A Community Conversation with Libraries


We recently hosted a Community Conversation with representatives from libraries across Saskatchewan regarding what libraries are currently doing to be more accessible and dementia friendly. Watch the recording to learn more about how your business or organization can get involved.

As you may be aware, 60% of people living with dementia are living in our communities and want to continue to do so as engaged and valued members of their community. Too often, people living with dementia face barriers of stigma and accessibility that prevent them from participating to their full capacity.

We all have a role to play in raising community awareness about the importance of reducing the stigma around dementia and making our communities more accessible for people living with dementia and their care partners.

Community Conversation

As part of the Alzheimer Society of Saskatchewan's dementia friendly initiatives, we  recently hosted a Community Conversation about accessibility and inclusion in community spaces. Library representatives from across Saskatchewan joined us to discuss strategies they have utilized to become more dementia friendly and how those strategies can be adapted to other businesses, organizations, and communities.

The panelists included Joan Michael from Saltcoats Public Library, Morgan Kelly and Meagan Dillen from Southeast Regional Library Headquarters, and Patti-Lynne McLeod from Regina Public Libraries.

The conversation was held virtually and highlighted the importance of:

  • Involving people with accessibility needs in the planning process for your organization.
  • Collaborating with community organizations to support each other to make change and reach goals.
  • Starting the conversation about accessibility within your organizations.

During the conversation, panelists discussed various aspects of making libraries more dementia friendly and inclusive. Additionally, panelists shared the different levels of changes communities and organizations can make to be more accessible and inclusive, identified some of the barriers they have each encountered in the process, and highlighted the scale of impact small changes can make for people living with dementia and other related demographics when using services in their communities.

Each library, due to their varying sizes and number of locations, brought a unique perspective and process to addressing accessibility and inclusion for people living with dementia in their branches.

“When it comes to accessibility if you do one thing for one group, it can actually open up and be make yourselves more accessible for other groups as well.”

Patti-Lynne McLeod, Regina Public Libraries 

The programs that we have are not specifically for people with dementia they are open to everybody... this includes yoga, watercolor painting, crocheting, we have art exhibitions… which I like to think they're all inclusive.”

Joan Michael , Saltcoats Public Library 

We'd recommend reaching out to organizations, like the Alzheimer Society, so you can get information on best practices where to start with this kind of project.”

Morgan Kelly and Meagan Dillen, Southeast Regional Library Headquarters

Patti-Lynne McLeod emphasized the importance of empathy-based and trauma-informed training for staff as a starting point. McLeod highlighted the diverse strategies employed by different libraries to enhance accessibility and inclusivity for their communities, recognizing that these efforts benefit a wide range of individuals beyond those with dementia.

Joan Michael highlighted that making changes for dementia-friendliness doesn't need to be time-consuming or expensive and programming should be inclusive for everyone. Michael explained how suggestions for improvements came from local board members and involved working with Jackie Hofstrand from the Alzheimer Society of Saskatchewan.

Morgan Kelly and Meagan Dillen talked about the development of Memory Kits, which contain resources to stimulate conversations and reminiscence. They shared examples of successful programs at their branches, such as music care pathway programs and mindful mingle programs, which promote community engagement and intergenerational conversations. Kelly and Dillen also highlighted the wide range of services provided by their 46 branches, which include both small rural locations to larger city branches.

You can access the recording of the Community Conversation here: https://youtu.be/P8KYaqeY5zM

We thank Joan Michael, Morgan Kelly, Meagan Dillen, and Patti-Lynne McLeod for sharing their knowledge and experiences with us and recognize their continued contributions to their respective communities.

For more information on Alzheimer Society learning opportunities and to connect with our community of support, please visit:


To learn more about how your community or organization can become more dementia friendly, please contact:

Erica Zarazun
Public Awareness Coordinator

Alzheimer Society of Saskatchewan
[email protected]