Windermere WI Supports Individuals with Alzheimer's

Jun 24, 2016

Fidget blankets stimulate residents with Alzheimer’s at the Pines in Bracebridge

Bracebridge Examiner

By Mary Beth Hartill

BRACEBRIDGE – Fidget blankets are now the rage in at the Pines Long-Term Care Home in Bracebridge.

The Windermere Women’s Institute (WI) donated handmade fidget blankets to residents suffering from Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Windermere WI member Carol Boaks said one of their members was looking at information online and thought it would be a good project for their organization and they agreed, making it one of their major projects.

According to fidget blanket co-ordinator Barb Baldwin, the lap blankets help focus attention, stimulate senses and memory, exercise hand muscles and entertain users. They are made from various fabrics and textures and decorated with items that can be fidgeted with including zippers, pockets, Velcro, lace, buttons, pull ties and even small squeaky and fuzzy toys.

“We asked our members to bring in fabric and we just got inundated,” said Boaks who noted they received five or six bins of material and in a short period of time had made 18 blankets with still enough material to make eight or nine more.

Member Barb Dutton, the group’s seamstress had her work cut out for her as the other ladies set about making a plan, getting the template set up, and then they began cutting and “playing with all the little gadgets and fiddle things we had to put on,” said Boaks.

“We hope the residents get many hours of enjoyment and we trust that we have helped in a small way,” said Baldwin.

Judging by the reaction of Pine’s activity aid in the Alzheimer’s ward Teri Bissonette the ladies did do a good thing.

“The residents here will really enjoy these fidget blankets especially the ones that are in wheelchairs and they don’t get out for a lot of activities,” she said. “They can fiddle with their hands and feel the different textures. There are definitely activities going on and they are bright and cheerful.”

She said the blankets are a great benefit to the area.

Boaks said the project has snowballed as friends and neighbours learn of the project and have expressed interest in attaining one for relatives with Alzheimers or dementia. In fact, she said there has been an expression of interest from one of the nurses in the continuing care section of the hospital stating if there was extra they could use some there.

“We’re still yet deciding whether it is something that we want to continue doing and offer it for sale,” said Boaks.