‘Helping others is a great feeling’: Perth library, local couple team up to offer nostalgia-inspired memory kits

Ray and Elaine Hook have offered the Perth and District Union Public Library “Memory Kits” that are available for check-out. Ray is pictured with the kits that are designed to stimulate memories in people who may have trouble making those connections. – Photo submitted by Perth library

Who can resist indulging in nostalgia about the good old days?

For those facing challenges in recollection and forming connections, a Perth couple has devised a method to promote these cherished memories.

Ray and Elaine Hook have offered memory kits for borrowing from the library, and the initiative has been well received at The Perth & District Union Public Library where the kits are available to borrow.

The Hooks have offered these kits specifically created to enhance brain activity in individuals facing cognitive decline, encompassing issues such as memory loss and various forms of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease.

“My last job after leaving the military some 14 years ago was a most satisfying job of running a women’s shelter in Alberta,” Ray Hook said. “The feeling of being able to help those less fortunate than us left a strong impression on me. After moving to Perth a few years ago, Elaine and I decided to try and help the local library, as we believed in their mission and their programs – all designed to help people in so many ways.”

These kits are for anyone who would like to reminisce; they encourage social connection, exercise the mind and help the user retain skills.

Erika Heesen, CEO/chief librarian, said, “We’re very grateful to Ray and Elaine for their support of this initiative.”

The library has five kits, designed with a theme: remembering gardens, music, the 1940s, the 1950s and the 1960s.

Each kit has something to read, to watch, to listen to, to create and games to play. They also include brochures and information sheets from the Alzheimer Society of Lanark Leeds Grenville. Hook said this initiative appealed to them right away, as they were helping people who needed it.

“Then to see the results of the kits – we are thrilled to have been a part of it,” he said.

On Friday, Feb. 2, Hook said he’d been into the library to inquire about usage of the kits.

“They tell me that two of the three kits are out again,” he said. “It looks like it is becoming popular as the word spreads … it just started a couple of weeks ago. We were thrilled to be able to get it up and running – helping others is a great feeling.”

To learn more about the services offered by the library, please visit the library’s website or call 613-267-1224.

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