Benefits of Using Fidget Spinners for those with Dementia

Without going far in the past, one thing young people can instantly recognize is a fidget spinner. Introduced to the younger generation in 2017, this handheld toy or device became an instant hit among youngsters. Be it schools, streets, or playgrounds – you could see people in action quietly playing with the fidget spinners.

You may also check out our Guide to Selecting Fidget Toys for Seniors with Alzheimer’s and Dementia to learn about the other fidget toys for people with dementia.

Initial findings and descriptions outlined these fidget spinners helpful in sharpening the focus and horning the attention abilities of the children. However, there are no conclusive research studies in this regard. Nevertheless, owning and playing around with fidget spinners remained a popular fad for a couple of years.

What Does It Look Like?


Fidget spinners are small and can fit in your palm very easily. They have a ball bearing in the center that allows it to spin between the fingers of the users. Since fidget spinners became popular and a trend among youngsters, many designs were introduced by various designers.

Fidget spinners have been repeatedly termed as helpful for mentally calming the users. They are well-known for cooling down the fidgety behaviors in children. Among several other acclaimed benefits of fidget spinners that have been looked into, helping older adults overcome their fidgety behavior is also popular. Let us look at some highlighted benefits of these handheld toys before delving into how fidget spinners might help people with dementia.

Benefits of Fidget Spinners

Benefits of Fidget Spinners

Soothe the Mind

Fidget spinners are well-known for calming the mind and getting rid of agitation. Many older adults with neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s or dementia, show agitation, which can be dealt with using these fidget spinners. It is a simple activity that has shown promising results in soothing the mind.

Occupy the Hands

Playing around with fidget spinners does not let your hand sit idle. It is an excellent option for people of all ages who find it hard to keep their hands free. If you constantly need to do something with your hands, buying a fidget spinner would be a wise decision.

Good for Building up Hand Strength

General age-related issues or arthritis is known to result in stiffness of the hands and rendering them weak. One of the greatest benefits of fidget spinners is to build upon the muscle strength of the hands. It maintains dexterity and keeps the hand muscles and bones in action.

They are Discreet

One of the biggest factors in the popularity of these handheld devices or toys in schools was its discretion. Fidget spinners easily fit in the palm of your hand – and they are practically noiseless. You can keep fidgeting around with it without disturbing anyone around you. This is one of the most appreciated characteristics of these spinners.

Suitable for People of All Age Groups

The best benefit of fidget spinners is that they can be enjoyed by people belonging to every age group. From grandparents to grandchildren, there is no restriction in enjoying using the discreet fidget spinner to curb fidgetiness or working on those hand muscles and movements.

Fidget Spinners Might Help Dementia Patients

One of the most common signs and symptoms of dementia is fidgety behavior. In this neurodegenerative disease wherein the mind stops cooperating with the owner in terms of higher cognitive functioning and memory, anxiety is bound to happen. Older adults with dementia are often seen as playing around with their fingers or rubbing their hands. This is a typical physiological manifestation of anxiety or agitation.

Calming down these anxious or agitated older adults with dementia is not an easy task. They want to do something with their hands but are short of options that are safe for them. This is where these fidget spinners come in handy.

For older adults with dementia, fidget spinners are the simplest handheld toys that are not intimidating or complex. Fidgeting around with these spinners help occupy their hands while their mind rests for a while.

Fidget Spinners in a Senior Living Community

According to McKnight’s Senior Living, a senior living facility in Ohio has rolled out the use of these fidget spinners to observe the impacts. The observational findings outline how these spinners have had a positive impact on calming people’s minds with dementia. This observational study was initiated as a result of brainstorming by the staff as these spinners had shown promising success for sharpening focus in ADHD patients.

The program involves providing all the elderly residents free access to these handheld ball-bearing toys. The facility ensures that these are placed in all common areas of the building. The staff reports how fidget spinners help some of the residents to fall asleep. Though the initial program aimed at monitoring only one older adult, the significant amount of interest shown by almost all the adults forced to broaden the observation.

The program attempted to observe how long the residents of the facility engaged themselves with these spinners along with their interest levels noted. The program also intended to observe whether having this little handheld device to vent out all the fidgetiness and anxiety resulted in less wandering around or not.


The basis of this program is built on solid grounds. For years, we have observed adults, with or without any neurodegenerative disorder, fulfilling their agitation and fidgety behavior by clicking pens, paper clips, or tapping pencils. Keeping your hands busy while you are anxious or agitated helps keep your mind at peace. If this could mean some peace for older adults living with dementia, there could not be anything better.

Aside from fidget spinners, there are also other kinds of fidget toys that are great for people with dementia. You may learn more about these by reading our Guide to Selecting Fidget and Sensory Toys.