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Fidgets and Fiddles for dementia

Inspiration on Fidget Quilts and Fiddle muffs to aid anxiety,

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Jayne21/01/2017 14:10:35
676 forum posts
118 photos

Knowing that Katy isn't on hand to keep us in check and so that we don't lose all the info if we need to find it again, I've started a new thread.

Jayne21/01/2017 14:12:41
676 forum posts
118 photos

Copied from Chat yesterday.

Yes as Rosemary says, there are plenty of examples out on the web. Here are few that I've downloaded as inspiration for my ladies. You just have to remember that anything added HAS to be stitched on very, very securely. It is amazing the strength in frail fingers....

Some are small lap quilts others are just around a pillowcase size, so that there is no trip hazard, I'm also thinking of doing some like the old waist pinnys that my mom used to wear.

Some people also knit them. Have seen a manly version of a board with locks and bolts etc. Beware of putting keys on as they might fret that the can't find the right lock/door.

The aim of this grown up activity quilt is to occupy idle and fretting hands, it's amazing how it can ease anxiety.

Beware I've heard they are very addictive.



Jayne x

Diane Ford21/01/2017 15:14:09
469 forum posts
60 photos


They are very addictive, and once you start making them, you start to see all sorts of things you come across in the course of a day in a whole new light. It's amazing what things can be utilised in fidget quilts.


Tessa21/01/2017 20:04:19
5765 forum posts
485 photos
13 articles

HI Jayne,

My Mothers Union group have been making Fidget Aprons for all the dementia patients here in Penrith. We have found that 5 - 7 items or activities on each apron seems to be enough, otherwise they get a bit overwhelmed.

We have offered the option of taking a photograph from a family member of the patient, scanning it, and printing it onto cotton and having it incorporated into their very own fidget apron. Makes it more personal that way. It could be a photo of their pet, their home or something that may bring back a special memory. The options are wide open.

Our aprons are about 18" square with zippers, buttons, ribbons and other things that will let them fidget safely, as long as the items are attached with care and strength. Then we add ties so that the apron sits on their lap and ties behind their waste so it doesn't fall off. Here's a couple of pictures of ones we have made.

We also put a fleece backing on them but make it an envelope style opening so they can put something of their own inside ...

Fidget Apron 2

Fidget Apron 1

Fidget Apron 3

Jayne21/01/2017 20:45:47
676 forum posts
118 photos


As I'm currently using old duvet covers for quilt backs or for syringe driver bags, I was thinking of using the pillow cases as fidgets.

Looking at yours with the zip, is there a pocket? I was thinking that I could fold up the bottom third to make a pocket for 'precious things'.

I've also been given some of the old style dolly pegs to attach with ribbon to put into the pocket.

My daughter has asked me to make some for the hospital where she works. Many patients who have undiagnosed dementia who are admitted as emergencies on the trauma ward suffer greatly with anxiety and a fidget would help them.

I'm really looking forward to having a go now.

Thanks for your suggestions.

Jayne x

Winnie the B.O.L.B21/01/2017 21:49:51
3345 forum posts
190 photos
1 articles

Thanks Tessa - sorry for my seeming lack of interest - my internet connection to the Forum is playing silly games so I have only just found your post and pics etc on this thread. They have given me a bit better image of what I should be aiming for.

I have to admit to feeling a wee bit overwhelmed about quite where to start with knowing what to put on them - does that sound daft??

Anyhow, I will make as good a go of it as I can. He is a lovely man - and his wife is even lovelier - Rosemary has met her and will vouch for that fact!

Winnie/Margaret xx

Sandy23/01/2017 05:21:57
1169 forum posts
174 photos

What wonderful examples you have all posted. I have never heard of these here in Canberra - a wonderful idea for our community.

Cheers Sandy

Tessa24/01/2017 09:24:25
5765 forum posts
485 photos
13 articles

Jayne, yes, where you see a zipper, there is a pocket, and we have carefully sewn a ribbon inside and attached a large button or some safe object to the ribbon. When they open the zipper the object can be pulled out, fidgeted with and put back in when they feel like it. We've even had different small objects that are not harmful in any way given to us by the relatives of the patients and asked to be used in the creation of a fidget apron for their family member. These have been special buttons and even key rings with a certain icon attached to them. As long as the items can be safely attached, that's the main concern.

Winnie, my group have used furnishing fabrics with patterns for men and women. There's all sorts of ideas that can be incorporated in the fidget's just a matter of them being safe and interesting.

Tessa xx

Brenda in OZ31/01/2017 01:28:11
498 forum posts
159 photos
33 articles

Jayne, thank you for introducing us to these. I think they are a wonderful idea. I have had a chat with our local aged care facility and our quilt group committee and we are all set to start making them.

Do you think that it would be a good idea to use dental floss to stitch bits & pieces on? It's super strong and I used it once as thread and it worked well.

Will post some pictures when we have made some.

Jayne31/01/2017 07:08:28
676 forum posts
118 photos

I don't think the floss would be necessary, just make sure that ends of seams are reversed as we all do anyway to stop them being ripped and if sewing on buttons that it's more that 2 or 3 passes of the thread, my nan used to say it had been sewn with a burning needle, one that was so hot you wanted to stop using it before it had done it's work..

They can be 'wadded' with an old towel, just something to give the fabric some substance to stop a button pulling the thread through, or bits of wadding at the crucial point.

Keys sound a lovely idea, very tactile, however I have heard of one old boy who got even more agitated because he couldn't find the lock that his key fitted, wandering around, around, all day and night trying 'his key' in every door to give it back to the right person 'who might need it'.

Here is one of many websites I have found with details, but it does not need to followed exactly. Also here in the UK cereal boxes have a 'plastic' bag inside, when washed this makes a nice rustle when put between two layers of fabric. **LINK** .

Above all have fun. xx

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