Share your Alzheimer's fidget apron/blanket etc success or failure stories...

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There is a local club that meets to make fidget aprons, I used to think this was a worthwhile activity until I noticed that no one in mom's nursing home uses them. So I'd like to know, does your loved one use a "fidget" item? Are there certain designs that work better than others?


The total lack of response to has pretty much confirmed my suspicions - fidgets are something that SEEM to be a good idea but in reality are not. And they don't come cheap either.
CW your question may have been buried. Mom did not have one. She was a home ec teacher and loved feeling fabrics and just about anything. I think fidget blankets are relatively a new idea. Maybe not many have tried them. I think one may have helped with my mom.
I can see the appeal of something with different textures you can stroke. I think a lot of the home made ones are much too simplistic, for example you can't just stick a zipper or buttons on an apron, you need a pocket under there, maybe with a surprise inside.
What exactly is a fidget rug and how do you make an effective one? I could use one when hubby is watching his favorite TV programs.
There are fidget aprons, blankets, pets, even boxes - you can see examples if you google or check the Alzheimer's store. The idea is to provide a variety of sensory experiences and things to twiddle with to engage the autonomous part of the mind and keep the hands busy.
CW, there was a big push in the autism community at one point for fidget aprons/pads, etc. to engage sensory integration for folks. I'll be honest, my son got more out of his favorite stuffed animal than he did from the therapeutic weighted blanket or apron. One of his faves was a dress-it bear: it had buttons, zipper, shoelace, that he could "dress and undress" but all the bits were attached so they didn't get lost.
CW, my babies loved fidget items.

My Mom's fidget activity was folding washcloths. She loved doing it at my house so when she went to the NH I brought her a basket of about a dozen in different colors and textures. Washcloths are just the right size to fit on a wheelchair tray.

Mom also loved sorting things. Coins for me or beads for the activity center. She loved matching socks into pairs.

Each of these activities to combat restlessness felt useful to her. There was a reason for arranging the beads by color -- makes it easier for folks working on jewelry. Jeanne needed the coins sorted for vending machines. The washcloths fit into the linen closet once they were folded. I noticed with my husband also that he wanted to do things for a reason.

My babies loved their fidget toys just to fidget. Wow! If you shake this it makes a sound. If you turn it upside down it looks like a candle. You can roll it.

I think adults do better with a purpose. Buttoning is good if it holds Teddy's vest on. Buttoning just because there is a button may not be as satisfying.

(Both my mother and my husband had dementia, but neither one was ALZ type.)

This is a great topic, CW. I hope we hear from more people with experience.
Something else that may be a factor here. In my observation, people with dementia rarely take the initiative for their own amusement. My mother liked coloring. Even though the box with all the coloring materials was within reach, she never initiated coloring herself. If someone suggested it, OK, that would be fun. Even if a fidget item were attached to a wheelchair, someone might have to call attention to it and hand it to the person before it would be used.
I bought my elderly Mom, with dementia and Parkinson's, a fidget lap blanket several years ago. She looked at it a couple of times, but never did much with it. It was expensive, too. Nowadays, she has more interest in folding facial tissue and putting them in a cup or a magazine and assembling the magazines all together. She has become more interested in reading, but otherwise doesn't take an active role in doing anything during the day.

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