Benefits of Tactile Quilts

Sensory stimulation has been found to help Alzheimer’s and other Dementia patients to relate to their world. This is the use of activities and products that encourage the patient to explore using one or more of their senses. These quilts are designed to use a minimum of two and up to four of the five senses to encourage the patient to connect with their past as well as to interact with others.

  • Best for moderate to advanced Alzheimer’s or Dementia.
  • The quilts engage the mind with multiple textures.
  • We use age appropriate, lifelike pictures so patient doesn’t think they are being treated like a child as well as making an easier connection to what the thing is. For example, if it looks like a real duck it is easier to recognize than a stylized one.
  • Gives them something to fidget with when agitated
  • Gives people something to talk about with the patient to engage in meaningful conversation. “What feels best?” “What kind of animal is that?” Also can encourage them to talk to each other about the pictures, colors or textures.
  • Lightweight so easy to manipulate. Also easy on hands with arthritis and those with thin skin that tends to dent and become sore with pressure. Safe for both the patient and the caregiver, even with patients who act out physically
  • Crinkle material is CPSIA and EN71 compliant
  • Flannel backing – Holds on to clothing better so less slipping to the floor and so less need for the caregiver to pick up or the patient to risk a fall to do so.
  • Machine washable – during our testing quilts were used and washed daily in facilities for months and came out looking almost the same as when they first got them. FYI – some fabrics, particularly the soft/fuzzy ones will shed some at the beginning. These are threads that were cut during construction and are working their way out. This does not affect wearability of the materials and will taper off.

How can we help your loved one?

Dementia in all its forms (and there are over 60 varieties) is devastating to both the person and their family and friends. While some progressions are swift, some are extremely slow but progress they will.

Often there is a lot of stress and fear in the person with dementia as the disease progresses and they have a world that is constantly changing around them and they are surrounded by people they don’t know. Our quilts are designed to help them calm down when they are stressed and afraid. We make sure that the fabrics we use are age appropriate so that they don’t feel like they are being treated like children and we choose images that are not stylized that require more work to understand what the thing is they are looking at. For example, we use cats that look like real cats instead of just outlines. We strive to offer a variety of images so that they can relate to a favorite activity, landscape, animal or other item that would have meaning for the person. These work well to help caregivers and others to stay connected. One resident in a local community grew up on a farm and their quilt had a picture of a barn. When with other residents he would talk about how he grew up and would talk about working in a barn caring for animals, the chores he did, etc. No-one had known about his past in the community until his daughter gave him the quilt and spurred him to talk about it. Now he has something to share with the others and it encourages them to talk about their pasts as well.

The different materials we use on the quilts all have different textures so, while they will have a favorite one or two, they will want the different inputs at different times. They may find that the rough texture is more soothing when they are under a lot of stress but that a satiny one makes them feel good at bedtime – like the edge of a favorite baby blanket.

The goal is to keep our loved ones engaged in the world for as long as possible, we are simply trying to make that easier to do.