Madison Mok from Camarillo has recently earned her Gold Award with her project, Busy Blankets for Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness. After spending years visiting Assisted Living facilities and recognizing the serious effect that Alzheimer’s has on patients and their loved ones, Madison was determined to make an impact in their lives.
“For my Girl Scout Gold Award project, I wanted to help those affected by creating sensory pads,” says Madison. “Friends, families, clinicians, and small businesses donated materials, and with the help of Saint Jude’s youth group, these pads were created.”
Alzheimer’s disease is a chronic neurodegenerative disease that is the cause of 60 – 70% of cases of dementia. The most common early symptom is short-term memory loss, but in late stages individuals may struggle to carry on a conversation and respond to their environment. Madison sought out to create “Busy Blanket” activity lap pads in order to provide sensory stimulation to patients and assistance to caregivers and families.
“Activity pads allows patients to occupy themselves with such activities,” Madison says. “I discovered that activity pads cost around $25-50 online. By hand-making them, patients’ families would be provided with an activity pad at no cost.”
Madison’s Busy Blankets include a variety of components, such as ribbons, bells, beads, and vinyl inserts where family photos can be tucked in. The pads help to stimulate patient’s minds and decrease agitation or anxiety. Enlisting the help of her youth group, Madison was able to create a total of 30 activity pads to donate to Livingston Memorial Visiting Nurse Association in Ventura.
On completing her project, Madison says, “I feel as if my responsibility has grown, because I had to plan out when I was going to pick up the donations, when I would be presenting to my youth group, and when I would be done with the project. I also learned that it was so easy to start something and help the community. At first it seemed daunting to even plan a big project, but after I started, I found that I had fun. My leadership skills improved because I helped people understand the disease and why I was doing my project.”
“At the end when I donated to Livingston, the representative said that the patients would really appreciate the products, and that the materials I used were great for them. The fact that my hard work would be able to help the patients was very heartwarming.”
“I hope that these simple sensory pads will help those affected by Alzheimer’s disease by keeping their minds active, even if it’s just for a small moment in a day,” she says.
Madison is a member of Troop 60001 and is currently a junior at Oaks Christian High School. To learn more about the Gold Award, find additional information here.