Knitters needed to help people with dementia in Kent

Carers Club, the online support and help network for unpaid carers, is looking for keen volunteer knitters to help them give people with dementia relief from some of their symptoms by knitting ‘twiddlemuffs’.

Carers Club is run by Virgin Care, the organisation which delivers adult community health services for adults across Dartford, Gravesham, Swanley and Swale, and more widely across England. The site is a ‘one stop shop’ for carers – people who look after a friend, relative or other loved one who is unable to live independently without support, but who are not paid for the job – to access support and guidance on the help available to them.

Community Matron Ann Friend (pictured left) and Acting Lead for Inpatient care Linda Nurden (pictured right), are pictured sporting the Twiddlemuffs knitted by Ann’s mother in her spare time. The Twiddlemuffs have proven popular among service users with orders coming thick and fast.

Twiddlemuffs are approximately 20-inch-long tubes of wool with multi-textured and coloured attachments. They help occupy the hands of dementia sufferers, whose common symptoms include ‘restless hands’, as well as helping keep them warm.

Full instructions on making a Twiddlemuff are online at www.carersclub.org, and included below.

Ann said: “People with dementia often have restless hands, and like to keep them occupied. These ‘twiddlemuffs’ provide a fantastic source of visual, tactile and sensory stimulation – and keep their hands warm.”

Completed Twiddlemuffs can be sent or dropped off at reception for the attention of Ann Friend, Community Hospital Matron for Virgin Care at Gravesham Community Hospital. The Twiddlemuffs will be used with the dementia patients seen in, and by staff from, the hospital.

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How to make a Twiddlemuff

Materials needed:

  • A selection of leftover and odd balls of wool.
  • Needles: 8mm circular or 6.5mm straight needles

Directions

Cuff:

Cast on 45 stitches using 2 strands of double knitting wool or 1 strand of chunky wool (one plain colour works best). Work in stocking stitch (knit a row, purl a row) for 11 inches.

Body:

Continue with stocking stitch, but use up oddments of various textures of wool such as chunky, mohair, ribbon etc. until the work measures 23 inches (two strands of double knit for two rows each gives a lovely assortment of colours). Cast off.

Finishing:

If working with straight needles, lightly iron the long strip, then neatly join the sides together using edge to edge stitch (with the knit side facing out). Turn inside out and push the one colour cuff up inside the muff body. Sew the two ends together, again using a neat edge to edge stitch.

Decoration:

Now you can decorate the muff, inside and out, with ribbons, beads, flowers, zips, loops, pompoms, buttons, etc. Knit a separate pocket for a favourite photo or a hanky. Be creative, and make sure each item is securely attached!

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