Each one has a different theme, some center around specific time periods.

”For people who grew up in the ‘50s, something from the ‘50s they might be able to remember,” Miller said.

Others focus on specific interests. One centered around farming included a farming film and a tractor book.

Birrer said the picture books keep caregivers and loved ones on the same page.

”You and I both are seeing the same thing so we know we’re both talking about the same thing,” Birrer said.

The puzzles can keep loved ones active and engaged.

“Puzzles are a great way if you’re bringing a child to visit, that a child can interact with that person,” Birrer said.

”Anything I think that can help someone reconnect with a loved one is important,” Miller said.

”We sat here with this book, we sat here with this puzzle, we have this memory that we can keep of a good moment in the midst of what can be a really emotionally damaging and difficult disease to deal with,” Birrer said.

Poplar Bluff Library currently has five kits that you can check out for up to 6 weeks. You can check with your local library to see if they have any of these kits available.