There is always a need for homemade items where commercial markets may leave a gap. I am constantly looking for things that are easy to sew or construct and useful. If you have read any of my other posts, you can see that I am fond of dish drying mats. They are usually made of forgiving materials and can be transformed quickly. I have read many blogs about Blankets or mats for Alzheimer's or dementia patients. The idea behind these is to stimulate the reflexes and keep idle hands busy as people with these ailments fidget and repetitively work things they can grasp.
I thought the dish drying mats would be a great thing to use because most of the work is done on the material. They are like a blank cushy canvas. I wanted to have a very soft back on my mats in the event they were placed on a lap or hugged to someone's body.
I used fleece cut slightly larger than the mats and sewed it right sides facing around the perimeter, then turned right side out and closed up the seam. This made for a larger finished size and also allowed me to do all of the decorating on the mat enclosing the unsightly seams inside once complete.
If you have small scraps or leftover ends and pieces of lace, elastic and ribbon, you can have a lot of fun with these. I also used some rubber stamps and heat set ink to do small details like the little pillow above. Buttons, beads, Ric Rac can also be used. The most important thing I did was use industrial strength thread like you might use for upholstery. I also made sure to use an anchor button on the back of all buttons that could be manipulated on the front. This should help with aggressive twisting.
Small pieces of hook and loop tape, will provide a wonderful sensory experience.
Little plastic pockets can hold pictures of family members and be changed out.
Fussy cutting material that has themes like this recipe will stimulate reading or memories of cooking
Zippers and ribbon can be sewn directly on top of the mat using decorative stitches.
Appliqued fabric shapes and different stitches will help imaginations go to work.
Beads and buttons can be moved back and forth across ribbon or twine.
Sweet pieces of lace can be held and admired.
This mat even has two bows that can be used to attach the mat to wheelchairs or the arms of a sitting chair.
Here is another color combination with more ideas. It is really up to your imagination and creativity what you decide to add to these mats. There is a gallery below with more pictures to inspire you. If you have small scraps, don't throw them out. We used several embroidered items that were on other projects but had to be cut apart because of mistakes. Everything is a possibility. For a minimal investment, you can create something that will be helpful for the patient and it may also assist the caregiver as it will help comfort the loved one they are watching over. I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you have learned and are generous with what you make. Someone will appreciate your hard work
ˌlanˈyap,ˈlanˌyap - something given as a bonus or extra gift