Dementia Friends knit Twiddlemuffs for Warm Zones

Warm Zone staff in North Shields are being Dementia Friends by knitting Twiddlemuffs.

Dementia friends at Warm Zone

Kind-hearted knitters, who are more at home ensuring that people aren’t left cold in their homes, have asked Warm Zones contractors to sign up to become a Dementia Friend.

The scheme is an Alzheimer’s Society initiative to help people develop an understanding of dementia and turn it into action to support customers and employees who are affected by the condition.

Jill Delf, operations manager for Warm Zones is on a double mission to help people living with dementia by supporting the Friend’s initiative and by helping her husband Ian raise much needed funds for the Calendar Lads Challenge.

The challenge involves a number of nurses from Cramlington’s Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital supporting Dementia Friends by carrying out events such as walking from Berwick Infirmary to Cramlington’s Specialist Emergency Care.

Jill said: “Everyday tasks that we often take for granted can be daunting for people living with this awful condition. They often avoid shopping or visiting public places, as they can feel anxious about the situations that they might face.

“To help, we are encouraging all of our staff and contractors to become Dementia Friends so that we’re able to provide understanding and help to those affected by the condition. “

As well as raising funds, Jill and her team have also been knitting, making Twiddle Muffs for the Cramlington Hospital. The muffs are used to cover cannulas to stop patients with advanced dementia pulling them out.

Each one is individually decorated and has a series of buttons, hoops or soft toys stitched into the fabric for patients to play with and distract them from their cannula. Jill is aiming to provide 100 Twiddle Muffs to local hospitals and is already more than halfway there.

Charge nurses Craig Leathard and Stu Leddy from the Emergency department in Cramlington have been the driving force behind the Calendar lads and are delighted with the support from Warm Zone staff and customers for what feels like a unique chance for people from all walks of life to raise awareness of dementia in our community. See www.justgiving.com/CalendarLads2016

Dementia Friends was launched in 2013 and is the biggest ever campaign to change society’s perceptions of dementia. 850,000 people have dementia in England and the number of people developing the disease is increasing annually.

Jill said: “By taking part as a Dementia Friend, we can learn a little bit about what it’s like to live with dementia and turn that understanding into action. In our case at Warm Zone’s, this could be helping someone understand their energy bill or sign posting them to appropriate medical facilities. We’re a community-based organisation and anything we can do to help those people who need our help can only be a good thing.”

For instructions to knit a Twiddlemuff, or to donate wool, buttons and snippets to sew onto them Contact Jill.Delf@warmzones.org.uk

For more on Dementia friendly groups and activities see the Golden Guide pages 74-77.