Anne Arundel County Public Library is celebrating Older American’s Month this May with the launch of our Dementia Friendly Libraries initiative. Staff in all our 16 branches have attended training on how customers with dementia see the world and how to best understand their challenges.
Provided by the Anne Arundel County Department of Aging and Disabilities, the Dementia Live® training equipped our staff with the tools to identify a customer who may have dementia and better assist those customers and their caregivers. Examples of changes in service that can aid customers dealing with dementia include:
- offering printed maps of the building and instructions in writing
- speaking slowly
- repeating a question or instruction
These small efforts can make customers with dementia feel more comfortable and lessen their anxiety when they are in unfamiliar surroundings. Many community members with dementia have greatly suffered due to the isolation caused by the pandemic. We are excited to welcome these customers back into our buildings and we are ready to help them with a focus on their particular needs and challenges.
Libraries are welcoming spaces for everyone, and now they are even more welcoming to customers with dementia and their caregivers. We are pleased to share two opportunities for library customers to participate in the Dementia Live® experience virtually! Dementia Live® offers a unique inside-out understanding of dementia and aging. Family caregivers and interested community members will gain a heightened awareness of the challenges faced by those who live with dementia. Participants will also learn new communication skills to improve care and minimize disruptive behaviors, thus reducing caregiver stress.
Library staff have also developed a curated booklist of titles called Living with Dementia: For Patients and Caregivers.