Gardens at Westlake residents volunteer for worthy cause

Gardens at Westlake Resident Lillian Dittrch

On a beautiful, February afternoon, residents from the Gardens at Westlake gathered at Birds of a Feather craft shop in Westlake to provide their time for the worthy cause of making lap blankets for those with dementia.

The project was developed by Michele Gillum, volunteer coordinator for Hospice of the Western Reserve. It was brought to Michele’s attention that often dementia residents like to hold something that provides some form of tactile stimulation for them and surprisingly the lap blankets, which have been titled “tactile lies,” provide that. The different textured fabrics offer the pleasurable stimuli they enjoy. Also strips are sewn together with three different rows of ribbons which are then sewn into the seams that add a soft, fluffy backing.

The project was developed in January with the goal to make 200 lap blankets and has surpassed that overwhelmingly. All fabric is donated and Birds of a Feather donated the space for those interested to be involved in the project. The lap blankets are then given to Hospice patients with dementia.

The residents at the Gardens at Westlake took advantage of the opportunity to volunteer for this worthy project because they wanted to be helpful and are also developing a state-of-the art Life Enhancement Program for dementia residents. The facility will hire a certified dementia practitioner which is the latest innovation for activities so they are well qualified in their new position with professional skills to oversee the program. The Gardens' residents will also be making more projects beneficial to those with dementia.

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Volume 4, Issue 5, Posted 1:20 PM, 03.06.2012