The new kits are being used to tailor at-home respite sessions for clients across Perth living with dementia.
The kits contain a selection of games and activities that have been chosen specifically for people living with dementia, including a variety of reminiscence games, musical therapy and other cognitive stimulation activities.
MercyCare Support Advisor Jacquie Maddaford came up with the idea after receiving feedback from her team of Support Workers looking for additional tools to engage effectively with their dementia clients.
Mrs Maddaford, a Dementia Change Champion for Alzheimer’s WA, was supported by MercyCare to develop the kits; which have been funded by a Commonwealth Home Support Programme Innovation Grant.
“After months of research and lots of coordination to get the kits ready, it’s really rewarding to hear the positive feedback coming through from our Support Workers and clients’ families,” Mrs Maddaford said.
“We have many clients living with dementia or some form of cognitive decline. By introducing these kits, we’re able to make these sessions more enjoyable and engaging for our clients, while supporting their cognitive function at the same time,” Jacquie said.
MercyCare Community and Home Support client, 66-year-old Jenny Jenkins, was diagnosed with early onset dementia in late 2017. She lives at home in Floreat with her husband Mark and has two daughters aged in their twenties.
Jenny is now almost completely non-verbal. Her Support Worker Pinky Zaveri uses the Memory Kit during her visits with Jenny to make their three-hour weekly respite sessions engaging and enjoyable.
A former avid traveller, Jenny particularly likes looking through the nature scene picture book within her kit. She also enjoys when Ms Zaveri uses the Bluetooth speaker to play music by her favourite artist Andrea Bocelli, which she likes to quietly sing along to. Some weeks, Jenny enjoys doing the colouring sheets or threading the shoelace picture boards.
“It’s wonderful to hear how Jenny is responding to her Memory Kit as this tells us her memory is being engaged effectively through these activities,” Ms Maddaford said.
There are 35 kits in total; four of which are designed for clients living with advanced dementia.
Pictured: MercyCare Community and Home Support client Jenny Jenkins and Support Worker Pinky Zaveri using a Memory Kit during their weekly respite session.