Fidget mats encourage fine motor skills and sensory stimulation for people with Alzheimer’s disease | Culture & Leisure


True to their mission to serve their community, members of the Clustered Spiers Quilt Guild work on several projects throughout the year and donate quilts and blankets – and sometimes quilt rugs – to individuals, non-profit organizations, senior centers and others in need. Frederick’s region.

Fidget rugs are small sewn quilts that include various trinkets and fabric textures. They are designed for people with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, as well as certain autism spectrum disorders, to engage and keep their hands busy. They are relatively small, so that they can be placed on a person’s lap or on a table in front of them.

Last fall, guild members created brainstorming mats to donate to Homewood’s dementia unit. Olga Schrichte, a longtime quilter and guild member, taught members her method of making rugs and demonstrated examples.

“Think of it as an activity mat for an adult rather than a child,” Schrichte said.

Several members have created additional rugs to give away to friends and family.

Guild member Becky Lyon created two for her friend Sally Sinn’s husband.

“When he came home from rehab, Becky came over with his prototype, and it was a hit. He responded to it so well,” recalls Sinn, who cares for her husband at their home. hung on the wall so he could reach out at night and feel it.”

Sinn’s husband, Alvin Barnes, is 88 and was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s about 10 years ago. Sinn said his illness is advanced to the point where he explores his world through touch and tactile sensations. He hasn’t been able to respond to a vision test for about two years, so she’s unsure of his ability to see, which makes the sense of touch all the more important.

“He’s going to reach out and touch my sweater,” she said. “It’s important for him to relate to his world in this way. Brainstorming mats soothe him in two ways: it’s something he can handle with his fine motor skills, and it’s familiar to him. When he’s at the table, I can see him reaching for the fidget mat if he’s not in front of him.

Lyon said anyone with a sewing machine and basic sewing skills can learn how to make a stir rug and customize it for the recipient. They can be as simple or elaborate as you want.

“Birthdays and Christmas would come, and what are you getting her?” Sinn said about her husband. “Fidget rugs were the perfect gift for him.”

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