How an apron can help the brain

by Andrea Powell, HPCCR Marketing Manager

aprons 08 14

Three generous sewers from Queen of Apostles Church in Belmont who have been making aprons, (l to r): Eleanor Urby, Alison Nolting, and Lynn Spada. Not pictured is Judy Kubacki who has also worked tirelessly to make fidget aprons.

In my kitchen I have about seven or eight aprons hanging from a peg on the wall.  They’ve been there so long that I barely notice them.  I pull one or two of them out during the holidays (when I start baking like a crazy person), but for the most part, the simple concept of an apron doesn’t occupy any space in my brain.  But now I have a new appreciation for aprons because, with a few simple modifications, I know that they are capable of much, much more than just clothing protection when cooking.  They can actually benefit the brain.

People are often surprised to learn that nearly 20% of HPCCR hospice patients in 2013 had some form of dementia.  No one really thinks of dementia as causing death but as cells die in the brain, many functions in the body begin to shut down as well.

Watching a loved one succumb to dementia or Alzheimer’s disease is especially stressful. Communication becomes difficult and eventually moves to nearly impossible.  Family and friends are anxious to make connections, but have no idea how.  And they feel helpless looking for something to soothe the restlessness that often accompanies dementia.

Enter the fidget apron.

We’ve written about the fidget apron before.  Last year, we asked for community members to help out by making one (or donating the fabric) to contribute to our goal of 300 aprons for dementia patients in Charlotte and surrounding areas.  Well, we’d like your help again.

A few generous souls (who also happen to be wonderful sewers) at Queen of Apostles Catholic Church in Belmont are currently making fidget aprons for HPCCR.  And our clinical staff members are swiping those aprons for dementia patients as fast as they come off the sewing machines.  In fact, there’s a waiting list.

That’s because these aprons are very soothing to patients with dementia.  They have pockets as well as maneuverable items affixed to them to keep restless hands busy.  And when the hands are busy, the patient is calmer and slightly more open to communication.  It’s no wonder the aprons are in such demand.

You can help by donating cloth for an apron or by donating some of the fun items that get sewn onto the apron: fur, fringe, large buttons, beads, keys, nylon cord, and zippers (to name just a few).  So far, the women at Queen of Apostles Catholic Church have been spending their own money to buy the materials for the aprons and, as you can imagine, that slightly hinders the process a bit.  I can’t imagine how many they could make if they had the materials already purchased and readily available at their fingertips. . .

So consider helping out.  Buy some fabric or some fringe and donate it to this very worthy cause.  We have a staff member at HPCCR, Cheryl Fleming, who is a parishoner of Queen of Apostles Catholic Church and would be happy to help coordinate the drop off or pick up of your donation.

Me, I’ve got my eye on a few of those aprons hanging on the peg in my kitchen.  I certainly don’t need all of them, especially knowing how much they could help our patients.  And I’m sure a few of them would look even cuter with some fur and fringe.  And maybe a few buttons.

Explore posts in the same categories: awareness, dementia, end of life, hospice

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