Li Cross is a Texas woman whose father suffered from Alzheimer’s disease. After he passed away, she heard about something called a “fidget mat” and decided to start making them.
Now Li spends her spare time sewing beads, zippers, pockets, keychains, and whatever other odds and ends she can find onto cloth mats to give away to the elderly in assisted living facilities in the area.
Since seniors with dementia often express anxiety by fidgeting or wringing their hands, keeping those hands busy can help patients stay calm and relaxed. Fidget mats provide a safe and comforting way to keep hands busy, and sometimes the objects on the mats bring back more than just muscle memory too!
“Often they don’t even know what they’re doing. It’s just the sense of touch and a memory that it might strike when they see it,” says Li.
Watch the video below to see the mats, how Li makes them, and how seniors are interacting with them!
Elizabeth Nelson is a wordsmith, an alumna of Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, a four-leaf-clover finder, and a grammar connoisseur. She has lived in west Michigan since age four but loves to travel to new (and old) places. In her free time, she. . . wait, what’s free time?