Inspiring Stories

Activity Bags Keep Dementia Patients Busy

Being in the hospital isn’t easy. And it can be even more confusing and disorienting for a person living with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. Now, a new solution at Methodist Jennie Edmundson Hospital is making the hospital stay for patients with memory or dementia challenges just a little easier.

Donations of love

Thanks to the generosity of some skilled sewers and passionate volunteers at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we were able to create and fill 50 Busy Bags for our patients to use. Ladies from the church donated the fabric and sewed the soft-cotton drawstring bags. They also stopped by our Methodist Jennie Edmundson Family Resource Center a few weeks ago to stuff them with items that could provide mental and tactile stimulation. 

Solutions for a problem

The idea came about thanks to our team of nurses on the Methodist Jennie Edmundson Hospital Nurse Practice Committee, headed by Loretta Pierce. Loretta and her nurses noticed that many dementia patients suffered from distress while in the hospital, and so did their family and nursing caregivers. The solution came in finding a way to keep the patients’ minds occupied while they were receiving medical care.

Together, Loretta and I brainstormed for ideas and donations. The result came in the form of the Busy Bags.

Right away, nurses noticed a difference. Patients who were given the bags were in less distress and more engaged and excited about their new-found bag of gifts – gifts they were able to keep and take home.

What’s inside?

Every bag is different and every toy inside the bag is different. There is everything from “squishies” and “scrubbies” to soft toy animals and cards. Our goal was to fill the bags with items that would occupy the mind, providing a non-stressful way for patients to complete their hospital stay.

Special thanks to the volunteers who made these bags possible!