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COVID-19 isolation inspires Prince George Public Library to create cognitive-development kits

United Way’s $6,000 grant assembles 12 take-home kits

COVID-19 has had an effect on everyone, including those experiencing cognitive issues and/or Alzheimer's disease.

To help mitigate the feeling of isolation, the Prince George Public Library (PGPL) recently received funding to assemble take-home boxes that aim to stimulate brain activity and encourage social connections, including their caregivers.

A total of 12 cognitive care kits have been put together thanks to a $6,000 grant from the United Way of Northern BC, and a partnership between the PGPL, Northern Health and the Alzheimer Society of BC.

“The social isolation that COVID-19 has brought about is difficult for everyone, but especially for individuals experiencing cognitive decline,” explained Ignacio Albarracin, PGPL’s Manager of Collections and Technology.

“Through our work with Northern Health and the Alzheimer Society of BC we hope to provide support and resources for those experiencing memory loss and Alzheimer’s disease, and give our patrons a chance to connect with and care for their loved ones.”

Albarracin spearheaded the project as each kit includes items that focus on brain function and development, such as games, puzzles, workbooks and informational links to daily activities online.

The PGPL says no two kits are the same as each is specifically catered for different levels of cognitive care.

April 15, 2021, is when Prince George residents with library cards can start borrowing kits for three weeks at a time.

Nine of the 12 will be kept at the PGPL Bob Harkins Branch. The other three are set to be housed at the Alzheimer Society of BC’s location in the city at 1811 Victoria St.

Additionally, cognitive care training videos have been posted to the PGPL’s YouTube page, and once in-person programming is safe to conduct, the library says it’ll offer training to caregivers on how to use the care kits.