New Brunswick

Fredericton care workers create sleep kits for people with dementia

Two coordinators at Fredericton's York Care Centre have created a specially made sleep kit for people with dementia, and they're looking for more caregivers to test it out.

The kits offer dementia patients several activity options

'We're just trying to get the word out about this and hope that some people might come forward that think this might be helpful for them,' Eve Baird said. (CBC)

Two co-ordinators at Fredericton's York Care Centre have created a specially made sleep kit for people with dementia, and they're looking for more caregivers to test it out.

Eve Baird first thought of the idea while researching dementia for a course at St. Thomas University. That's when she learned that people with dementia often have trouble getting a full night's sleep, and that there are few solutions available to them. 

But she did come across one study which offered some hope.

"One study I came across talked about the importance of social interaction throughout the day.

It looked at individuals who were living with dementia, and just the fact that they were engaging in social interaction throughout the day of any kind actually increased their sleep quality," said Baird

She decided to create a kit filled with activities that caregivers and people with dementia could use together. 

Claire Hargrove, left, and Eve Baird created the sleep kits for caregivers of people with dementia. (CBC)

Baird and her colleague, Claire Hargrove, developed the boxes together. The items inside are meant to stimulate the senses and include large playing cards, a therapeutic CD, a hair brush, specially made soothing lotion, a book, sleep diary, colouring books and more.

"Maybe some of these products wouldn't work for someone, or maybe they would use the same thing every night," Baird said.

'It's simple and that's important to us'

Hargrove said people living with dementia may favour some items in the box more than others.

At the end of the day, however, she said it's the social aspect of it all that makes a difference for people with dementia.

"This is just human connection," she said. "It's simple and that's important to us."

Baird received grants totalling $100,000 to study the effectiveness of the kit and they're now recruiting more than two dozen people to take part in the study.  

"We're just trying to get the word out about this and hope that some people might come forward that think this might be helpful for them," Baird said. "We know that the people are out there."

Corrections

  • An earlier version on this story reported that Eve Baird and Claire Hargrove both received funding for this project in the form of grants. In fact, as the project creator and owner, Baird was the sole recipient of funding.
    May 15, 2019 3:40 PM AT

With files from Shift: New Brunswick