Changing lives one button, ribbon and zipper at a time

May 15, 2018

Vestavia Hills United Methodist Church is extending its ministry to those with memory care limitations in a fresh, new way by creating fidget mats. The purpose of the fidget mats, officially known as "Sensory/Tactile Mats," is to help persons with dementia stimulate their minds with objects that allow them to stretch, clip, button, move, squeeze, slide or zip and unzip.

For example, a fidget mat for a man might have a sleeve from a flannel shirt so he can button and unbutton. A handkerchief or bandana can be placed so it can be pulled out of a pocket. Any item that serves as a reminder of the past will work and each mat has its own distinct activities.

Items to collect include place mats, fabric scraps or objects such as lace, corduroy, shoelaces, old belts, elastic, buttons, keys, puff balls, zippers or pockets. Volunteers do not have to be great seamstresses, just someone willing to help others. The mat needs to be safe and well-constructed since it could be washed often. Using the model of an old fashioned sewing bee, ladies at Vestavia Hills UMC have already constructed 70 mats and will continue to make more.

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