Alzheimer’s Caregiver Turns Nervous Energy into Loving Gift

Nancy Rose has a lot of nervous energy. She also loves to sew, and has a house filled with fabric she’d collected for an as-yet-to-be-discovered good purpose. All she needed was inspiration.

Nancy’s mother has Alzheimer’s disease, and in her search for something that might bring her mom some comfort, Nancy came across sensory quilts, unique handcrafted items that are designed to provide tactile stimulation for people with dementia who are experiencing their world through their senses.

That was the spark Nancy needed. Now, one year and more than 120 quilts later, Nancy isn’t slowing down. Each quilt, lovingly handmade as if it were for Nancy’s own mother, is donated to families and assisted living facilities throughout the Front Range.

“It doesn’t feel right to charge for them,” Nancy said. “People with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers have enough to deal with.”

Never mind that you will find sensory quilts selling online for $50. You’ll see them for $70. Even as high as $130. Money’s not the endgame for this motivated volunteer.

“If people use the quilts, even if only for an afternoon, it’s worth it,” she said.

The quilts include elements that can be manipulated by the person and alleviate boredom, channel energy, and allow for success as the person engages with the various parts of the quilt. But for some recipients, they’re more than that. One recipient hung his quilt on the wall so that he could look at it every day.dsc_1434

Nancy Rose’s quilts formed the centerpieces at 70 tables at the Alzheimer’s Association of Colorado’s recent Reason to Hope fundraising luncheon that drew nearly 700 people to learn more about the disease that affects 67,000 Coloradans and nearly a quarter of a million caregivers. Each quilt was donated to a local family or assisted living facility so it could be enjoyed by a person with dementia.

“Nancy Rose is an amazing volunteer,” said Michelle Nelson, development manager for the Alzheimer’s Association of Colorado and coordinator of the Reason to Hope event. “As a person who is living with the disease in her own family, she is committed to learning as much as she can about it while volunteering her own time and resources to make a difference.”

To learn more about volunteer opportunities with the Alzheimer’s Association of Colorado, click here or call Deb Wells at 303-813-1669.

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