Ilkeston crafters knit dementia-friendly muffs

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A group of Ilkeston crafters have been knitting dementia-friendly muffs a part of a time-swap scheme.

Twiddlemuffs are knitted lap mats that have tactile objects such as buttons and bells sewn into them.

People with dementia use handcrafted items to gain relief from restless hands, a common problem that can lead to skin scratching and bruising.

The muffs can cost between £10 and £40 to buy, but the keen knitters are making them for free for national adult health and social charity Making Space.

Marie Crowley is a dementia adviser for Making Space in Derbyshire. She came up with the idea for a time swap to benefit people with dementia after a chance meeting.

She saidi: “Time Swap is an official scheme run by Derbyshire County Council, where people in local communities can benefit each other by swapping skills.

“I happened to bump into the Time Swap co-ordinator and she mentioned she had a group of knitters contributing to the scheme, so I said twiddlemuffs would be ideal for the people with dementia who use our services.

“In return, trained Making Space advisers will deliver dementia awareness sessions to the knitting group and others who are registered on the time swap scheme, so that’s potentially more than 50 people we can reach with our sessions.”

For every hour the seven knitters spend producing the comforting and visually appealing twiddlemuffs, Marie and her team at Making Space will contribute an hour’s dementia awareness training.

Marie explains: “The dementia awareness session enables people to have a better understanding of what it’s like to live with dementia and find ways that they can make their own communities more dementia-friendly.

“We also often have speakers who can provide expert advice on living with dementia, or carers who can share their tips on caring for relatives.

“The service users think it’s fantastic. The knitters personalise the twiddlemuffs depending on the likes and background of the people they’re making them for, so it’s a really unique and personal gift.”

Making Space’s dementia services in Derbyshire receive around 600 referrals a year. The charity offers a wide range of services to help people with dementia including memory assessment, one to one support, carer and respite groups and activity sessions.

For more information, contact Making Space on 01246 592010 or email derbyshiredementia.service@makingspace.co.uk