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FINDING HOPE: Meridian Library increases memory care resources in Treasure Valley

Posted: 7:21 PM, Sep 15, 2019
Updated: 2019-09-17 00:16:35-04

MERIDIAN, Idaho — The Meridian Public Library is increasing efforts to help Treasure Valley families dealing with memory loss.

Among the rows of fiction and fairy tales, are take-home memory care kits and monthly Memory Cafe meetings. The district is also in the process of installing a walking story trail at Kleiner Park.

The library off Cherry Lane in Meridian started offering the memory care kits in June and immediately saw public interest. It's not uncommon for all six kits to be checked out at the same time, so they're currently in the process of adding five more to the rotation.

Each kit has a theme, from "American road trips" and "travel by train", to "farm animals" and "bird watching".

"Nostalgia is really important in that memory care piece of things," Meridian Library District program manager Megan Egbert said. "Trying to find things that they do remember, and experiences that they can share with their care provider, too."

The kits include picture books, puzzles, reading materials and a book specifically for caregivers, "just with some tips and tricks for how to provide the best care they can," Egbert said.

The kits are available to check out for two weeks at a time, like a regular library book, or you can even have it delivered straight to your home.

"In 2018, we visited more than 415 people in the community who couldn't make it in to the library," Egbert said. "Many of those might be memory care patients as well, whether they're in an assisted-living facility or at home; so we will actually bring kits to them if they request them."

The Eagle and Meridian locations also offer monthly Memory Cafe group meetings for people living with Alzheimers or Dementia and their caregivers, developing new relationships among people in similar situations.

"Sharing in struggles and successes, and also sharing in some loss," Egbert explained.

Their next mission will go beyond library walls with a walking story trail at Kleiner Park called Memory Lane.

"So a story trail is typically thought of as being for children. It's where you take the pages of a picture book and you spread them out to encourage walking, like throughout a park," Egbert explained. "So you stop and read some pages, walk a little bit, stop and read some more pages, but we thought, 'what a unique opportunity knowing that Kleiner Park has our Senior Center right there, what if we did a story trail for senior citizens that focused on picture books from their childhood?'"

The design is in the works and expected to be on display this fall.

"I think it will still be a draw for children, too, but we hope there will be those inter-generational connections where grandparents can share this with their grandchildren."

They're taking suggestions on what stories to include in the project, planning to swap stories out every three months.

If you want to check on availability of memory care kits or make a suggestion for the story trail, you can call the library at (208) 888-4451 or email megan@mld.org.