Channel 15 recently covered the work we did on the Health and Human Needs committee to provide comfort bags to people living with dementia.
The work is a beautiful example of what happens when we work together. This project was a result of the regular dialogue that Monona Mayor Mary O’Connor and I have. Leading into the budget season, I asked her for opportunities to support District 24 that would also benefit the whole county. Diane Mikelbank, the Monona Senior Center Director responded to the request, with the idea of bringing Comfort Bags to Dane County—something she had learned about from a neighboring county. When I proposed the budget amendment, the county staff got to work and figured out how to implement the plan.
The bags have objects that can distract a person living with dementia when their primary care giver has to go with first responders in an emergency situation. Joy Schmidt the Dane county Dementia Care Specialist works hard throughout Dane County to train communities in becoming dementia friendly, and train first responders on assisting people with dementia. She met with us as the bags were distributed last week in Sun Prairie. Comfort bags are being distributed to communities throughout Dane County. At the time of the filming for NBC, five communities had received the bags.
Volunteers in Dane County, including the RSVP sewing group, have sewn and donated some of the multi-sensory muffs for this project, and have helped assemble the bags. Once the bags are given to an individual, due to sanitary reasons, they are left with that person who can either keep or dispose them.
In addition to the bags, Joy would like people to know about the medical information cards, called File of Life cards. Joy hopes that every home of a person with dementia has one. You can see them with the comfort bag in the photo. These cards contain personal information that is critical in an emergency.