Local church making, donating ‘Fidget Mats’ for those with dementia

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VESTAVIA HILLS, Ala. (WIAT) — Max Scott, 86, lives in a Birmingham nursing home with Parkinson’s disease.

A picture of Max Scott, 86. Courtesy: Suzanne Scott-Trammell

Scott’s daughter, Suzanne Scott-Trammell, belongs to Vestavia Hills United Methodist Church. The church has actively worked to make experiences inclusive with sensory-sensitive services and has been making “Fidget Mats” for the elderly.

”If they have some form of dementia or they’re at an end of life issue, they fidget,” the program’s initial leader Peggy Patton said. “They’re nervous, so it gives them something to pull, to twist, to hold onto.”

Scott-Trammell then gave a personalized one to her dad.

An Auburn University-themed Fidget Mat.

“Huge Auburn fan, went to school at Auburn, worked at Auburn University,” Scott-Trammell said.

Made of everything from your junk drawer and a placemat, the church’s Fidget Mat Ministry has made hundreds of them, personalizing and donating them to nursing homes in the area.

A picture of Senior Pastor of VHUMC Dr. Bill Brunson’s late mother’s Fidget Mat. Brunson said his mother loved it.

“It’s not a difficult thing to make,” Patton said. “When you’re lucky enough to have someone stop by and bring a bag that has things that are familiar to that person. What’s great about these fidget mats is not just that they care fidget. But the caregiver can say, “isn’t that a key ring for a Ford” and it might spark a conversation.”

Scott-Trammell says her father Max has really benefited from it.

“With Alzheimer’s, you can’t really focus on things too much,” Scott-Trammell said. “What is interesting is that he can fidget a lot. So, he’s able to do that while we’re talking and it seems to really help his concentration.”

Senior pastor at VHUMC Dr. William Brunson told CBS 42 the story of when his mother had been suffering from dementia.

“I took this over to her. She laid it on her lap just looked at it a bit and put it to the side,” he said. “Next time I went to see her, it was in her lap. She was sitting there pulling the zipper back and forth. I asked her what she was doing. She then told me a story about when she made a dress for someone long ago.”

“I know first hand what a blessing these are,” Pastor Bunson said.

Scott-Trammell said, after she donated to her father at the St Martin’s at the Pines nursing home, the staff was begging for more.

“So we brought about 20 more and she was like, ‘they are just loving these. It’s amazing,'” Scott-Trammell said

Now they need to hear from people who want them. The church wants to make them for you.

They’re also always looking for supply donations.

You can request one for someone who needs it by reaching out to Vestavia Hills United Methodist Church at 205-822-9631.


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