Lap blanket project kicks off with widespread support

Published 11:56 am Tuesday, November 20, 2018

By EMILY SPARACINO / Staff Writer 

COLUMBIANA – The sewing room at the Columbiana Senior Center was more crowded than usual Nov. 14 as several visitors came by to thank a group of women who have been making lap blankets for local patients.

“We wanted to do something for people with Alzheimer’s and dementia and their families,” said Robyn James, Middle Alabama Area Agency on Aging’s development and marketing director.

The Chelsea Community Center served as a collection site for donations of fabric and accessories for the blankets.

“We were just blessed,” Programs Director Jane Ann Mueller said. “People kept bringing bags of stuff.”

Members of the Senior Center Sewers, also known as “Sarah’s Rippers,” have sewn the blankets during their weekly club meetings at the Columbiana Senior Center the last couple months.

“It’s been great,” Columbiana Senior Center Director Ali Conn Payne said of the project. “We’ll continue to make them.”

The small blankets, also called activity or fidget blankets, are free to recipients and have items like buttons and ribbons sewn on top to give patients something to do with their hands if they are upset.

“It’s used as a tool to calm them,” Mueller said.

Senior centers in Pea Ridge, Pelham, Montevallo and Westover also contributed to the project, which will continue indefinitely, James said.

“You guys have done some incredible work,” James said to the sewers. “There’s a lot of people in need of these blankets.”

Anyone interested in helping with the project should contact James at (205) 670-5770.