examples from the field
Excitement. Energy. Engagement
The Maine Mineral and Gem Museum partnered with the age-friendly team in the Bethel area to develop museum-themed and historical memory kits.
Age-Friendly Community Initiative, Bethel Region - The Maine Mineral and Gem museum took the lead on this age-friendly project. In collaboration with Age-Friendly Community Initiative, the Bethel Library Association, the Bethel Historical Society and the Bethel United Methodist Church, this pilot project is a true community collaboration! Initially two memory/activity kits at two levels of complexity containing museum and historical themed activities intended to educate, engage and to spark memories and conversation were created. Included will be a notebook that will stay with the kit to share a memory or comments. These kits will be on loan at the Bethel Library and will be adjusted as needed.
The team in Bucksport developed kits for care partners as well as for people with dementia. In a recent update, Vanessa shared that the care partner kits are very popular.
Age and Ability-Friendly Bucksport - Bucksport Bay Healthy Communities Coalition and the Age and Ability-Friendly Committee collaborated with the Buck Memorial Library to create 6 dementia inclusive kits - three Memory kits and three Caregiver kits. Their local supermarket and a former gift store owner also contributed donated items so that anyone borrowing a kit receives some “treats” that will be replenished when the kits are returned. The Bucksport Community Center has been an integral part of sharing news and information about the resources that are available and will hold a community information session in November to keep awareness high. Vanessa Newman, Age and Ability Friendly Bucksport Chair, reports, “The one-on-one conversations we have had with individuals at the Bay Festival and with those checking out the kits have shed light on how prevalent concerns about memory loss are among all ages.”
What we love about this approach: The many community partners involved that helped expand the project, the thought given to care partners as well as those living with a cognitive impairment, and the on-going programming which will continue increasing awareness in Bucksport!
Anna Stolt, Age-Friendly Chelsea's Summer Intern, reading Sometimes Even Elephants Forget to children at the Chelsea Elementary School Library.
Age-Friendly Chelsea - Among other projects, Age-Friendly Chelsea built on the success of their intergenerational reading program, The Reading Connection, to launch a conversation about dementia with children in the community. After listening to the story, Sometimes Even Elephants Forget, the children were asked who had grandparents that sometimes-forgot things? Almost every hand went up. They were then asked what they learned from the story. One child said, “it was okay to forget things.”
In Cumberland and North Yarmouth, memory kits are available through the Prince Memorial Library in Cumberland. They were organized by Cumberland Active 55+ and Living Well in North Yarmouth in partnership with the library.
Active Living 55+ Cumberland and Living Well in North Yarmouth -
New signage at a pavilion in downtown Danforth will spark conversation about the town's past.
Danforth Livable Communities - Danforth Livable Community's dementia inclusion project was an addition to one of the committee's previous projects - the construction of an open-air pavilion. Historically, the site of the new pavilion housed several businesses frequented by Danforth's older generation. Over the years, the properties deteriorated and were torn down, leaving a blank space. The deterioration of the area was upsetting to many and often disorienting for those living with memory related changes. The new signage can be easily read by people with vision loss, including people living with dementia. An added bonus is that the signs will spark conversation and memories while people enjoy a familiar outdoor, community setting!
To mark the end of the raised bed garden season, Age-Friendly Dover Foxcroft, with the help of the Small Space Gardening group, will host a gratitude event at the garden, followed by an Italian-themed dinner open to the community.
Age-Friendly Dover-Foxcroft - Age-Friendly Dover-Foxcroft created a community garden with several raised garden beds planted with a combination of plants and vegetables, rain barrels, wind chimes, in an easily accessible area. The energy and donations for this project allowed them to create a garden to delight all the senses and help those living with cognitive changes to recreate memories or create new ones. The property is owned by the town and the age-friendly team had donations of lumber, soil, seeds, wind chimes and more! Tami Cox, Age-Friendly Dover Foxcroft Chair said, “We have had some successes where we have had people using the produce grown in the garden. It was perfect for accessibility for future programming and our senior luncheons”.
Age-Friendly Eliot is looking forward to hosting another community conversation at Eliot Festival Day. The team will bring games and activities for people to try. Their goal is for residents living with dementia to have social opportunties to function at their highest level while finding joy, purpose, and meaning.
Age-Friendly Eliot - Among other projects, two trained Age-Friendly Eliot volunteers provided an hour-long in-service program based on the First Responders and Care Partners GWEP-REACH video. It highlighted the basics of dementia, communication tips, supportive interventions, and critical thinking strategies. In the discussion that followed, the eight officers who participated shared their stories of residents here who are living with dementia; how they connected them and their families to resources; and how they continue to keep an eye on them. These officers recognize the increased prevalence of dementia and the value of focusing on this specific population. They expressed great concern for care partners and shared examples of care partners’ stress. During the training, Age-Friendly Eliot learned that the town has a police social worker who is shared with the towns of Kittery and York and funded by York Community Action Corporation. He just happens to have experience in working with people living with dementia!
Dr. Susan Wehry presented to a standing room only crowd at the Cumston Library in Monmouth.
Age-Friendly Monmouth, Age-Friendly Readfield, Age-Friendly Greene
Age-Friendly Portland garden volunteers planting and preparing the beds.
Age-Friendly Portland - Age-Friendly Portland created two large raised garden bed gardens at a dementia-specific adult day center in the City. Staff, older volunteers, and program attendees worked together to lovingly tend the gardens - from planting seeds to harvesting the vegetable and flowers. Gardening is a very tactile and immersive activity that can be enjoyed by everyone, regardless of memory impairment or other cognitive challenges. Age-Friendly Portland was pleasantly surprised to discover some new green thumbs happy to volunteer to maintain the gardens!
Age-Friendly Richmond hosted a game night for anyone interested in field testing the dementia inclusive games and activity kits.
Age-Friendly Richmond - The Richmond Area Senior Center is at the heart of Age-Friendly Richmond. Understanding that games are the primary way residents socialize, the age-friendly group purchased several dementia friendly interactive games for the Center. Additionally, an interactive activity backpack was donated to Umberhine Library for folks to check out at their own pace. As the quest for more information grew, the Senior Center held a "Lunch & Learn" with guest speaker, Carol Norris from the Alzheimer's Association. Laurie Saunders, Age-Friendly Richmond Chair said, “Turnout was fabulous with many different folks from throughout the Community in attendance. Lots of questions and great information was exchanged. This program opened up a new dialog within our community.”
Age-Friendly Sullivan emphasized public awareness--through articles in the Town Crier, Town Website, and Facebook page.
Age-Friendly Sullivan - Frenchman's Bay Library and Age-Friendly Sullivan have been long-term partners (since AFS inception). It was a natural collaboration to inform the community about availabe resources, books, videos, and educational opportunities by creating a Dementia Inclusion kiosk at the Library. The kiosk includes 23 books, numerous pamphlets, activity boxes (jigsaw puzzles, match games, I-Spy game, building blocks, activity books, etc).
An assortment of resources for people living with dementia, family, and friends is readily available at the Julie Adams Morse Memorial Library in Greene.
Living Well in Madison developed activity and memory kits that include seasonal word searches that are easy to read.
Age-Friendly Scarborough included fidget quilts among the resource available to borrow.