How to Create an Alzheimer’s Fidget Bag

June 24, 2019
Janelle Thomas MSN, RN
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Being on a home care journey with seniors with Alzheimer’s disease poses challenges and considerations outside of the usual ones of caring for elderly adults, but that does not mean that you cannot enjoy an active, engaged, and fulfilling experience with your aging loved ones even as they progress through the disease. One of the key factors of being an active and stimulating family caregiver for your seniors, and making sure that their in home health care services provider gives them the highest quality, most personalized care possible, is planning ahead to address their common issues so that if they arise, you are prepared to handle them efficiently and effectively.

One of the issues that you might face while enjoying an outing with your elderly parent is restlessness. Seniors with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, particularly those in the mid-stages of the disease, tend to exhibit symptoms of restlessness or the inability to properly direct their energy or thoughts. This can result in pacing, wandering, picking at their skin, or becoming anxious and agitated.

Packing a “fidget bag” to bring along with you on your outings with your seniors is a fantastic way to give them something to do with their hands, direct their energy, and keep them from getting anxious while also helping to limit the propensity for wandering or other potentially dangerous behaviors.

During your home care journey with your loved ones you may have come across the term “fidget quilt” to describe a blanket or mat covered with simple activities and sensory stimulation items that seniors with Alzheimer’s can use to keep their hands busy and their minds engaged. The fidget bag takes this same principle but applies it to a bag full of items so that they are easier to transport and do not require that your parents sit with a large blanket over them or wear an apron in order to enjoy their activities. This bag lets you take out one or two forms of entertainment for your parents to utilize, and then trade them out as necessary to keep your seniors focused and calm.

What to Pack in an Alzheimer’s Fidget Bag

Some things that you and your parent’s home care provider can consider putting in a fidget bag for your elderly loved ones include:

Stimulation balloons. Purchase several high quality latex balloons and use a funnel to fill them with a variety of different materials such as baby powder, hair gel, rice, and beans. Close the tops firmly and store them in a zipper bag in case of breakage. Your parents can hold, knead, and manipulate these balloons to examine how they feel individually and in comparison to the others.

Zipper mat. Sandwich thin quilt batting between two pieces of cotton fabric and quilt with a simple pattern, and then add several zippers to the top layer of fabric. This allows your seniors to zip and unzip the zippers repeatedly without the pieces getting tangled.

Search bags. Stitch up simple bags featuring double layers of cotton fabric with clear vinyl panels. Fill them with coarse sand or dry rice and then insert small items such as tiny toys, dollhouse miniatures, and coins. Stitch the bag closed before putting it in your parents’ fidget bag. They can entertain themselves by moving the bag around, searching for all of the tiny items in the rice or sand through the clear panel.

Contact Care Options for Kids for Alzheimer’s Home Care Services

If you or an aging loved one are considering home care services, contact the caring staff at Care Options for Kids. Call today at (888) 592-5855.