Senior center tests fidget spinner pilot program for those with Alzheimer’s


CINCINNATI (WKRC) – A hot new toy for kids, is now becoming popular among adults too and there also may be a good reason for that.

There is something mesmerizing about picking up a “fidget spinner” and giving it a good spin.

Fidget spinners sort of force your focus, which is why social workers are now using them as part of a pilot program.

At the Kenwood by Senior Star, they are trying to find out if the spinners might be give a positive spin to the behavior of those living with Alzheimer’s disease or other memory problems.

“It’s absolutely magical that my fingers were able to do it,” said Edith Samuels.

Edith Samuels husband Hershel has been in memory care for eight years. She loves the idea of the fidget spinner program.

“He’s always been good with his hands, now it has to be simpler than when he was a surgeon. He does like to do things with his hands and I can see him really enjoying it,” said Edith.

“It’s a pilot program where we are using the spinners to engage our residents, and help keep them independently active,” said Annette Decamp, the program events manager.

Annette Decamp coordinates the program and when Local 12 asked what she’s observed so far by leaving fidget spinners in the memory care unit for free and unrestricted use she admits that:

“We are observing some wonderful things,” said Annette.

Those not in the memory care unit, such as Margaret Doerflein and Edith, say it does for them what it appears to do for those with Alzheimer’s and dementia.

“It does seem to engage the resident long enough to calm them down or ease agitated behavior,” said Annette.

It doesn’t take long to understand why. There’s something about the simplicity of fidget spinning that draws you in, but maybe it’s what Tom Rotz says it’s sort of.

“Anything we can find that’s a little bit different we try,” said Tom.

Right now, many are not likely sure of how well the spinners will work with different populations, but likely as more people use them for more purposes and more therapies, they will find out, because the research will start.

If there does appear to be even a small positive spin on all this, it’s the pilot program.

“If we have fifty memory care residents and two of them take to it, then we are going to keep the program,” said Annette.

Local 12 will share the results of this pilot program at the Kenwood by Senior Star when they are available.

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