My supervisor and I were talking the other day about the possibility of using Fidget Spinners with our dementia residents who seem to need to do something with their hands. Is this something you would recommend, and if so what would be the best way of introducing the resident to the fidget spinner?

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That’s a really interesting proposition, and one I hadn’t thought of before. My immediate thought is that it’s going to be confusing to your residents UNLESS they are in a very late stage of dementia. Just like we sometimes give weighted blankets or lap blankets with fidgety items on them to people with late-stage dementia, we may want to save the spinners until this stage. Make sure they are big and don’t look like cookies or anything edible, since it’s a foreign object. Show your late-stage residents how it spins on a table or something, and then hand it over. I think middle-stage people are going to be asking, “But what is this for?”

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Rachael Wonderlin is an internationally-recognized dementia care expert and consultant. She has a Master’s in Gerontology and is the author of two published books with Johns Hopkins University Press. Rachael owns Dementia By Day, a dementia care consulting and education company.

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