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Virtual Tales & Travel Adventures

July 29, 2020
Older Adults / Seniors
Popular Topics
Social-distancing programs
Health and Wellness
Advance Planning

The online version of Tales & Travel was created quickly in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since programs could no longer be brought to assisted living facilities and groups (such as Memory Cafes) could no longer meet in person, the virtual option made it possible for at least some of the previous audience to be able to participate.

The goals and outcomes for the virtual program remain the same as for the in-person programs: to actively involve persons living with dementia in literacy activities, to elicit memories and to encourage conversations. Additional goals are to reduce isolation and improve the emotional well-being of participants.

As the creator of the original program, I took on the responsibility to create and disseminate the virtual program.


Just as Tales & Travel Memories was made freely available to libraries and other organizations across the country, the virtual version is also intended for use by any groups or individuals that would find it valuable.

Many Memory Cafés quickly pivoted to a virtual format when the pandemic shutdown occurred in March, 2020. I used existing networks that I had been involved with over the past decade to disseminate information about this new program. The Percolator Memory Café Network is perhaps the most important outlet for notifying Memory Cafés across the country about this program.

ALA's Alzheimer’s and Related Dementias Interest Group (IGARD) was another avenue for sending information to libraries across the country. The Tales & Travel Memories website hosted by the Gail Borden Library in Elgin has agreed to be the repository for links to the videos and files being created as a part of the migration to a virtual format.

Budget Details

At this point, there are no costs involved in production and dissemination of the videos and files as I am donating my time for the creation of the Tales & Travel Adventures series.

The videos were created by recording the PowerPoint presentations and then saving them as MP4 files. Initially, the video and PowerPoint files were shared through Dropbox links but the videos have recently been uploaded on YouTube. It takes approximately 20 hours to create each session.

Using the estimated national value of $25/hour for volunteer time provided by Independent Sector, the pro-bono value of my contribution could be set at $500 per session.

Day-of-event Activity

I began partnering as a volunteer with the Sun Lakes Memory Café in Sun Lakes, Ariz., in January 2020 to present the in-person version of Tales & Travel to their members once a month. With the pandemic, Sun Lakes quickly pivoted to an online platform and began offering weekly virtual sessions to their constituents who had previously attended their weekly in-person sessions.

I offered to adapt the Tales & Travel program for the virtual environment. Since May, 2020 I have been offering live Tales & Travel Adventures sessions on the first Monday of each month using the virtual platform. This organization has provided the platform and the staff needed to provide their weekly Zoom sessions. I simply log into the Zoom meeting and I'm designated as a co-host so I can use screen-sharing to present the live program.

Program Execution

Since the live presentations have only been offered since May 2020, I have been directly involved in the presentation of only a few sessions with Sun Lakes Memory Café. Six to eight persons living with dementia participated in each session. Their care partners were also in attendance, but they did not directly participate in the actual activities. I believe that the goals of the program were achieved.

All of the participants took turns participating in the oral reading activities and joined in the singing using the written lyrics. They also actively participated in conversations usually related to their own memories about the location being “visited.” The sessions lasted approximately one hour and the attendees were actively involved throughout the session.

A link to a Google Forms survey was included for each session, and attendees were invited to complete it. Only a few responses have been received to date, but they have been positive.


Tales & Travel Adventures, like the original program, is designed as an example of how literacy activities can benefit persons living with dementia. Anyone is welcome to create their own videos and live presentations using the Tales & Travel Adventures format for their own communities as long as they 1) use a travel theme if they want to retain the name and 2) retain the original goals of the program as outlined above.

There are an endless number of topics other than travel that could engage persons living with dementia in interactive literacy activities.

Just remember to respect the remaining abilities of the intended audience, relax, have fun and go with the flow! You will be making an importance difference in the lives of these library patrons who are too often forgotten and isolated.

Short Title
Virtual Tales & Travel Adventures

Tales & Travel Adventures is an online adaptation of the original Tales & Travel Memories program, which was designed to actively engage persons living with dementia in literacy activities. This is an ongoing series of excursions to US and global destinations, currently including Chicago, Italy and California.

New programs are being created monthly and are available via on-demand videos or as Power Point presentations that can be presented live via a virtual platform. These files, which are protected by Creative Commons licenses, are available on the Tales & Travel Memories website hosted by the Gail Borden Public Library in Elgin, Ill.

Program Date
Mon, 2020-05-04

Tales & Travel Adventures brings library patrons living with dementia on virtual excursions to U.S. and global destinations.