- Associated Press - Sunday, June 4, 2017

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa (AP) - Junior high students in a city in Iowa have given homemade fidget quilts to dementia patients in a local hospice.

More than 25 Holmes Junior High students made 10 brightly-colored, multi-textured quilts for UnityPoint Health-Allen Hospital patients with dementia who have trouble keeping their hands still, The Courier (https://bit.ly/2rkWIMF ) reported. Each square of the quilt has a different activity, such as a button, a metal snap, something to tie or fasten.

Hospice unit development coordinator Joyce Coil asked her friend Maxine Barrows, a teacher at the school, last fall if students would be interested in making the quilts. Coil had noticed that dementia patients’ tendency to play with buttons or zippers was frustrating for both the patients and their caretakers as they ended up taking off their own clothing or taking things apart.

“I said yes right away,” Barrows said.

The students in her Barrows’ two Peer Helpers classes didn’t know what a fidget quilt was, much less how to make one.

“None of us really knew what we were doing at first,” said Abigail Balong, a ninth-grade student. “Everyone was going at different paces - she (Barrows) had to reteach everyone.”

The quilts were made from recycled materials and with help from donations from parent-teacher groups. Barrows said the project was “truly a group effort.”

The unit’s clinical manager, Jennifer Driscoll, said many of the women seem to like the quilts because they retain memories of sewing or crafting from their younger days.

“(The quilts) are very calming, the ability to be able to touch and feel things,” Driscoll said. “(Patients) need things to do rather than picking at their clothing.”


Information from: Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier, https://www.wcfcourier.com

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