travelersASCLA members Karen Maki and Mary Beth Riedner recently accepted the 2014 Rosalinde Gilbert Innovations in Alzheimer’s Disease Caregiving Legacy Award in the Creative Expression category for the Tales and Travel Memories program currently being implemented at the Gail Borden Public Library in Elgin, IL.  The $20,000 award goes to imaginative and creative programs supporting persons with Alzheimer’s and related dementias or their caregivers.  The award was presented at the American Society on Aging Conference in Chicago, IL on March 25, 2015 at a reception hosted by the Family Caregiver Alliance National Center on Caregiving.

The Tales and Travel Memories program takes diagnosed persons on monthly imaginary excursions to locations across the globe using library resources.  Participants are invited to read aloud from a folktale or story, as well as five interesting facts, related to the destination.  They then browse through books about the location from both the adult and juvenile collections that are richly illustrated with color photographs.  Library staff and volunteers circulate among the participants engaging them in conversation about what they are seeing.  Participants move through the books at their own pace and frequently browse through several books.  The programs are often enhanced with music, songs, souvenirs and even food from the destination making the program a multi-sensory experience.

A Tales and Travel Memories Web page has been created that offers a free toolkit to libraries who are interested in replicating the program in their own communities.  ASCLA has established an Alzheimer’s and Related Dementias Interest Group (IGARD) that encourages librarians from across the country to pool their knowledge and experience to better serve this often forgotten population.  IGARD is also in the process of writing standards for library services to persons with dementia and is collecting best practices through a SurveyMonkey link.   Libraries offering programs directly to diagnosed persons as asked to self-identify using the link.