Monday Memories With My Mom

The Adventures of Caring for a Mom With Alzheimer's Disease
         When I arrived for a visit, I saw that my mom had this little "touch quilt" or "fidget quilt", I have heard them called, on her lap.  This was a small one, but it had a satin piece, a piece of lace, a rough patch, rick rack and a pocket sewn on.  I commented to one of the staff about them, and she showed me they had a few of them.  I am not sure if they are new or just something I've not seen before.  Either way, I was glad to see these as my mom's best friend, Jane, is a big quilter and my mom used to spend lots of time helping her make her quilts.  They would spend weeks in the summer in Northern Michigan buying fabric, piecing, ironing, sewing, and whatever else is involved in quilting.  I know it is a lot of work!!  They also had a tradition of attending a "quilt auction" every summer which I have also attended.  So, I have to think that this small touch quilt may have triggered some fond memories for my mom.

Especially when I looked close and saw the little details on the yellow fabric.  I commented to my mom that it was a lot like when she and Jane used to work on quilts.  My mom agreed.
     I like the idea of these fidget quilts.  I know for awhile we had kind of a "busy box" in my mom's old apartment.  Just a tin filled with odds and ends for her to rifle through and "fidget" with.  However, in this shared nursing environment, keeping track of the contents would be difficult.  That is why the idea of these various items and textures sewn on the quilt is appealing.  I found several examples of cute fidget quilts on the internet.  I believe there are some groups out there making these for Alzheimer's and dementia patients.  I like the idea of using some scraps of fabric and sewing notions and putting them together for something like this.  Helps beat the boredom and stimulates the senses and possibly some memories among other things.  Perhaps when I am retired, I can pay it forward and make some of these.  Seems like I may be able to handle it.  The only sewing machine I have is my mom's which is very old and very basic.  It is also still at my mom's condo.  It's also the only sewing machine I (used to) know how to work!!?  Hmmmm...  Clean the house, or start sewing!?
Photo Credit www.smokeybarn.com
    I think I really need to consider adjusting my schedule.  As I've mentioned before, it seems my best time to visit my mom always falls in the "after lunch" hours a/k/a "sleepy time".  I'm not sure when might be a better time to visit as the evenings I'm usually tied up with my kids.  I could try something around 10:00 am and see what happens, but there is almost always an activity scheduled at that time.  If I arrive too early it is shower, getting dressed and breakfast time, activity, lunch, nap, activity, nap, dinner...  I don't know.  Maybe my best bet is just being able to go outside and getting some fresh air, which hopefully will come sooner than later.  They also seem to keep the heat close to 80 degrees, so who wouldn't fall asleep -- makes me want to fall asleep, too!!! 
     Although the activity calendar is full, and I was told that earlier my mom had been watching Sound of Music in honor of the movie's 50th anniversary...
     I had a hard time getting much more than this out of the crowd...  I will hope for a more meaningful visit next time.  I will say I would rather find the residents sleeping in chairs than in bed all day.  They do have a routine there, and perhaps my mom is "too busy" for me!!??  Maybe the morning Sound of Music party got a little crazy and wiped everyone out.  I think I better think of some kind of entertainment to bring along next time I visit, perhaps some photos.  Either way, I know she appreciates my visits, and I remind myself that she is warm, safe and loved.

Sleepy, Sleepy, Sleepy and Sleepy...


Jeanette said...

I think those fidgit quilts are a great idea! When my mother-in-law had dementia and was in a nursing home she had a small purse that she kept all sorts of treasures in (and pens! for some reason she loved pens!) and she used to take them all out and look at everything. Sometimes she would do that several times in the couple of hours that we would be visiting her! Have a good week and enjoy the warmer weather we are finally getting!

Julia said...

I love the fidgit quilt. I'm sure it can keep the residents occupied for a little while.

I don't see your mom with her little white puppy anymore. Does she only hold it in her room? She seems to love that little puppy.

As I age I find that I like the heat up a little bit in the evening. My metabolism seems to not work as efficiently as it used to.

Take care,

Kim said...

One of my Mom's caregivers made her a "busy apron". It had lots of pockets with different shapes and textures hidden inside. It was incredible

yaya said...

This looks like a wonderful idea and would make a good service project for girl scouts or youth groups to do for nursing homes. I might have to bring this up to our young women's president in our church. I'll get back to you on the size and amount of things to put on the quilt. I could fit in with the tv watchers..I find myself snoozing off many times! It was 50de. today and sunny! I thought I woke up in an alternate universe! Now if all the snow and ice would just disappear I'd be a happy camper!

judith lockhart said...

I have never seen the fidget quilts but they are quite interesting. Might think about making one sometime. Thanks for sharing.

jmac said...

you are, and should be told, an angel on earth! for being such a warm hug and safe place for your mom to land....when she needs to.
I only had to take care of my mom for a few months before her time came and it was the hardest thing to do in my life. Specially since it came only yrs after my daddy.
So I can only imagine how that lingering place of sometimes lucid, sometimes not, must be.
Aging is such a scary thing, especially since we don't know how our time with it will be.
You are a good daughter. And she knows it!

Arlene - Caregiver ordinaire said...

Hi Cindy! As usual, you have the best blog!! I love this one; I've lost count of the ways that I kept mom busy through the years. Buttons, beads, seashells, etc... but i love this idea. Even at the end, they are still busy from time to time. You are an excellent daughter/mom and your Mom knows deep down somewhere that you are her friend and connection to the outside. You do so well at it, I'm envious!! :)arlene