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MVHS Occupational Therapists Introduce "Busy" Devices to Patients

MVHS Occupational Therapists Introduce “Busy” Devices to Patients


UTICA, N.Y. – Occupational therapists at the Mohawk Valley Health System (MVHS) will offer sensory stimulating “busy” aprons and table mats to patients with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.

“Busy” aprons and table mats have attached zippers, braids, different textures and patterns, all designed to engage the minds and fingers of someone living with symptoms of dementia. While each “busy” device is different, the purpose is for a patient to have a variety of activities within their reach.

According to the Social Care Institute for Excellence, it’s important to keep someone with dementia active and engaged because it promotes a sense of self-worth, reduces anxiety, provides comfort and can even keep that person independent longer.

“The device gives the patients tasks to complete, and provides a pleasant sensory experience in which they can participate,” said Amanda Straney, DPT, MVHS manager of Acute care Physical and Occupational Therapy.

The price for one apron is $50. In an attempt to offset the costs to the department, Occupational Therapy (OT) supervisor, Joanne Davis, enlisted the help of The House of Good Shepherd in Utica, New York.

Penny Primeau, Home and Career teacher at The House of Good Shepherd, and her students welcomed the project. Primeau works with students of all ages, providing them with skill-building projects.

“I enjoy working on projects with my students that teach life skills such as sewing, cooking and repurposing materials. The “busy” project allows us to help our local community in addition to learning these life skills which reinforces the feeling of pride the children have when learning,” said Primeau.

Thanks to the help and donation of material from Primeau and her class, the OT Department will be able to provide these aprons to patients with dementia to help keep them active and engaged.

For more information about the MVHS OT Department, call 315-624-6091 or visit


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Millie Condon
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