A one-of-a-kind creation helps Alzheimer’s patients in the late stage of dementia.

For over 85 years, Imogene Zeller has always enjoyed sewing. From sewing doll clothes as a young girl to aprons, towels, and pillows to raise money for charities, Imogene is now at the age of 95 and is very sharp and humble about what she sews and why. Starting earlier this year, Imogene began to work on creating a one-of-a-kind creation called a fidget quilt. It first began when Imogene’s daughter, Kay Clor contacted the Alzheimer’s Association Central Illinois Chapter after reading an article about fidget quilts by Brenda Scarbeary, the chapter’s Care Navigator, in a local magazine.

This unique quilt has various objects firmly attached to it that can be manipulated and provide sensory stimulation.  This activity of using the fidget quilt has been helpful for many individuals in the late stage of dementia or during sundowning. Often in this stage an individual may appear to lose interest or awareness of surroundings. Studies indicate that as many as 20 percent of people with Alzheimer’s may experience increased confusion, anxiety, agitation, pacing and disorientation beginning at dusk and continuing throughout the night. The sensory stimulation from the fidget quilts helps release pent-up energy and provides a meaningful activity for those with dementia.

An example of a fidget quilt. Some sensory objects Imogene uses are keys, zippers, and buttons.

A picture of a fidget quilt. Some sensory objects used are keys, zippers, and buttons.

Imogene was recently nominated by Brenda for The Molina Healthcare of Illinois’ 2nd Annual Community of Champions Awards. She was awarded with $1,000 to give to her agency of choice. She generously granted the Alzheimer’s Association Central Illinois Chapter with the reward. Sewing about one quilt a day, Imogene uses the pattern provided by the chapter and uses a variety fabrics and objects for different textures. Imogene lives in the township of Lacon and has two children, three grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

Imogene pictured above with her daughter Kay after winning The Molina Healthcare of Illinois 2nd Annual Community Of Champions Award

Imogene (left) pictured above with her daughter Kay (right) after winning The Molina Healthcare of Illinois 2nd Annual Community Of Champions Award

 A handmade fidget quilt can be purchased for $20 through the Alzheimer’s Association Central Illinois Chapter for gift-giving by calling 309.681.1100. Proceeds benefit the chapter to provide programs and services in our local community. The quilt may be personalized or monogrammed for an additional $5 charge.

Imogene working on a fidget quilt. On average, she sews about one quilt a day.

Imogene working on a fidget quilt. On average, she sews about one quilt a day.

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