Who knew fidget blankets would be so popular?

Alexandria resident Rosemary Chatterson is reaching out to the public for donations of supplies for the fidget blankets she has been making for local hospitals, seniors residences, and most recently, private individuals.

A fidget blanket is a lap quilt which provides sensory stimulation and entertainment for dementia patients. Each quilt contains a number of objects aimed at stimulating seniors and reducing boredom. Chatterson began making them last summer, when she was asked by Maxville Manor if she could create a couple of fidget blankets for the residence’s day-program dementia patients, who were stuck at home due to the pandemic.

Within a few weeks, Chatterson had made more than 40 fidget blankets for local seniors residences and hospitals. The demand just continued to grow from other institutions and private citizens after The Review published an article in August of 2020 about her work https://thereview.ca/2020/08/18/alexandria-resident-donating-fidget-blankets-for-dementia-patients/. Since the article was published, Chatterson has created more than 400 fidget blankets, which she provides free of charge.

“I just donated the 407th blanket,” said Chatterson last week. “I can’t believe I have made that many – I just have to shake my head.”

About a month ago, the Alexandria resident posted an advertisement for her free fidget blankets on online buy-and-sell websites. After posting the ads, she was inundated with a deluge of requests from private citizens.

“(I’ve been contacted by) people who have children with autism, or they have a parent in a home who has dementia – since then, I’ve just been making custom blankets,” said Chatterson, who adorns her blankets with items which will appeal to the recipient. “It’s been really fun now that I’m customizing them for the person who I know is getting it.”

With such a high demand for her fidget blankets and many stores closed, one issue has been finding enough material to create her intricate designs. Much of the material used so far has been through donations from residents in the community and Chatterson is hoping people will step up once again as her supplies are beginning to run low.

Right now she is in need of items such as old quilts and quilted mattress pads (used for backing), zippers, thread, colourful buttons, tassels, toggles, and all types of other items for her blankets. Anyone wishing to donate to the fidget blanket project can call Chatterson at 613-525-1336 or contact her by email at [email protected] and she will arrange to pick them up.

Chatterson has set up the Faxebook page Hillcrest Stitchery for any organization, hospital or nursing home, or individuals who might require fidget blankets for patients or a loved one. The website features photos of a number of different blankets she has made over the past year.