Spotlight on Sharing: Libraries Support Memory Care

Libraries are a reflection of the communities they serve, and communities across the United States are experiencing a steep increase in people with Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia. Currently, 5.4 million people have Alzheimer’s, with 5.2 million of them over the age of 65. By 2050 that total is expected to climb to at least 13.8 million, and potentially as high as 16 million. (Source: Alzheimer’s Association Fact and Figures 2016)

Libraries have started developing programs and partnerships to support these important members of their communities. Here are some some of the ways that Colorado libraries are supporting memory care for people with dementia as well as their caregivers.

Alzheimer’s clinic: 10 Alzheimer’s Warning Signs

  • Jefferson County Public Library
  • Monday June 13, 2016, 10:30 am
  • This is a phone meeting
  • Jefferson County Public Library will host a program on the phone with the Alzheimer’s Association on June 13th at 10:30 a.m. “10 Alzheimer’s Warning Signs” informs audiences about facts related to memory loss or behavior changes. Early detection of Alzheimer’s disease gives people a chance to begin drug therapy, enroll in clinical studies and plan for the future. Join us and let’s talk about it with the Alzheimer’s Association. The phone program allows this informative session to be shared with people without traveling outside their home. Participants are encouraged to take part in the discussion and have their questions answered. Please share this with your residents or clients.
  • How to join: Call 303-275-6173 to preregister and JCPL will call at the time of the program. Or, dial-in for the program at 303-502-5189.

Stories from Memory Lane

  • Aurora Public Library
  • Link to the website
  • Schedule a 45-minute reading from a book, anything from Little Women to Pride & Prejudice and poetry. As eyesight fails, many seniors miss reading, and we’d like to provide an opportunity for them to revisit their favorite tales.

Active Minds

Active Minds is an organization that delivers on-site, customized educational programming primarily for seniors. Their Front Range library partners include:

  • Anythink Libraries
  • Arapahoe Library District
  • Aurora Public Library
  • Bemis Library
  • Denver Public Library
  • Douglas County Libraries
  • Englewood Public Library
  • Jefferson County Public Library
  • Lafayette Public Library
  • Louisville Public Library

Dementia-Friendly Communities of Northern Colorado

  • Staff at the Old Town Library in Poudre River Public Library District went through dementia training to become the first dementia-friendly library in Northern Colorado.
  • Read the article.

Outreach Services to the Homebound

Many libraries have outreach services to senior care facilities and the homebound. Here are some libraries that offer these types of services:

Colorado Talking Book Library

  • CTBL offers large print, braille, and audiobooks to people who cannot read standard print. It also supports patrons with specialized programming, including the year-long program “Leaving on my own Terms”, which explores living, dying, grief, and legacy.
  • Get to know Colorado Talking Book Library at their next open house on Tuesday, July 12, 2016, from 10 am until 1 pm.
  • Visit the Colorado Talking Book Website.


  • Arapahoe Libraries
  • “Some residents with memory problems no longer enjoy reading; the Timeslips program engages residents with a photo which may trigger memories. It is all about being in the moment; there is no wrong answer! The residents responses are captured and this becomes a mini poem.”
  • Thanks to Cynthia Kiyotake for sharing this program via the Spotlight on Sharing form!

Brain Training Exercises

  • Park County Public Library
  • Pat Sohmer shared that Park County Public Library offers an array of online brain training exercises to improve literacy and cognitive skills across generations and settings! They currently offer Fast ForWord, Reading Assistant, and BrainHQ. Thanks for sharing, Pat!

Memory Cafe

  • Denver Public Library
  • Amy DelPo shared that DPL “hosts a Memory Cafe twice a month for people experiencing memory loss, along with their families and caregivers. The idea behind the Memory Cafe is to alleviate the isolation that this population experiences. The cafe is fun and fosters connection and community. People can come and just be themselves without fear of stigma or embarrassment. It also provides much needed respite for caregivers. As far as we know, this is the only Memory Cafe at a public library in the state of Colorado. Librarians from other systems have come to observe with the idea of starting a Memory Cafe themselves.” Sounds like an amazing program, Amy!
  • The next Memory Cafe is Tuesday, June 14, 2016 – 1:30pm3:00pm at the Schlessman Family Branch Library.
  • See upcoming Memory Cafe events

Many thanks to Tara Bannon from Denver Public Library for sharing these upcoming events at the Park Hill Branch Library:

A Deeper Perspective on Alzheimer’s and other Dementias: Practical Tools with Spiritual Insights with Author Megan Carnarius

  • Park Hill Library (DPL)
  • Wednesday, June 29, 6:30 p.m.
  • Author Megan Carnarius, with a rich professional background in caring, will discuss the different stages of dementia and highlight many practical aspects, suggesting accessible tools for caregivers, family and professionals. She will also address the more subtle, spiritual dimensions of this illness with compassion and understanding, offering new insights into hitherto little explored areas.
  • Event website

This Is Your Brain on Dance

  • Park Hill Library (DPL)
  • Thursday, July 28, 4 p.m.
  • Learn about the hidden cognitive health benefits of dance, movement and the importance of the mind-body connection. Discover how your brain is activated when you move and even try out a few “moves” yourself at this fun and interactive program taught by the Alzheimer’s Association and local dance artist, Lisza Gulyas.
  • Event website

The Basics: Memory Loss, Dementia and Alzheimer’s

  • Park Hill Library (DPL)
  • Tuesday, September 27, 4 p.m.
  • Karen Moravek, MSW, Community Education Coordinator, Alzheimer’s Association of Colorado will provide an introduction to memory loss, dementia and Alzheimer’s.

This article is part of the Spotlight on Sharing initiative, which aims to increase the visibility of resource sharing in Colorado libraries. How is YOUR library supporting memory care in your community? Let us know by filling out this super short form. If you’re on Twitter, tweet @hitchlib or use the hashtag #spotlightonsharing.

Amy Hitchner
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