Knitting up a storm for dementia patients
20 January 2016
Are you nutty about knitting? Passionate about purling? Then join the scores of crafters across Southend who grabbing their needles to create these garments – known as twiddle muffs - for patients at Southend Hospital with dementia.
They may look like open-ended sleeves, but the muffs, with
buttons of all shapes and sizes attached inside and out, can
provide reassurance and comfort for patients with the debilitating
condition, giving them something to do with their hands and
Pam Dobson (pictured), and her friend Betty Foker, both from
Trevett House, a sheltered housing complex in Southchurch, are avid
"I'm the sort of person who can't sit down without doing
something, and this is nice and simple to do," says Pam, 79. "I
used to work as a carer, so I know how upset people with dementia
The fruits of their labour, plus those produced by keen crafter
Kim Dunmore, an assistant with the Patient Advice and Liaison
Service (PALs) at Southend Hospital, along with her friends at a
local crafting group, are pictured here.
Pam, 79, decided to help after residents at the house were
visited by Michael Daley, Southend Hospital dementia specialist, as
part of dementia awareness training he was running. She has now
enlisted the help of other knitters. .
Meanwhile, Kim enrolled Coffee and Craft knitting group in
Southchurch, run by friend Carroll Martin, to help in producing the
The PALs office at the hospital (along from the old main
entrance, towards the tower block outpatients) will be a collection
point for donated muffs, plus you can pick up a pattern or download
one here: http://bit.ly/twiddlemitts.
To find out more, please call 01702 435555 ext 5333
The muffs will be given out to patients while they are in
hospital, and will stay with that patient beyond discharge, rather
than being re-used.
"We are so grateful to Trevett House and all the groups out
there who are helping our patients," says Michael. "They definitely
help sooth restless hands and minimise agitation."