For those living with dementia, a tactile rug can be a welcome source of comfort and distraction

Janet Jacob is a former psychogeriatric nurse and care home manager. Her tactile rugs, handmade from colourful and eye-catching fabrics, are designed to give sensory stimulation and evoke happy memories for those living with dementia. The rugs feature pockets where memory prompts - postcards, favourite Bible verses and photos etc - can be hidden. 

“The rugs work best when they are matched to the interests of the person living with dementia,” says Janet. “For example, a garden-themed rug with pictures of plants and garden tools for a keen gardener. When that person feels restless or confused, the rug can be a welcome distraction, helping them to feel calm and prompting positive conversation.”

Inspired by a lifetime of caring for people, Janet started making the rugs as a hobby. One of the first rugs she made was a farmyard-themed rug for an elderly lady who had been a farmer’s wife, who she used to visit in care home.

 In her role as a speaker and representative for Pilgrims’ Friend Society, she took the rugs along to conferences as examples of what people might make. When asked if she could take orders, Janet was happy to oblige.

“I’ve had such lovely feedback from people,” she says. “On one occasion, a gentleman came up to me and told me the rug had made an enormous difference to his wife. She had become very withdrawn and lacking in conversation. But when he put it on her knees it was like a light went on in her eyes and she was able to talk a little.”

Bespoke rugs are available to order from Janet through Pilgrims’ Friend Society at a cost of £20. To place your order with Janet, please get in touch with us via: [email protected]

We also have several themed rugs in stock: travel, garden, farmyard, seaside, washing day, happy birthday, bunting and joy. You can find these for sale in the Resources section of our website


Duncan and his wife Lynne, who suffers from dementia, were separated during lockdown. Read their story here