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More than a memory

Two clicks. That’s all it takes. And if the Kokomo-Howard County Public Library can get enough people to do it, the library could win up to $100,000 for the community.

KHCPL has entered USA Today Network’s A Community Thrives contest. With the help of KHCPL staff, volunteers, Small Giant Designs, and Z92.5’s Jessica Green, KHCPL created a video illustrating its More than a Memory project. It will help those with Alzheimer’s/dementia and their caregivers – but not just in Kokomo. KHCPL will make More than a Memory available nationwide.

Alzheimer’s is the 6th leading cause of death, and it’s the only disease among the top 10 causes of death that cannot be prevented, cured, or even slowed. “If you know anyone with it, as I do, it’s devastating. It’s literally hell on earth,” said Lisa Fipps, Director of Marketing and Community Engagement for KHCPL. “And it shows no sign of stopping.”

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, every 66 seconds someone in the United States develops Alzheimer’s. In 33 years, it will be 1 every 33 seconds.

“Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s takes a huge toll on caregivers,” Fipps said, noting that in 2015, 15 million caregivers spent 18.1 billion hours, valued at $221.3 billion, providing free care to loved ones. “That’s why KHCPL is creating More than a Memory, a multi-layered program to lead our community in providing caregivers, those newly diagnosed, and businesses the information and resources they need to face this epidemic with knowledge and compassion.”

With More than a Memory, the library will regularly host a Memory Café, where caregivers and those with dementia can gather for conversation, games, or entertainment because it’s crucial caregivers and those with dementia know they’re not alone and have a place to socialize in a judgement-free environment.

KHCPL will also train interviewers to talk to those with Alzheimer’s and record their life stories before their memories are lost forever and then preserve those stories in our permanent, searchable genealogy and local history collection.

The library will use More than a Memory to accomplish other goals as well:

  • train library staff how to recognize and assist caregivers and those with memory issues so they can then train others in the community, earning businesses and organizations a dementia-friendly designation;
  • create stickers caregivers can place on doors and windows in their homes and in vehicles to alert first-responders that there is a dementia patient inside;
  • and provide Resource Kits filled with books and products that lessen agitation that caregivers and those with dementia can check out to try before you buy.

That’s not all. KHCPL will package the More than a Memory program and share it freely with libraries nationwide so that communities, Alzheimer’s/dementia patients, and caregivers across America will benefit, not just Kokomo and Howard County.

“That’s the point of the USA Today Network’s purpose for A Community Thrives,” Fipps said. “It empowers community members to take on local challenges and share these ideas on a national platform.”

“Here’s the key point: Only the top 10 vote-getters in the three categories will get the judges’ attention and consideration for up to $100,000 in grant funding,” Fipps said. The three categories are Wellness, Arts & Culture, and Education. “More than a Memory is entered in the Wellness category, which includes ideas that support mental health, elder care, and other avenues that help to improve physical and emotional well-being.

“It’s crucial that as many people in the community go to the website and vote daily for KHCPL’s More than a Memory and then share the link daily with everyone they know. If you belong to a social media group or page that has a lot of followers, share! When you think about, when was the last time you could make two clicks on social media, one to vote and one to share, and make a difference nationwide? This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Kokomo and Howard County to make a huge impact on communities across the nation.”

Here is the link to vote and share daily:

If you have any problems using the website or link, please call Lisa Fipps at 765.626.0807.