Sew an Alzheimer’s Activity Mat

Alzheimer's Activity Mat as seen on Sewing With Nancy

Sew an Alzheimer’s Activity Mat

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Alzheimer's Activity Mat as seen on Sewing With Nancy

Sew an Alzheimer’s Activity Mat with free sewing instructions as seen on Sewing With Nancy! Marcia Engquist, who designs Alzheimer’s Activity Aids, designed these activity mats after watching residents at a care center restlessly fidget. These easy-to-sew activity mats help sooth the agitated fidgeting of people with dementia or autism. Plus, the mats help focus their attention, stimulate senses, exercise hand muscles, and entertain users.

Sew an Alzheimer's Activity Mat as seen on Sewing With Nancy Zieman

Activity Mats are the size of a placemat and include pockets, zippers, buttons, strings of beads, bells, etc. They may also include a textured pocket with a soft toy or vinyl pocket for photos. Making activity mats is a great volunteer opportunity and gift from the heart. The free sewing instructions are available as a pdf file.

Sew an Alzheimer's Activity Mat as seen on Sewing With Nancy ZiemanPurpose of the Alzheimer’s Activity Mats

The activity mats are designed to safely stimulate and soothe people with Alzheimer’s and other cognitive challenges, while providing a better quality of LIFE.

L – Lift spirits and entertain users while relieving caregivers.

I – Interest  users in items on the mat. This stimulates senses and reinforces memory.

F – Focus user’s attention during therapy or conversation with a caregiver. Helps visitors and staff find topics of conversation with users.

E – Exercise hands and fingers.

Sew an Alzheimer's Activity Mat as seen on Sewing With Nancy ZiemanSew an Alzheimer's Activity Mat as seen on Sewing With Nancy ZiemanSewing Alzheimer’s Activity Mats

To make your own activity mats, download the free sewing instructions. Feel free to modify them to suit the interests of the recipients. For additional ideas on sewing for Alzheimer patients, go to the Alzheimer’s Activity Aids website.

How to sew an Alzheimer's Activity Mat as seen on Sewing With Nancy ZiemanHow to sew an Alzheimer's Activity Mat as seen on Sewing With Nancy Zieman

Watch our Sewing With Nancy interview online

How to sew Alzheimer's Activity Mats as seen on Sewing With Nancy Zieman

Nancy Zieman's Giveaway Winner

The random winner from a previous blog is Jennifer Swenson. She said, I look forward to seeing this book. Fit is always important. The giveaway book, Create the Perfect Fitwas generously donated by Joi Mahon.

Create the Perfect Fit by Joi Mahon as seen on Nancy Zieman's Blog

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Nancy Zieman The Blog

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  • Ellon
    October 21, 2014

    Thank you Nancy. My Mom died of Alzheimer. I know she would have liked this mat. I am going to make these for those who need them. I have plenty of fabric that can be used. Alzheimer is very hard on the person who has it and the caregivers. Many blessings to your family and you.

  • Martha
    October 21, 2014

    My 93 year old mother and my 91 year old father-in-law both have Alzheimer’s. This would occasionally keep them stimulated. It’s a brutal disease and so hard on the caregivers. Thank you for the directions.

  • Debe
    October 21, 2014

    What a great idea. My FIL has some dementia, but isn’t bad enough for this, yet, but now I have an idea for later on if needed. I will show an example in my embroidery club as there are many who have loved ones with Alzheimer’s. Thank you.

  • Judith Adams
    October 21, 2014

    My husband was diagnosed with early onset dementia last year and on my carers course ‘fiddle blankets’ were mentioned. I’ve since been making them and adapt them to each receipient with past hobbies and memory reminders on them.

  • Kim M. Harrington
    October 21, 2014

    This is a very useful and helpful idea. Having several people that I love going through this issue right now. I really feel the impact it has on the family and the victim. Thank you for the pdf!

  • Rosemary
    October 21, 2014

    LOVE the idea! How great to include pictures which helps patients remember family.

  • Audrey
    October 21, 2014

    Our Fabric Fun Arts And Craft Club in The Villages, FL has been making “Fidgit Quilts” for some time. They have donated hundreds to local Alzheimer’s homes and are greatly appreciated. We had one special sewing day where we made Military Fidgit Quilts by special request for the VA Clinics in the area. Anything goes that is safe for the patient. As with making things for children you have to be sure buttons or eyes can’t be pulled off etc. these same ideas of different tactile methods has been used on baby blankets for years also.

  • Carol
    October 21, 2014

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful idea! It touches my heart. My mom had Alzheimer’s Disease and this would have been a great way to spend time with her. I definitely will make some mats to share.

  • Elaine
    October 22, 2014

    Thanks for the idea. I’m going to make one for my mother-in-law.

  • Barbara Orlando
    October 22, 2014

    The Fort Atkinson Piecemakers Quilt Guild are making 20 of these “Fidget Quilts” for 2 Alzheimer Homes in Jefferson County WI. We read an article in Quiltmers Newsletter Magazine last month an adopted this as one of our charity projects.

  • Cyndy McDonald
    October 22, 2014

    Never heard of these, but am going to start making them for sure. Thank-you for another wonderful project.

  • meg
    October 23, 2014

    Our hospital group has just started making these mats and I welcome your very creative ideas for us.
    Many thanks for sharing this.

  • Janet Sabol
    October 23, 2014

    I tried to copy the 10 page instructions but only the far left 1/4 of the page 1 would print. How can I get the complete instructions so that a group could make these? Thank you for your response. We have a number of care units in town that could benefit from these activity mats.

  • Sheesh
    October 28, 2014

    cannot get any of the links to work.

  • Shari
    April 26, 2015

    I think this is a wonderful idea. I worked at a rehab facility that had a memory care unit. From a therapy point of view, this would encourage residents to retain dressing skills of buttoning, zipping, donning clothing with velcro closures longer as well as maintaining fine motor skills. What a great idea. I’m wondering how to make it look more masculine for our male patients.

  • Lisa
    January 10, 2016

    I work with dementia patients and I can’t wait to make some for my unit. Thank you for the directions.

  • Valerie
    February 22, 2016

    Where could I buy one? My mom has alzheimers. I don’t sew. Thank you!

  • Debbie Giancola
    February 23, 2016

    My sister suffers with Alzheimer’s where can I purchase a mat for her I live in Toronto, Ontario Canada
    Thanking you it would be greatly appreciated

  • Barbara
    February 24, 2016

    Wow what a great project idea. This is the perfect way to use up all the odds and ends notions that I have accumulated. Thanks for the idea

  • Debra
    February 27, 2016

    Valerie and Debbie giancoIa will make you one send me an email with address
    my 2016 pay it forward projects…

  • Rachel Moore
    April 12, 2016

    Alzheimers is generally termed under a broad denomination of mental diseases and afllictions which are collectively termed as “dementia”. Dementia however is not a single disease, its an umbrella that encompasses all the problems related to healthy and proper brain function. Its basically a broad term to describe a loss of memory, intellect, rationality, social skills and speech. You can also read about some more Home Remedies For Alzheimer from

    July 17, 2016

    Hi Ms.Zieman,

    Im currently completing my gold award for Girl Scouts of America. My project for the hospice care home consists of building sensory activity pads. Ive already started, but is there any advice you can give me regarding building these mats?

  • laura jetet
    August 22, 2016

    Do you have a patten for a child’s chew toy my grandson has autism and chews up his shirts we would welcome any ideals

  • Zoecat
    August 24, 2016

    Laura, have you tried chewy tubes for your son? You can search for them on Amazon. My daughter has a brain injury & will chew on clothing or fingers, unless she has some sort of oral stimulation.

  • Małgorzata
    October 22, 2016

    What a great idea! I sewed activity books for kids. But I’ve never known that it would be good for people Alzheimer patients. I will sew one for my uncle. Thank you!
    Best wishes from Poland!

  • Edelmira flores
    January 13, 2017

    Please email me I would like to see if I can bring some of these mats to Guatemala elder care home with many needed patients. Tank you

  • Darci
    February 2, 2017

    Thank you for sharing this project. My grandma had Alzheimer’s Disease and I was her caregiver for 3 years. She has passed now, but I have a few other people that I might make these for. Very helpful! ☺ ~Side note: you have influenced me to start my home seamstress business in 1994 and used many of your ideas and products while doing that. I have taken a break to raise my kids, but plan on getting back into it within a year or so. I hope this year brings you good health and happiness. ☺

  • Peggy Kibbe
    February 12, 2017

    I plan to make some fidget pads for a nursing home that our SS class is sponsoring.

    I have some sturdy fabric for the mat, but I need to know if you put inner padding in it. OR, do you just use 2 layers of fabric?

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  • Louise
    May 24, 2017

    Thanks for these detailed instructions! I have made two so far before I came across any instructions and am working on my second Crocheted Twiddlemuff. I wanted to mention that when I made the mat for Mom, I printed a family photo onto washable fabric and sewed it on like a pocket. I put lace edging/frame around three sides of it. Staples carries this printable washable fabric by Avery in Ontario, Canada (03384).

  • vanessa willey
    November 16, 2017

    Wow, what a wonderful idea. thank you so much. RIP Nancy

  • leigh schneider
    January 4, 2018

    For those people whose relative are suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease and maybe reading this, I find it hard that people are still ignorant of herbal medicine when it comes to treating Alzheimer’s Disease.
    I have been through many phases over the last couple of years since my father’s diagnosis, he was 53 years old and had Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease and his diagnosis changed my life in many ways, I spend most of the time in denial and I keep thinking the tests were wrong. But deep down I knew they were correct. Though sharing his story is very difficult. He was always very successful in being able to accomplish anything he set his mind on doing. Alzheimer’s is a bitch of a disease. It began by robbing his recent memory, but it didn’t stop there. It continues to steal, taking the most recent memories until it has pilfered all but the oldest memories, he experienced a decline in his ability to think, remember and make decisions. I feel a need to express my thoughts and feelings about how it affected his day to day living and how its deteriorated since despite the help of some wonderful medics and medicine.
    I remind myself how lucky to come across Charanjit rychtova’s herbal medicine which is able to control this disease without any side effect, I felt a moment of relief hoping that he is free from this ailment, and nothing compares to the healing power of nature. Now I believe almost every health problem can be addressed in one natural way or another. The only thing I wanted was for him to feel better. I’m proud to say my Dad is Alzheimer’s free. You can also contact him for advice and more info. [email protected]

  • Ellen Carbarnes
    July 20, 2018

    Silly question. Do you complete making the front of the mat and THEN assemble? I’d think you do that so the back is solid fabric. Or perhaps you sew the activities to the front fabric and the inner support so they don’t pull up? Thanks for any advice.

  • Angela Obrien
    October 20, 2018

    Hi I have been making fidget cushions for somewhile now I made over 220 to date. I have given them all away to homes personal relatives of friends . My friends have been so supportive in donating materials and haberdashery so Im able carry on with my cushions. The pleasure I get when handing over my cushions to alzheimer suffers is rewarding enough. I would like to post some pictures in here to give other sewers some ideas. Please can you inform me how to do it. Regards Angie Obrien.

  • Dneeane Hyde
    December 18, 2018

    Does anyone have one of the Alzheimer’s activity mat for sale, been looking for one – if so, please contact me at [email protected]

    Thank you

  • Domenica Claude
    January 17, 2019

    “Cool img!!”

  • Willie Williams
    November 14, 2019

    I am looking for a activity blanket for my wife. She is a Alzheimer at home patient and I have been looking for some in home activities for her. We live in Huntsville, the North Alabama area

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