Made with love: Fidget Gals make blankets for restless hands – Salisbury Post

Made with love: Fidget Gals make blankets for fidgety hands

Posted at 12:10 a.m. on Saturday, August 20, 2022

By Erin Kidd
Carolines Lutheran Services

SALISBURY — Deana Burris has fond memories of her childhood cover. She remembers its color, its smell and above all the sensation she felt.

“My cover was satin. I still remember it because it was soothing to me,” said Burris, director of the Life Enrichment Campus at Trinity Oaks. “That’s the kind of feeling that choppy blankets can give people.”

Once a month, a group of Trinity Oaks locals get together to admire each other’s colorful work on their waved blankets. They call themselves the Fidget Gals and make the blankets to give to their peers on campus and to Novant Health.

A fidget blanket is a waist-sized comforter that provides sensory and tactile stimulation to the fidgety hands of someone with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia, as well as people with ADD or autism spectrum disability.

“Many of our residents with dementia become anxious and have other deficits, such as hearing, sight, mobility. So anytime they have a choppy blanket that has different textures and things that can occupy their time, it calms them down,” Burris said. “They may have something to touch on their knees.”

Every fidget cover is different. Some have bows to grab, and others have ribbons and pockets. Some of them have special messages on the back that say things like “Made with love”. And some of them tell a story.

When Burris was approached by a Novant representative to form a group of volunteers to make blankets, she knew they were in the right place. Many residents have sewn all their lives.

“When it was explained to us, they had suggested that we have different textures on the covers so they could feel them,” Fidget Gal Beverly Basler said. “That’s why we have so many different elements on it to make everything challenging for the patient. I hope it will do them good and help them.

The group has a closet of fabric, yarn, trim, and anything else that could be used to make a blanket that has been donated by residents of Trinity Oaks or purchased by members. Fidget Gal Ruth Goforth keeps the closet stocked to make sure members have what they need to make the blankets at home.

Lola Folss, one of the oldest members of the group at 94, says she prefers to make her covers out of cotton and denim. She said she had made about 25 covers since the group started.

“I make them with denim fabric because it’s so stable. So not only is it easier to sew, but it receives everything you embellish and stays put,” Folss said. “It makes it safer.”

The Fidget Gals have previously donated fidget blankets to Novant, Trinity Oaks Health and Rehab, Trinity Living Center, and Virginia Casey Center, which is Trinity Oaks’ memory care center. They plan to add Trinity at Home to the roster soon.

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