Frequently Asked Questions
What are Alzheimer’s activity mats?
Activity mats are generally placemat-sized pieces of fabric decorated with multiple activities such as ribbon to twirl or elastic to pull. They are sometimes called fidget blankets, fidget quilts, or activity aprons.
Ideally, an activity mat includes a large variety of textures and features (at least nine different elements) that are carefully designed to soothe and engage the person with Alzheimer’s or dementia. However, a poorly designed activity mat can be childlike, frustrating, or even harmful. Click here to learn more about The 7 Most Important Things you Must Avoid in an Alzheimer’s Activity Mat.
What makes Geraplay activity mats different?
Geraplay mats are carefully designed by a gerontologist with almost a decade of experience in the field of aging and dementia. Each mat is loaded with activities and textures to keep your loved one happy, calm, and busy. Unlike other mats, with only a few elements, your Geraplay mat has between 9-14 unique elements each designed to engage and soothe your loved one.
Geraplay activity mats also include invaluable features for caregivers such as a strap to attach the mat to a wheelchair, walker, or bedrail, and a blank name label, so you can write your loved one’s name and keep track of their Geraplay activity mat when it is laundered or misplaced in a memory care facility.
Each Geraplay activity mat is hand sewn with love in North Carolina and is backed by a 100% Absolute Satisfaction Guarantee.
Who should have a Geraplay activity mat?
Most people with Alzheimer’s or dementia can greatly benefit from a Geraplay activity mat. Improving sensory input has been shown to make people with dementia more cooperative, more communicative, more responsive, and more alert. Giving your loved one a Geraplay activity mat so they have something to use and explore can make your loved one calmer, more engaged, and happier. When a person with dementia is content and occupied, life is so much better for family members and caregivers.
Geraplay activity mats are especially valuable for people who have repetitive, harmful behaviors such as picking, scratching, nail biting, or hair pulling. Redirect and channel those repetitive tendencies into soothing motions such as pulling a ribbon or rubbing a button on your Geraplay activity mat.
Who should NOT use activity mats?
Not everyone with dementia has the ability to use activity mats safely. If someone is using the mat unsafely or if they are becoming agitated because of the mat, you should discontinue use immediately.
This should be common sense, but, just to be clear, Geraplay activity mats are not a replacement for close supervision and monitoring of a person with Alzheimer’s or dementia. Careful supervision is required at all times, and people with Alzheimer’s or dementia should never be left unattended while using an activity mat.
Activity mats include small parts which are a choking hazard if they become unattached from the mat. Therefore, the mats should not be used by people who put nonedible items in their mouths. Furthermore, the mats create a risk that someone might wrap an item around their finger or wrist and cut off their circulation.
Although most people with dementia can benefit greatly from Geraplay products, each person with dementia has different needs. That’s why we offer a 100% Absolute Satisfaction Guarantee on all Geraplay products. See our return policy for more details.
Will my loved one lose interest after only a few minutes?
Most people with Alzheimer’s and dementia crave sensory input and thrive when they are given something to do. Unlike other activity mats with only a few elements, Geraplay activity mats are loaded with textures and activities to explore. Geraplay mats are designed with 12-14 unique elements, so your loved one will receive more sensory input and won’t loose interest as quickly.
In fact, increasing sensory input can increase attention and concentration in people with dementia so don’t be surprised if your loved one uses the Geraplay activity mat more frequently for longer periods of time.
Of course, each person with dementia has individual needs and interests, that’s why we stand by our products with a 100% Absolute Satisfaction Guarantee.
When will I receive my Geraplay activity mat?
Geraplay products are shipped promptly using United Postal Service Priority Mail, so you should receive your Geraplay activity mat within 4-5 business days.
What is Geraplay’s return policy?
Geraplay’s mission is to create More Good Days. Guaranteed. Having a loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia is hard enough without having to second-guess what you should do to try to help them.
We want to make your life easier. That’s why we give you a 100% Absolute Satisfaction Guarantee on all Geraplay products. You can give your loved one a Geraplay activity mat without worrying about whether your loved one will like it. Follow our tips for introducing the Geraplay activity mat, and if your loved one still doesn’t seem to enjoy, it don’t worry. You can return it within 60 days of purchase. No stress. No problem.
How do I clean my Geraplay activity mat?
Caregiving is messy! That’s why Geraplay activity mats are machine washable. I recommend washing them on a gentle/delicate cycle and laying flat to dry. Some people find that it helps to have two activity mats, so that your loved one can continue to enjoy and explore even when one mat is dirty. It’s a bummer to have to wait for the laundry when you need the Geraplay activity mat to help distract or calm your loved one.
How should I introduce my Geraplay activity mat to my loved one?
Remember, each person responds differently to Geraplay products. Some people will instantly love the Geraplay activity mat and will dive right in, twisting and pulling, picking and petting. Other people need some time to warm up to something new.
For the best results, I recommend introducing the Geraplay activity mat for the first time when the person is already in a relatively calm or positive mood. Later, you’ll be able to hand them the Geraplay activity mat when they are more upset and it may help calm them. But, at first, it is a good idea to start slowly.
Here are some great phrases to use when you are introducing the Geraplay Activity mat:
- “Will you please hold this for a minute?”
- “Would you do me a favor and hold this for me?”
- “Could you help me with this? I’m trying to _________ (e.g. tie this bow, straighten this ribbon, flatten this fabric, etc).
- “Would you look at this a minute?”
- “Do you think you can fix this?”
- “Would you like a present?”
- “Do you think this is soft enough for a baby?”
Most people with dementia retain the desire to be helpful for a surprisingly long time. And even if they no longer understand what you are saying, your tone as you use these phrases will be more natural, comforting, and familiar than if you just handed them an unfamiliar object with no introduction. The trick is to get them to hold the Activity mat willingly and, before you know it, they will be busy playing with it.
For people who like to grab things, consider sitting within reach and playing with the Activity mat yourself. You can even exclaim, “Oh, how interesting!” or “I wonder what this does!”
For people who are always “getting into things,” you might be able to simply put the Activity mat in a prominent location, and wait for them to discover themselves. After all, we are all more eager to do something if we think we came up with the idea ourselves.
Where should I store my Geraplay activity mat?
Out of sight – out of mind. Store your Geraplay Activity mat in a prominent location where it is easily visible. For example, you can keep it at eye level on a table, on a dresser, or on a bed. That way, depending on their abilities, your loved one can “find” it on their own, point to it, or even ask for it.
If you have a loved one who likes to hide things, or if your loved one lives in a facility with other people with dementia who like to hide things, consider having a second Geraplay activity mat to use when one is temporarily misplaced. You don’t want to be frantically searching through the sock drawers and under the seat cushions when your loved one needs the Geraplay activity mat to help distract her or calm her.
What if I have other questions?
Contact me! My mission is to help you and your loved one make the most out of this time of your lives. Please email me at Sheyna@Geraplay.com, and I will try to help. Here’s to your success and to More Good Days!