OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — With monthly subscription box services becoming increasingly popular, two local entrepreneurs are putting their own spin on the popular trend.
Since 2014, sisters-in-law Michala Gibson and Many Shoemaker have operated Prairie Elder Care, an Overland Park-based group home for people living with dementia.
Now the duo is hoping to help more people make meaningful connections through Connectivities, a monthly subscription box specifically designed to support adult memory care.
“Connectivities came from a need that we had in our homes when the staffing crisis was at its worst for us. We were all working the floor all of the time and we needed to find a way to keep our residents engaged in meaningful activities,” Gibson said.
What started as a way to keep their residents active during the pandemic soon became a business of its own.
Gibson, who has spent nearly 25 years working as a registered nurse, said the kits are designed so the activities can be modified to meet each person’s individual needs and skill level.
“There’s eight grab-and-go activities in each box. They’re designed to hit strategic targets for physical, cognitive, emotional, social and also those interpersonal skills. Along with just being fun and being a great way for people to connect,” Gibson said.
Every monthly Connectivities box has a unique theme and includes things like puzzles, games, crafts and writing prompts. Gibson said while the activities help older adults flex their creative muscles, the subscription service is really about helping build up personal relationships.
“For someone living with dementia, their senses are really affected. Vision is most affected, but also speech and touch. This is a great way to make those connections and allow that person to engage with the person that’s with them,” Gibson said.
Each activity within the box is labeled with a QR code that can be scanned to help guide users through instructional videos. The kits also include printed instructions that show how to modify the activity if a person is working towards a specific therapy goal.
“In addition to the videos, we have our written instructions that are differentiated, so if something is too hard or too easy [it explains] how to get that just right level,” Gibson said.
Connectivities boxes are sold in a range of different sizes to accommodate individual families and larger groups of people living in assisted care facilities. The company also offers a single-purchase mini box and seasonal sensory boxes.
The subscription service also includes access to online resources like music therapy and exercise videos created by an occupational therapist.