Fiddle muffs, twiddle muffs… whatever you want to call them, these quirky knitted hand muffs are making waves in aged care homes and hospitals around the country – and the world. They provide sensory comfort for people with dementia, autism, Asperger’s, anxiety and other mental health and neurological conditions.
“Twiddle muffs originated in the United Kingdom, where they have been found to lower anxiety because people have something to do with their hands,” Bev Devlin, community development officer at Bundaberg Regional Council, told the ABC. “They lower anxiety, reduce medication and bring people comfort.
“They’re actually called a twiddle muff because you put your hands in the muff and then you get to twiddle. Inside the muffs there are lots of different objects of all different shapes and sizes, textures and colours.”
The Bundaberg community have wholeheartedly jumped onboard, with knitters and crafters working their magic to provide the comforting objects to those who need them the most.
Almost 2,000km away in South Australia’s Riverland, the initiative is catching on. Sally Goode, from Loxton, first caught wind of the idea while visiting family in the UK. “I thought ‘who else could make this sort of thing’ and it was CWA without a second thought,” she told the ABC.
But the Loxton CWA ladies are putting a local spin on their fiddle muffs. “We found things to stitch on them that we thought would be relevant to the kind of people who are in aged care [in the Riverland],” Goode explained. “For the blockies [farmers] we got irrigation equipment that screw up, and they went down very well indeed and it went from there. For ladies we used beads and buttons and button holes, ribbons they could plait. It’s just something to spark a memory.”
If you would like to make you own fiddle muffs to donate to local aged care centres, click here for a free pattern.
Image credit: Catherine Heuzenroeder/ABC Riverland.