A kind-hearted woman has been busy knitting ‘fidget blankets’ during lockdown to help those living with dementia.
Anne Ellington, 62, of Aberdeen, turned her own personal tragedy into something positive to combat the loneliness of care home residents.
Anne, known as ‘Terri’ to friends and family, was diagnosed with osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia before lockdown.
As a result of her condition, which causes pain all over the body, she has been unable to work since.
That, combined with the isolation of lockdown, meant Anne had to find a new focus.
She said: “I like to keep my mind occupied, but more than ever over the last year during lockdown.”
“I really miss working, so I’ve treated the different projects I’ve found a bit like work.”
Anne began her lockdown knitting by making 250 scrub bags for nurses to keep their clothes in when on shift.
Then, inspired by YouTube videos about fidget mitts and blankets for dementia patients, she launched a Facebook appeal to gauge interest.
Richard Lake from Balhousie Huntly care home was keen to receive some for the residents.
He said: “I’m so glad that we saw Anne’s Facebook post about her beautiful fidget blankets, we’ve been overwhelmed by her thoughtfulness.
“Our residents have already benefitted from the blankets, which are such a comfort and a wonderful way to trigger memories.”
Anne made 35 blankets in total adorned with items such as soft toys, buttons, ribbons and zips.
This is not the first time Anne has thrown herself into something new.
Tragically, her son, Bryan, died in 2005 when he was just 22.
He was studying fashion and textiles so Anne, aged 50 then, went to college to honour his memory.
Whilst there, she won several prizes for Best Student and was even offered a place at Gray’s School of Art.
Now, Anne plans to make more fidget blankets for residents in other care homes across Scotland.
To source materials, Anne has appealed for donations on social media.
She said: “Until now, I’ve managed to pull together materials and features, such as toys myself or from Facebook Marketplace.
“It would be lovely if I could pick up more materials to keep making these.
She also plans to make blankets suitable for gentlemen with neckties, laces and leather patches.
“It’s been lovely to see the residents at Balhousie Huntly getting so much enjoyment out of them.”
If you can help by making a donation or donating items for the blankets, please contact Anne at firstname.lastname@example.org