With all tool kits, please put a label on that states in some form that these tool kits are to be used under close supervision. Some of the items could injure the person using them if not supervised. These tool kits are an interactive activity.
These suggestions are guidelines. You can adapt these tool kits to your area and population.
Cooking Tool kit
This tool kit is easy to put together, but costs the most. Any dollar store is a good place to start. If you want to look at second-hand stores for these items, you can, but if you are wanting to get it done quickly, the dollar store is best. You can buy measuring cups, spoons, cooking utensils, baking pans, pot holders, dish cloths and towels, sponges, anything that relates to cooking. Try to get different colors and textures in your kit. Second hand stores are a good source for aprons and cookbooks that have a lot of photos. Old cooking magazines are good, too. (Taste of Home is a good one). If you want, put in small containers that have a spice or two (cinnamon is good) or an aromatic herb (rosemary works well) for the sense of smell. Let the person put on the kitchen mitt, wear the apron, smell the herbs, handle the utensils and look at the photos in the cookbooks. Ask about their experience in cooking, or if you know, bring up a favorite dish they cooked, who they cooked for, if they had a garden, etc. There are a lot of open ended questions that can be asked. An activity for this tool kit would be baking cookies or decorating sugar cookies or cupcakes.
Handyman Tool kit
For this tool kit, a dollar store is good, too. You can find pliers, screwdrivers, safety glasses, gloves, paint roller, flashlight, etc. We decided not to put a hammer in ours. You may have to go to a Menards or Home Depot or Lowes for a few wrenches and nail apron. Also, we put in a small board (approx. 4”x10”) that had several (3-4) bolts and nuts with washers that corresponded to the size of wrenches. They can then work on taking the nuts off and putting them back on. We also put a couple of screws with larger heads in the board so a person can use a screwdriver to screw them in or out. You probably know of someone that can drill holes in a board, or may even have some bolts, nuts, washers and screws to be used. Make sure there are no splinters on the board – sand it down a little.
Sewing Tool kit
For this tool kit, if you know someone who sews, crochets, knits, etc., they would be a great source. Second hand stores are also a great source of finished articles. A couple of colorful balls of yarn, embroidery thread, crochet thread, crochet hook, embroidery hoop, a pillowcase to be embroidered, several pieces of ribbon, rick rack, elastic, some small pieces of material in different textures (cotton, fleece, knit), a card of buttons, a zipper, a thimble, patterns, examples of crochet, embroidery, patchwork or even a baby’s or child’s garment could be included. Use the sense of touch with this tool kit. Let them run their fingers over the ribbons, elastic, material pieces. If you have something they have sewed, crocheted, knitted, etc., talk about that or your favorite piece, etc. An activity for this tool kit could be using a blunt needle and working a design in plastic or stiff paper cards.
Hunting or Fishing tool kits
These tool kits are easy if you know of someone who is an avid fisherman or hunter. More than likely, they will have magazines and other items they would be happy to donate. Small antlers, spent shotgun shells, lures with hooks removed, plastic worms without hooks, a stringer, a reel or even a short rod (if possible), a minnow net, camo or orange hat and/or vest, an arrow, etc. If you are in an area that people do a lot of hunting or fishing, this could be a great tool kit.
Farming tool kit
If you live in a farming area, this would be a good tool kit. You can get farming and livestock magazines, small (a handful) bags of soybeans, corn, wheat, oats, etc. from a current farmer. Try to find some small farm toys (again see if you can get some donated). Small farm animal figurines might be an addition, too. Look in second-hand stores or farm stores for those. An activity might be a dog or cat to pet.
Gardening tool kit
In this tool kit, anything about gardening works. Gardening magazines, seed catalogs are especially good with their colorful pictures, gardening gloves, flower and vegetable seed packets, small flower pots, a garden flag, silk flowers, scented candles with flower scent, maybe a plastic trowel. An interesting activity with this tool kit is to plant an actual flower in a pot for them to water and take care of. Marigolds or ivys would be pretty hardy plants to work with.
Beauty Tool kit
For this tool kit, there are a lot of sensory items, especially touch. Cotton balls, makeup brushes, old fashioned curlers for hair, nail clippers, cardboard nail file, toothbrush, comb, brush, hair barrettes, combs or clips, Q-tips, face moisturizer, lipstick, blush, nail polish, perfume, hair pins, etc. An activity for this tool kit might be painting their fingernails and/or putting on makeup.
Other resource items in our Alzheimer’s and Dementia “Forget-Me-Not” Collection
Comfort Dolls were created to address the comfort and care of those with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. They offer a soothing friend to spend time with and help to incorporate engagement through colorful elements and textures to keep hands busy!
Puzzles are an excellent way for seniors with dementia to strengthen cognition, reduce agitation, and promote a feeling of accomplishment. They can also be a fun way for family or caregivers to engage with their loved one.
Memory Kits are for people with dementia, memory loss, or cognitive impairment. They are intended to stimulate conversation or reminiscence with a person with cognitive issues. Our kits include a collection of resources and items that allow users an opportunity to engage in conversation about their life experiences.
Companion Pets are designed to bring comfort, companionship and fun to elder loved ones. They have realistic fur and pet-like sounds as well as sensors that respond to petting and hugs with familiar pet-like actions. Therapy pets have a remarkable effect on persons in the middle and later stages of dementia.
Use your imagination to come up with ideas for tool kits and their contents.