When I was a young teenager, I had my first (of six) knee surgeries. I was in the hospital for 21 days.
As you can imagine, I have had this swirly brain forever, so to keep me occupied, some kind person gave me a set of metal puzzle gizmos. I worked on those for minutes, hours which fell into days. Not all the time, just five minutes here, five minutes there.
44 years later, in my mind, I can conjure up the feel of the metal in my hands. My fingers flying to figure out the secret to the puzzle. I bet if someone handed me one of those today, I could figure it out in a matter of moments.
I was delighted with a present and the challenge was just what I needed, however when I say, “kind person” I think the gift was more for my mother. With the exception of driving my sisters to and from school, running home to make dinner, she was in my room 7 days a week for the majority of the day, every day.
My brain teaser puzzles gave her, 5 minutes of peace and quiet.
Five glorious minutes to go put fresh lipstick on. Maybe she went for a break and got a cup of coffee? Maybe she read an article in the newspaper without someone pestering her? Maybe just maybe she bought a Pepsi and poured it into a coffee cup (young ladies do not drink soda)? Maybe she just sat and stared out the window and didn’t have to listen to a somewhat chatty teenager?
What could you do in Five minutes?
File your nails, walk outside for some fresh air, watch a bird take a splashy bath, take off your shoes, rub your feet & walk on some freshly mown grass? There are a million things we all could do with five glorious minutes.
Our friend’s father has dementia. Because of paperwork, he is not yet settled into a new assisted home.
Often times, seniors with Alzheimer’s or dementia may show signs of anxiety or agitation through fidgety hands. Sensory therapy or fidget toys are an effective way to reduce anxiety, calm nerves, and provide comfort.
No, I did not give a set of metal puzzles.
I made and gave a Fidget Quilt.
(Housekeeping: I used 6-inch squares backed with fusible fleece. I backed and bound with pre-washed flannel. I used ribbon, velcro, zipper, rope, rick-rack, buckle, coins under vinyl, elastic, shoelaces, curtain rings, trim, buttons, drop cloth, faux leather, sequins, velour, cotton, flannel fabrics and a tie. All machine pieced and machine quilted. The binding was stitched twice for strength.)
Some folks call them Busy Quilts or Fidget Blankets. Lap size, no batting, all sewn by machine. Then sewn once more for good measure. All safe/harmless items, lots of texture and by the time it was finished, the quilt had some weight to it. When I put it on my lap, I took a deep breath, very calming.
His family is hurting. The “M” family has taken a hit and gosh does his wife NEED five minutes.
I made this quilt for a gentleman to occupy his busy hands and mind. More importantly, I made this quilt for his wife. With every stitch, I was thinking of her. I was lifting her up. The hours ticked by while I was sewing, measuring, creating.
I was praying it would give her FIVE MINUTES.
Five minutes to breath deeply. Five minutes to step outside and stretch. Five minutes to pour herself a cup of coffee. Five minutes to answer the door. Five minutes to read a card from a friend. Five personal moments to let her guard down and collect herself.
All forms of Dementia and Alzheimer’s are rough, some would say cruel to the family and friends. My heart breaks. Yes, I prayed for them. Then I got to work. I wanted to help. I wanted to give FIVE MINUTES of rest to his caregiver.
There are several pictures on Google images/YouTube/Pinterest all with ideas for creating this type of sensory blanket. Many have bright, childlike colors, lots of patterns, some silly and goofy.
Many folks often say, “oh, he won’t know/care what colors you use”.
His wife will. His son will. His family and friends will.
I chose to make a Fidget Blanket that was respectful of a life well lived. I chose colors and patterns that would be of interest to his grandchildren and visitors. I chose items and patterns to invoke conversation of visitors. I wanted to create something manly, dignified, befitting a man who worked his whole life and took care of his family. I wanted something calming and yet interesting at the same time.
44 years later, goodness has come full circle. I can finally give back those precious FIVE MINUTES of peace.
This disease is dreadful. God Bless the families and friends walking through the fire.
In this together, friends,