More than a dozen volunteers got together at the Anchorage Senior Activity Center on Friday to help make memory kits for seniors in the community. The kits are said to help prevent and slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.

The event was hosted by the United Way of Anchorage as part of the organization’s national Day of Action. Over 400 memory kits were assembled, full of puzzles, Sudoku, crosswords and information designed to help seniors stay mentally engaged.

“The Senior Memory Kit Build was designed to mobilize volunteers around Anchorage seniors,” said Ariane Kelsey, manager for volunteer and community engagement at United Way of Anchorage, in a news release. “Knowing the positive impacts of volunteering we have engaged both seniors and our community partners to build these kits, which we hope will help more seniors in our community continue to live and thrive independently.”

According to the Alzheimer’s Resource of Alaska, an estimated 8,000 Alaskans are living with Alzheimer’s or some other form of dementia. The kits are aimed to help prevent and slow the progression of the disease and other forms of dementia.

"What we're hoping is that our volunteers who've come in today are getting something positive out of it by doing something great for our seniors but also showing our seniors what a great thing volunteering can be as well and the positive impact that can have and seeing everybody able to come together in such a nice way,” Kelsey said.

According to a New York Times article from March 2019, a panel of scientists endorsed three interventions “supported by encouraging but inconclusive evidence,” to prevent, delay or slow cognitive decline. Those were: increased physical activity; blood pressure management for people with hypertension, particularly in midlife; and cognitive training.

Dr. Kristine Yaffe, a neuropsychiatrist and epidemiologist at the University of California, San Francisco, who served on the panel, said it's the concept of saying mentally active and finding something that stimulates the brain.

The kits were assembled in reusable grocery bags. Kelsey says this is so people can easily bring the kits to a family member's house and share them with other people. They will be distributed to those who can benefit from them.

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