More than five million Americans have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease and other dementias, a number that is rapidly climbing as Baby Boomers age.
Public, academic and medical libraries can and should play an important role in enriching the lives of this too-often forgotten population.
Tales & Travel Memories is an innovative book and reading library program that provides services directly to people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease and related dementias, not just their caregivers. Each one-hour program takes participants on an imaginary trip to another country or region of the United States using library materials such as adult and children’s books, music, and realia.
It has received a positive reception from residents at assisted living facilities and nursing homes with dementia units, demonstrating a real need to serve this special population. A recent study conducted by Dr. Susan Wesner, Judson University, and funded by a Federal grant (“This project has been funded in whole or in part with Federal funds from the Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Library of Medicine, under Contract No. HHSN-276-2011-00005C with the University of Illinois at Chicago.”) proved that Tales and Travel Memories is an effective program. According to Wesner, caregivers and volunteers observe increased social interaction, increased cognitive interaction, and various types of cognitive engagement, including verbalization, memory recall, reading ability, and emotional engagement. Caregivers also report improved relationships with their loved ones as a result of the program.
Designed by retired academic librarian Mary Beth Riedner, whose husband suffered from young onset dementia, and Gail Borden Public Library District staff and volunteers, the program series is offered to diagnosed residents at senior care facilities.
Tales and Travel was developed in compliance with the International Federation of Library Services (IFLA) Guidelines for Library Services to Persons with Dementia. Learn More Here.