Fidget quilts or blankets are lap-size blankets that give sensory and tactile stimulation to the restless hands of people with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia, including ADD or Autism spectrum disorder. They are ideal for small children, elders, or anyone who finds it relaxing to keep their hands busy.
You can quilt, knit or crochet these blankets with decorations to provide sensory stimulation for dementia patients. These blankets can also be plain and serve only as a source of warmth and comfort. You can brightly color the blankets, but it is good if they are not overly patterned. They can also be large enough to stretch across beds or small enough to fit over their legs.
You can decorate fidget quilts with ribbons, beads, buttons, loops, zippers, buckles, pompoms, and so on. However, it would be best to keep it simple because too much decoration can be frightening or confusing for them.
Benefits of Fidget Blankets
1. Helps Keep the Hands From Moving
Most dementia patients express their agitation and restlessness with their hands. It does make sense if you look at it as we spend our entire lives using our hands to work, take care of ourselves and our loved ones, write, drive, and pursue our hobbies.
These blankets prevent fidgeting hands from picking, rubbing, scratching, or wringing, as these help keep the hands busy on purpose by providing a variety of tactile stimulants.
2. Provides Comfort and Joy
You can personalize the fidget quilts by including items that your loved ones are familiar with. You can add items from their hobbies or profession to make them feel at ease. Even those who have forgotten who they are can appreciate the familiarity and the muscle memory of the objects they have used their entire lives.
Even if dementia prevents them from remembering the everyday items they used in the past, this can be very calming and reassuring.
3. Encourages Tactile Coordination
Any type of cognitive stimulation, including mindless fidgeting, is beneficial for the brain to exercise. Even if they play with buttons and move the zippers, their mind is still being exercised.
By encouraging hand-eye coordination and tactile exercises, you are helping your loved ones in exercising their brain and supporting their cognition. This helps in slowing cognitive degeneration.
4. Prevents Adverse Behavior
Agitation and aggression are prevalent behaviors in dementia patients. Discomfort and a lack of excitement are significant causes of negative actions fueled by confusion. Fidget blankets can help soothingly refocus the energy and provide a distraction. When attention decreases and restlessness is visible, it is essential to give some redirection and stimulation; that is why fidget blankets are an excellent option when immediate action is not possible.
5. Reduces Anxiety
It helps in reducing anxiety by giving them something to grab onto while also acting as a distraction. When you offer a blanket to a youngster, they may use it as a crutch when terrified, nervous, or furious. The same relaxation, warmth, and safety that the children feel when they have their blanket nearby may be felt by someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia when they have their fidget quilt or blanket nearby.
6. Enhances Sleep Quality
The fidget blanket helps in improving sleep quality. Giving a fidget blanket to a patient provides comfort through the naturally pleasant sensation of being held. Many people say that the extra weight of the blanket is like giving a hug. Even if you aren’t physically present, being able to give your loved one a “hug” will help them relax and experience a more profound and more comfortable sleep.
7. Eases Restless Leg Syndrome
Fidget blankets apply deep pressure to the body. Many people say that the downward firm, average weight, and pressure feel like a hug around the legs, which may help relieve the symptoms of the pins and needles associated with the restless leg syndrome.
8. Reduces Stress
Restlessness and agitation are common symptoms of Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia. That is why having something to occupy their hands can help in alleviating their stress.
Guidelines for Fidget blankets
The fidget blankets have the items sewn in place, which you can place in an older adult’s lap while seated. The patient will start fidgeting with the things or need some encouragement to touch and play with them.
Even though fidget blankets are also known as activity blankets, they serve no other purpose than to provide soothing sensory stimulation and reduce boredom. You can also use the blanket to cover a table. An activity vest or apron might be the best option than an activity blanket for elders with dementia because they can wear it and thus can always be with the person.
Our Top Picks for Fidget Quilts for seniors
ESPIJO fidget blanket covers a throw blanket with intriguing sensory games. Dementia and Alzheimer's patients can use this fidget blanket to reduce the harmful effects of the illness. It has things like a snapback buckle strap, webbing buckle, memory card/photo, shoelace, fabric flaps, etc., that are great for keeping fingers, hands, and joints active, which is especially beneficial for the elderly.
This two-sided blanket can calm the anxiety quickly, allowing hands and minds to be engaged for healthy mental stimulation. It reduces boredom by using different textures to promote tactile and visual stimulation.
It sharpens abilities and relaxes the mind; hence it is suitable for people with dementia and Alzheimer's. It is also ideal for youngsters with Autism, Asperger's Syndrome, and ADD.
This fidget blanket also helps in relieving anxiety and restlessness that come with dementia. The backing of this blanket is made of Minky that helps keep the legs warm and prevents the blanket from slipping off the patient's lap.
This blanket also gives a calming and relaxing effect to nervous people. It includes buckles, colorful sequin, coin purses, Velcro, etc., that keep the hands busy.
The TCH fidget blanket works well like sensory toys for dementia patients. That is why the activity blanket for people with dementia can alleviate many noticeable symptoms. The patients can use this blanket as a fidget blanket lap or busy blanket.
Its sensory pillowcase fits comfortably in the lap, and the patients can use it in various settings to stimulate the brain and calm the senses.
There are several memory components on this fidget blanket, such as spots for family photos so the seniors can always keep their loved ones nearby. This blanket is made from fabric with varying textures and thicknesses for sensory input. It also provides varying tactical stimulation, which helps in eliminating boredom.
For more information, you can also check out the best fidget toys for seniors.
Fidget Quilts – Really Helpful For Elderly
Fidget quilts are beneficial for patients with dementia and Alzheimer’s who cannot express themselves freely without fidgeting. The elders with dementia might fidget because of stress and anxiety to soothe and calm themselves. It can also be because they are bored. That is why fidget quilts are a must-have for such patients.