People with dementia can often experience fidgeting behaviour and feel the need to be occupied, engaged and included in activities. We often encourage our service users to take part in activities to keep the mind active, such as puzzles, drawing/colouring and crafting as it can help them feel calmer and more relaxed.
The Alzheimer’s Society and the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) have teamed up to create an innovative range of tactile wooden tools, known as Fidget Widgets, to help provide meaningful activity for those living with dementia.
The specially designed widgets, manufactured by Active Minds, use touch, feel and repetitive movements and each have a motion such as spin, slide, twist, turn and roll. The tools allow the users to play, interact and get creative without the need to rely on memory or words.
The idea was developed by Alzheimer’s Society Dementia Adviser, Judith Bower and Senior Graphic Design Lecturer at UCLan, Jane Souyave. After speaking to numerous carers where fidgeting and repetitive movement was often the subject of conversation, they realised that there was a gap in the care market.
Judith said on the Alzheimer’s Society website recently: “Carers often described fidgeting as a negative and disruptive behaviour. We wanted to create something that would tackle this idea, while, at the same time, creating something engaging that people with dementia could benefit from.”
The duo tested the tools in day centres, care homes and people’s homes during a two-year period. The tests showed that men and women engaged with the tools equally.
There are five tools in the range, the roll, spin, turn, slide and twist Fidget and the motion of each one can help relax or calm and individual or support repetitive actions.
We think the range is great. The tools are simple to use and eco-friendly too as they’re made of wood and we’d definitely recommend investing in one or two, or even the whole kit, if you have a family member with dementia.
Each of the Fidget Widgets are available individually from www.alzheimers.org.uk/shop for £12.98 each or a full Fidget Widget Toolkit is available for £59.99.
*Information and picture from www.alzheimerssociety.org.uk.