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How To Make A Fidget Blanket For Alzheimer’s

About Uc Davis Hospice Program

How to Make a Fidget Blanket (Alzheimer’s, ADHD Project)


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Mission Statement

For over 35 years, UC Davis Hospice Program provides care for terminally ill patients. It is not a place, but rather an approach to health care emphasizing symptom management while helping patients and families to cope with psychosocial and spiritual issues which accompany the dying process.


Hospice care is provided by physician-directed teams of nurses, social workers, home health aides, chaplains, therapists, volunteers, and bereavement coordinators who are sensitive to the local population’s cultural and lifestyle diversity. Volunteers become an important part of the team, with the ability to attend rounds and care for patients as well as their families.

Health & Medicine

What Are Fidget Blankets

Fidget blankets are therapeutic quilts to which different items have been attached or sewn on. These items offer sensory stimulation that has a calming effect on Alzheimers and dementia patients. The blankets alleviate boredom in the elderly and provide a means of performing repetitive behaviors that are often comforting and distracting.

Items should provide different types of textures and different functions such as the ability to fold, wrap, rub or click items together. Colorful items and items that release scents are also useful on blankets. The idea is to stimulate as many of the 5 senses as possible.

It is however important not to attach any items to the blanket that could be harmful, used to cause harm or are hazardous. Items that are used repetitively are prone to wear and tear and the blanket may need to be mended or replaced on a regular basis.

Crochet Along Fidget/sensory Blanket For Alzheimers

This is part 1 of the Crochet Along Fidget/Sensory Blanket for Alzheimers, a project dedicated to all persons suffering from any form of memory and cognitive disabilities. Before proceeding to Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4, please read through the post.

It is a project I would love as many of you to join me in because of what it symbolises- a piece of comfort and stability, especially for those experiencing Alzheimers.

Sometime in 2017 I came across an article, it was quite popular at the time, about a woman whose mother suffers from Alzheimers. She posted a picture of how her mothers crocheting had deterioted due to the disease.

This photo struck me, as it did many others because it kind of gave me an understanding of how bad this disease can be, and I could never imagine what it would be like losing my ability to create beautiful things or see someone I love go through such.

I could never imagne growing old and being struck by a disease that could leave me unable to button or unbutton my shirt, hold and use a crochet hook or even remember who my children are. I could never imagine it! And it pains my heart that people are actually going through this.

And I thought to myself, why not make one with crochet?. I needed to see if this was something I could create, and now it means a lot more to me than any other project I have designed.

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Calms Or Relieves Anxiety

Fidget blankets are proven to reduce anxiety and relieve restlessness as they help make the nervous hands of patients busy. By including items on the blanket that could mean something to the patient, the blankets can stimulate the brain through memories and senses, leaving the patients with a sense of security.

Fidget blankets offer a lot of comfort for individuals living with dementia or Alzheimers. It provides them with sensory and tactile stimulation and can even relieve them of anxiety.

When a disease such as dementia progresses, a persons hands tend to get more nervous and fidgety thus, they need these blankets to stimulate their memories and senses. While these are made with seniors in mind, fidget blankets can be used for other patients as a therapeutic sensory play item.

These blankets can be customized with patterns, textures, ribbons, beads, zippers, pompoms, pockets, and other personal items. No matter what you include in your fidget blanket, ensure that all items are attached securely to avoid patients from pulling them out. The decorative items should also be large enough to prevent them from being a choking hazard.

Alzheimers Fidget Quilts Keep Hands Busy

Amazon.com: Fidget Blanket for Dementia

Alzheimerâs can cause busy handsâYour older adult with Alzheimerâs or dementia may show anxiety or agitation through fidgety hands. Signs include pulling or rubbing at clothes or bedding, rubbing hands together, tapping fingers, twisting fingers, wringing hands, and generally keeping hands in motion. Sensory therapy or fidget toys are an effective way to reduce anxiety, calm nerves, and provide comfort. These are simple touch-based activities that help someone with Alzheimerâs keep hands busy in safe, soothing ways. We have 6 suggestions to help your older adult stay calm and comforted.

âChoose safe activities âItâs important to find activities that are safe. You know your older adult best and can choose what works best for them. For example, some older adults tend to put things in their mouth. If thatâs the case, avoid small objects that could become a choking hazard. Other seniors may like to tie strings around fingers and restrict circulation. If thatâs true for your older adult, avoid anything with long ribbon or string.

â6 ways to help seniors with Alzheimerâs keep hands busy

  • Buy or make a fidget blanket
  • DailyCaring tip: For a quick DIY fidget blanket with minimal sewing, start with a fluffy bath towel or large piece of soft fleece and securely sew on a variety of embellishments. Browse the ready-made ones above to get inspiration!

  • Try affordable sensory toys
  • Help with household chores
  • Also Check: Does Bobby Knight Have Dementia

    Using Fidget Blankets For Alzheimers Or Dementia

    One of the ways that individuals with Alzheimers or dementia show anxiety or agitation is in their hands. They will begin to fidget, restlessly pulling at clothes or blankets, wringing their hands, or rubbing their hands together. Fidget blankets are one way to help restore calm.

    When you bring someone with Alzheimers or dementia a fidget blanket, they immediately gravitate to it, says Crossroads Hospice & Palliative Care Volunteer Manager Kimberly Mumper. It rests in their lap and gives them comfort.

    Fidget blankets can be purchased through a variety of online retailers, but they can also be easily made at home.

    Simple Prime Fidget Pad

    The second-smallest option on our list, this fidget pad measures just 12 by 27 inches. This makes it very convenient for carrying around the user can either engage with it at a table or place it in their lap. Despite its modest size, this sensory item still offers a good range of items to engage with, including straps with buckles, buttons to do and undo, and a rope to weave in and out of a row of holes.

    Recommended Reading: Is Dementia Related To Alzheimer’s

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    This is a great idea. It would also work great with some autistic individuals. I will probably make one for my friend’s autistic daughter because she would appreciate it. And it will have to be in different shades of purple since that is her favorite color. Thank you for the pattern.

    Lynn K

    What a great idea although I am thinking of making one in the style of a quiet book for a little person I know. I really like the notion of combining fun learning with a practical item that also serves another purpose. There are lovely fabrics in my stash that will be perfect for this project so all I have to do is decide which fasteners, etc will be best suited to little hands )

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    Individuals Living With Dementia Or Alzheimers

    How to Make a Fidget Blanket

    When dementia or Alzheimers enter the later stages of the disease, the brain no longer works properly to stay calm. Those living with these diseases may start pulling on their clothes or scratch themselves. Fidget blankets become their outlet for their restlessness and aggression, as it gives them something to do.

    Also Check: Can Lewy Body Dementia Be Inherited

    Make Your Own Fidget Blanket

    First, you must assemble all of the pieces you are going to put into and on your quilt. The one I am making today is a lab blanket and measures 29 square inches. To begin, cut out 25 7″ squares out of assorted fabrics. They can either be scraps are you can buy assorted fat quarters at any craft store for around $15 a bundle. I chose cotton, felt, upholstery, fleece, flannel, and some leftover from a terrycloth robe .
    Next comes the fun part- set up. Place each of your squares down so that you can see where all of them will lay out once it is all put together. Then, take your mix-matches items and place where you want them as well. Be sure to take a picture at this point so you can rememeber where everything belongs once you start the assembly!
    Next, you will add on each piece of knick-knackery to each square that it will be attached to. Shown is a piece of Velcro I added to a scrap of extra flannel and added the soft half of Velcro to the square directly. Do this for all squares you wish to add things to. Hand sew your buttons, or anything else that cannot be done with a machine. After all of your pieces are added, sew all of the squares together like regular quilting, keeping a 1/2″ seam allowance. Be sure to match up all corners.

    What Is A Fidget Blanket: A Helpful 3

    What is a fidget blanket, and how do you use it? Fidget blankets or sensory blankets have become popular over the past few years for seniors affected with dementia or Alzheimers disease. These individuals have restless hands that can benefit from something that they can focus on.

    Fidget blankets will allow these individuals to redirect their energies into something familiar while being in the comfort of their own homes. Sensory blankets can be made by repurposing old materials from around the house, and they are pretty easy to make. Learn how using the tips below.

    Read Also: 7th Stage Of Alzheimer’s

    What Can You Put On A Fidget Blanket

    You can put just about anything on a fidget blanket that wont cause harm to the senior, cant be used to harm others or that are hazardous. Items that stimulate 4 of the 5 senses are ideal touch, sight, sound and smell. It is a little more difficult to add items that stimulate the sense of taste. Items should always be attached securely and replaced or repaired when they become worn.

    Be aware when replacing items that they should be as similar to the old items as possible. Seniors become familiar with certain items on the blanket and their favorites are the ones that are likely to deteriorate the fastest. Changing items can cause confusion, distress and anxiety.

    How Are Fidget Blankets Used For Dementia And Alzheimers Patients

    Custom made Fidget blanket for adults who have Alzheimers ...

    The blanket with the items sewn into place can be placed in the lap of the elderly person while seated. The patient may automatically start fidgeting with the items or require some encouragement to touch and play with the items. Although the blankets can also be referred to as activity blankets, there are no goals to achieve other than providing soothing sensory stimulation and alleviate boredom.

    Blankets can also be placed on a table. An activity vest or apron is a good alternative to an activity blanket for seniors with dementia because they can be worn and are therefore with the person at all times. Pillows are also a good idea.

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    Shopping For A Loved One With Alzheimers Or Dementia You Might See Fidget Quilts Fidget Boxes Even Fidget Mittens On Holiday Gift Lists This Year Heres Why

    Sharon Elin of Mechanicsville, Virginia had noticed that, as her brother Chads memory declined, he was becoming increasingly restless, spending hours fiddling about, carrying out the same habits, like folding towels, or moving bird feeders around on his porch. Thats when I started thinking that maybe a busy box would help, Elin recently told the Washington Post. Elin had seen similar items to keep peoples hands busy, often cloth items like quilts or aprons, with zippers, Velcro, beads and ribbon. But Chad had always liked tinkering with tools, she said. I thought hed enjoy something that had hardware on it I envisioned putting little surprises inside for him to find, like a new baseball cap or a pair of socks.

    Elin found a volunteer on Reddit to help build this busy box or fidget box for Chad, who, at age 70, will soon move from home with his wife in rural North Carolina to a care center. Anxiety and agitation are symptoms of Alzheimers and dementia, and often, people will channel these symptoms through restless hands wringing, rubbing or twisting their fingers, pulling or rubbing at clothes or bedding. Elin said she plans to gift him the fidget box once he is settled in, with hopes it will help keep his nervous energy occupied and theres a chance that it will: Research has shown that touch-based therapy, known as sensory therapy, has the potential to harness that nervous energy, reduce anxiety and offer comfort.

    How To Make A Fidget Blanket

    Fidget blankets are not that difficult to put together. Simply buy a lap quilt or piece of felt and attach items that would provide the necessary sensory stimulation. They also make a great sensory gift for dementia patients too.

    Some preferred items include:

    • Strings of beads that can be turned, pulled, counted and clicked together. Different shapes, sizes, colors and textures are a good idea.
    • Satin and velvety ribbons that can be twisted, folded or wrapped around a finger.
    • Different fabrics such as fur, sack cloth or material with colorful designs that can be touched, rubbed or traced with a finger.
    • Loops through which string, wool or ribbons can be threaded.
    • Hoops to which blunt hooks or clips can be attached and removed.
    • Buttons and buttonholes that can be opened and closed. These are great on a pocket sewn into the quilt that contains a hidden treasure such as a glass bead or gem.
    • Zippers make a great noise, cause vibrations and are very satisfying to open and close repeatedly.
    • Latches and locks that are easy to open and close are also great. Be aware that these can be challenging and therefore frustrating for seniors that dont have the greatest dexterity due to health conditions such as Parkinsons or osteoarthritis.

    Remember that each item should be attached securely to the blanket so that it cannot be removed. Durable items are better suited to be used on a fidget blankets for dementia patients.

    Below are some easy to follow patterns for fidget blankets:

    Read Also: Alzheimer’s Disease Ribbon Color

    Why Do Dementia Patients Fidget

    Dementia patients may fidget in reaction to stress and anxiety to soothe and calm themselves. However, it could also simply be due to boredom. Another reason is believed to be a way to alleviate thought processes that can be frustrating and lead to negative behaviors such as aggression and agitation.

    Supporting Individuals With Alzheimers

    Easy Fidget Quilt Tutorial + FREE PDF Instructions | Aid for Alzheimer’s

    Kimberly has worked with a number of companies and organizations in the Philadelphia area including the Hilton Inn at Penn, United Healthcare, and Temple University School of Sport Tourism and Hospitality Management who have made fidget blankets for hospice patients as a team-building community service project.

    The staff loves it. Its a fun project for them to do, and some of them get really into it adding their own special touches and themes to the blankets, Kimberly says with a smile. They love being able to do something that makes an impact in the community, and our patients love using the blankets they made.

    Crossroads Hospice & Palliative Care is proud to provide support for patients with Alzheimers and their families. To learn more about the services we offer for dementia patients, please call 1-888-564-3405.

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    Sensory Blanket For Alzheimers/dementia Patient Care

    Browsing through our local publication, The Connection Magazine, I came across an article that sparked my interest and warmed my heart. Knit for Peace, shared a column about creating fidget hand muffs and blankets for patients with dementia.

    I love creative projects, especially ones made with compassion and a purpose. I was surprised I had never heard about this idea. Our family is all too familiar with the struggles that accompany a loved one progressing through the stages of Alzheimers and dementia. The concept of a sensory blanket really excited me. It would be a practical way to show our love, get the girls involved, and hopefully provide a gift for Grandma that she could use and enjoy.

    I believe God had His hands in this one. Within 2 days I had a completed lap quilt . I was thankful to find several pre-cut squares from a quilt I had made many years ago and there was plenty of fabric remnants to finish the small project. I actually ended up having everything I needed in my craft closet.

    I stitched the blocks together and then added the denim pockets before the gingham border.

    After hand-stitching on all of the decorative details, I cut out a piece of backing fabric and batting and pinned it all together. The quilting didnt take too long since the lines are straight and there isnt much surface area. I finished it with the floral binding.


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