Local Heritage Hospice volunteer making fidget quilts; donations and sewers are needed

Published 12:00 pm Tuesday, August 24, 2021

The Heritage Hospice Inc. volunteer department has started a new sewing project to provide some of their clients with fidget quilts and would welcome assistance from the public.

Fidget quilts are designed to keep restless hands of someone with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia busy with sensory and tactile stimulation said Renee Bibler, volunteer services coordinator for Heritage Hospice. The small, lap-size quilts feature things like zippers, buttons, beads, fringe and even squeakers to give someone’s restless hands something to do, she added.

The goal is to make about 100 of these specialized quilts every year, Bibler said. So lots of donated items are needed, as well as people who can help sew them.

Judy Major, a Lincoln County resident and Heritage Hospice Inc. volunteer is making fidget quilts for dementia patients who have restless hands and enjoy having something for them to fidget with. – Photo submitted

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Donations include: large, decorative buttons, slide buckles, zippers, bright colorful fabric, or fabric that’s unique such as faux fur, ribbon, jingle bells, netting, curtain fringe, light weight cotton batting, small change purses, key rings and metal keys, small squeakers, empty thread spools, children’s size jean pockets, small tape measures (but no metal ones) and infant bib overall fronts. Monetary donations will also be useful.

Items may be dropped off at Heritage Hospice Inc., 120 Enterprise Drive in Danville, or call 859-236-2425.

Bibler said volunteers will collect the items, and fill one-gallon plastic zipper bags with pre-cut fabric, batting and lots of fidget items, which will be handed out to people who want to help construct the quilts according to Hospice’s specifications.

Bibler said when she became interested in providing the fidget quilts to their clients she asked Judy Major, of Lincoln County, to be her “guinea pig.”

Major made four quilts within a few weeks, and they realized the goal of 100 quilts a year would be too much for one volunteer to take one, Bibler said.

Major said she’s been a Hospice volunteer for about eight years serving tea at the annual Tea and Treasure event, working the front desk, addressed envelopes, worked with a camp, helped to promote Hospice at various events and made patient visits.

“I wanted to volunteer some time to some place, and this (Hospice) seemed the best fit for me. The people at Hospice are so appreciative for any way we help,” Major said.

“I love to quilt all sizes and wall hangings. It’s relaxing and lets me create. Renee (Bibler) showed me a fidget quilt one day. It was the first time I had ever seen or heard of one. It intrigued me.”

She said she found that 18×20-inch fidget quilts was about the right size. There are no patterns that I know of. I looked on Pinterest, Amazon and Itsy to get ideas.”

She uses buttons, ribbons, zippers, belt buckles, Velcro and fuzzy materials. “Any thing I can find that I think could be fidgeted with,” Major explained.

Major said she has made six of the quilts so far “as I have spare time, usually one or two a month.”

Bibler said if individuals or groups are interested in helping construct the fidget quilts they can contact her at 859-236-2425 to get the materials and stipulations for the projects. Once donations have been collected and separated into individual project bags, she plans on having one day where people can pick them up. Bible said, “Just reach out to me and we’ll hook you up.”