Creating ‘Fidget Quilts’ to Help Alzheimer’s Patients

KELLY TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- A woman from Union County is trying to improve the quality of life for people with Alzheimer's disease. She's using her love of art to make sensory blankets for residents in her senior-living community.

Ann Doebler is busy in the art studio at Riverwoods Senior-living Community near Lewisburg making quilts for some of her fellow residents, but these aren't your average blankets. Doebler calls them "fidget quilts."

"I'm wondering if, in fact, touching things would be the way to go with that," Doebler said.

While attending an Alzheimer's support group meeting a few years ago, Doebler noticed some people suffering from the disease had restless hands. That's when she came up with the idea of fidget quilts for residents to feel and touch.

"The touch, the feel, the memories of certain items. For them, it's a special thing," said Liz Pursley, director of transportation.

Doebler wasn't always interested in art.

"I didn't know the difference really between acrylic and water coloring."

Doebler recently went back to college at Bloomsburg University and got an art degree. She graduated at the age of 71.

So far, she has made 17 of these quilts and has no plans to stop. Doebler has been making the fidget quilts for about three years.

"It's a delight. I have to tell you I enjoy it. I hope other people find some benefit to it."

Doebler is always looking for items such as buttons, beads, jewelry, or old watches to put on her quilts. Items can be brought to Riverwoods Senior-living Community near Lewisburg.

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