Have you heard of a twiddlemuff? These simple-to-make knitted hand muffs are helping dementia patients up and down the country, but more are needed!
Twiddlemuffs are knitted muffs with interesting bits and bobs attached. Many patients with Alzheimer’s, arthritis and dementia find them comforting and therapeutic as they help encourage movement and brain stimulation – so much so that nurses at Warrington and Halton Hospitals are promoting the use of twiddlemuffs as part of their Forget Me Not dementia awareness project and appealing to knitters for help, as each muff is handmade and donated to the hospital free of charge.
It was an article about the project in the local paper that got Sue Lawton involved at her local charity knitting group, Carers U-Knitted, in Warrington. “My father-in-law had dementia and I volunteer at our local carers’ centre that supports unpaid carers, many of whom are looking after loved ones with dementia,” explains Sue. “Knitting twiddlemuffs is a great way to use my skills to help.”
To date, Sue has knitted more than 300 twiddlemuffs. “I decorate them with ribbons, buttons and zips and often put a Yale key inside them,” she says. “Older people often like to have a key as it makes them feel secure. People with dementia tend to have routines and become agitated in hospital as they are out of their usual routine. Having a twiddlemuff distracts them and helps to soothe their anxiety.”
Alison Lynch, Deputy Director of Nursing at Warrington and Halton Hospitals, is thrilled by the support Forget Me Not has received: “My mum is a knitter and helped us to launch the initiative. We’re amazed by the support of knitters worldwide sending us their twiddlemuffs,” says Alison. “We’ve received them from as far away as Canada, as well as hundreds from our local knitting group, Carers U-Knitted, but we always need more.”
Written by Kirstie Duhig
Please send finished twiddlemuffs to:
Twiddlemuffs, Co/Corporate Nursing Department, Kendrick Wing, Warrington Hospital, Lovely Lane, Warrington WA5 1QG.
Yarn donations are always welcome – please send these to: Carers U-Knitted, Wired Adult and Young Carers Services Warrington, 86 Sankey Street, Warrington WA1 1SG.
For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The examples here were made by Debbie Shaw, Sally Barrett, Angela Cox.