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Alzheimer Society Looking For Volunteer Quilters

Quilts are eye catching, wonderful to touch and they spark memories.

That’s why the Alzheimer Society of Manitoba (ASM) is looking for volunteer quilters to help make about 10,000 quilts this year.

“Our goal is to get a quilt made for each person in every personal-care home in Manitoba,” said Marge Warkentin regional co-ordinator with the ASM.

Almost 19,000 Manitobans currently have Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia. There are 10,000 individuals residing in personal-care homes in Manitoba – the majority of them with dementia.

The Touch Quilt project was launched May 3 at the Boyne Lodge in Carman where about 70 small quilts were presented. Quilts were also presented in Morden and Winkler this month. Persons with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia get pleasure experiencing sensory-rich things they can touch and see, explains Warkentin. The pictures, zippers or buttons on the squares all stimulate interest. Touching the fabric can be highly therapeutic too.

“These quilts have the ability to stimulate memories for people,” she said adding that one woman presented with a quilt this month spoke of a newborn baby’s hair. “The fabric reminded her of that.”

The quilts presented this month were made by quilters with the Rose Valley and Rose Bank Hutterite colonies and by the Morning Glory Quilters group.

The quilts sought for the project are small lap quilts, made from 36 six-inch squares each.

Warkentin said they hope to find many more quilters across Manitoba to help with the project. “We need lots of quilters,” she said.

A study released by the Alzheimer’s Society of Canada this winter predicts Alzheimer’s disease will become much more prevalent among Canadians as the population ages, with those with the disease doubling from 500,000 today to 1.1 million by 2038.

The Touch Quilt Project is supported by Manitoba Blue Cross.

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About the author

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Lorraine Stevenson

Lorraine Stevenson is a reporter and photographer for the Manitoba Co-operator with 25 years experience writing news and features. She was previously a reporter with the Farmers Independent Weekly and has also written for community newspapers in Winnipeg and Manitoba's Interlake.

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