Strathmore FCSS partners with library to house dementia-friendly activity kits

Dementia-friendly Inclusiveness Kits are now available as part of Strathmore Public Library’s Special Collections Services, through a partnership with the Strathmore FCSS.

According to Melissa Masse, Community Support Coordinator at Strathmore FCSS, the organization received a grant from the Rural Development Network through the Awareness Builds Connection in Dementia-Friendly Communities project.

Strathmore is one of five rural communities in Alberta to receive the funding.

“Funded through the Public Health Agency of Canada’s Rural Development Network (RDN), the ABCD project is guided by three priorities aligned with Canada’s national dementia strategy, A Dementia Strategy for Canada – Together we aspire,” said Masse. “These three categories are: preventing dementia, reducing dementia-related stigma, and supporting communities to become more dementia-inclusive. The RDN’s ABCD project aims to provide rural communities in Alberta with a selection of evidence-based, dementia-friendly initiatives that are adaptable to rural settings.

Rural communities tend to face unique barriers when it comes to having the capacity to fund, develop, implement and evaluate community initiatives.

A key part of the ABCD project is to provide support to select rural pilot communities, such as Strathmore, in hopes of beginning to establish sustainable, dementia-friendly communities.

The Strathmore FCSS will implement three projects with this funding.

The first, being a dementia-friendly service, offers train-the-trainer sessions to frontline workers, service providers and businesses. This aims to create dementia-friendly spaces and supports throughout Wheatland County.

The second is a series of lectures to be held at Strathmore Public Library featuring speakers from local service providers to share information about dementia and related topics such as caregiving, brain health and cultural perspectives of aging.

The last is the Inclusive Activity Kits which are now available at the library for individuals and families to borrow. The versatile kits are designed for all ages and abilities and are specially designed to be dementia friendly.

“The kits have responsive puzzles, responsive board games, fidget and sensory items, items to spark memories, games to spark intergenerational conversation, and more,” Masse said. “Partnering with Strathmore Public Library was a natural fit for this project as it is a central educational and social center within our community. All resources and activity kits are available free of charge at the library, as memberships are free.

A full list of dementia-friendly activity kits can be found on the Strathmore Public Library Special Collection website. The kits will be permanently available in the library collection.

John Watson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times