Create a group at Trinity Oaks, Salisbury “fidget blankets”For those with dementia, autism

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SALISBURY, N.C. (WBTV) – WBTV provided this video by Amy Estridge, Lutheran Services CarolinasDeana Burris holds fond memories of her childhood blanket. She still has fond memories of the blanket’s color, its smell, and how it felt.

“My blanket was satin. I still remember it because it was soothing to me,”Burris, Trinity Oaks’ director of life enrichment campuses, stated. “Those are the kinds of feelings that fidget blankets can give to people.”

Once a month, a group of Trinity Oaks residents come together to admire each other’s colorful handiwork on their fidget blankets. They call themselves the Fidget Gals. They make the blankets for their peers and Novant Health. A fidget blanket is a lap-size quilt that provides sensory and tactile stimulation for the restless hands of someone with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia, along with people who have ADD or an autism spectrum disability.

“A lot of our residents with dementia get anxious and they have other deficits, like their hearing, their sight, their mobility. So, whenever they have a fidget blanket that has different textures and things that can occupy their time, it soothes them,” Burris said. “They can have something in their lap to touch.”

Every fidget blanket is unique. Some have bows to grab while others have ribbons or pockets.

Some have special messages on their backs that say things such as: “Made with love.”

Some of them tell a story. Burris knew she had found the right place when Novant approached Burris about starting a volunteer group to make blankets. Many of the residents have been sewn their entire lives.

“When it was explained to us, they had suggested we have different textures on the blankets so they can feel them,”Fidget Gal Beverly Basler stated. “That’s why we have so many different things on it so it can all be stimulating to the recipient. Hopefully it does some good and helps them.”

The group has a collection of thread, trim, fabric, and other supplies that can be used to make blankets. This includes items donated by Trinity Oaks residents as well as items purchased by members. Fidget Gal Ruth Goff keeps the closet stocked so members can make blankets at home. Lola Folss (94 years old) says she prefers to make blankets from cotton and jean fabric. She said she’s made about 25 blankets since the group began.

“I make them with jean fabric because it’s so stable. So not only is it easier to sew, but it receives whatever you embellish it with and stays in place,” Folss said. “It makes it more secure.”

The Fidget Gals donated fidget pads to Novant and Trinity Oaks health and rehabilitation, Trinity Living Center and Trinity Living Center. They also donated fidget sheets to Virginia Casey Center, which is Trinity Oaks’ memory care center. They plan to add Trinity at Home shortly.

Related:  The Best Fidget Toys are Pop Its, Simple Dimples and Crayola Globbles.

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