KNITTERS on the Central Coast have been busy making woolly creations to help people with dementia.
Members of the Wild Woollies and Gorokan Guardian Angels groups, which meet weekly, are knitting twiddlemuffs – decorated hand muffs with items sewn on that people with dementia can twiddle in their hands.
Gorokan Guardian Angels’ Stephenie Milne seized on the idea, which came from the UK, after spotting a story in a magazine.
“I Googled the idea and then told the ladies in the group about it,” she said.
“We’ve already made around 40 and now can’t keep up with the demand. They’ve been so popular with local nursing homes that we’ve been asked to make more.”
The tactile twiddlemuffs have proved so popular in the UK that its National Health Service hospitals plan to give one to every Alzheimer’s patient.
They muffs are designed to calm agitation by giving patients something to do with their hands.
“We use different textured yarn and sew things on the inside and outside, such as pom-poms, toggles, buckles, buttons and even zips,” Stephenie said.
She has now handed over the reins of the knitting group, which has members in their nineties, to Ruth Burton who herself has made more than 25 of the colourful muffs.
“We heard from one nursing home that one lady with dementia didn’t communicate,” Ruth said.
“And then she was given a twiddlemuff and as soon as she put her hands in she relaxed and started talking.”
It takes about a day to knit a twiddlemuff, then extra time to decorate it.
“They’re also really nice and warm, and great for people with cold hands,” Ruth said.
Other groups, including one that works with children on the autism spectrum, have also shown interest in trialling the muffs.
The knitting group welcomes donations of wool and haberdashery items to make more twiddlemuffs.
“We would also encourage any knitters to download a pattern for twiddlemuffs and get making them,” Stephenie said.
Gorokan Guardian Angels meet on the last Friday of the month at Lakes Anglican Church, Kanwal, and the Wild Woollies knitting group meets fortnightly on Saturdays at Lake Haven Library.
- For more details phone 0448-915-916 or 0435-014-117.
Want to make your own twiddlemuff? Click HERE for a pattern.