First fidget spinners in schools, now it is fiddle muffs in nursing homes

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Aged care residents at Bonney Lodge in Barmera keep their hands warm and occupied with fiddle muffs. Move over fidget spinners, fiddle muffs are the latest craze — in nursing homes at least.Knitted hand muffs with sewn in fiddle items have become popular among aged care and hospital residents with anxiety and dementia.Not only do they keep older hands warm but their buttons, ribbons, beads and other quirky adornments keep their owners occupied, stop them from picking and scratching at their skin and can help trigger memories.”We are finding they are very good for residents suffering with a little bit of anxiety, or scratching their skin, picking themselves, or for residents with dementia,” said Heather Robertson, an activities co-ordinator at Bonney Lodge in the Riverland of South Australia.Just as fidget spinners, initially pitched at children with ADHD and autism, have made their way into schools across the globe, hand-crafted fiddle muffs have started appearing in nursing homes and hospitals everywhere. (ABC Riverland: Catherine Heuzenroeder)
Hand muff design ideal for older handsWhile other fiddle designs, including aprons and trays, have been around for a while the muffs seem to work particularly well.At Bonney Lodge Ms Robertson was pleased to see an elderly man stop scratching at his skin after being given a fiddle muff.”Rather than him scratching himself he was actually playing with the buttons and things attached to the fiddle muffs,” Ms Robertson said.The muffs knitted by the Loxton CWA have fiddle objects inside as well as on the outside.Ms Robertson said as well as being therapeutic for restless hands they also provided warmth and comfort.”If your hands are warm and they are close to you, then you are more inclined to feel a little more comfortable and it helps you to relax,” she said. (ABC Riverland: Catherine Heuzenroeder)
Health volunteer brings idea from UK to RiverlandLoxton woman Sally Goode first learned of them while visiting relatives in England.Through her work on the district’s health council Ms Goode suspected the fiddle muffs would be well-received locally and developed a prototype.Soon she was receiving requests for fiddle muffs from aged care and mental health facilities and Ms Goode knew she needed help to meet demand.”I thought ‘who else could make this sort of thing’ and it was CWA without a second thought,” Ms Goode said.The Loxton CWA women have knitted and adorned 50 fiddle muffs for local facilities and the project has spread to branches in other states.They have used inspiration from the region’s fruit-growing heritage when sewing on ‘fiddle’ items.”The reason for the fiddle muffs is that as people slide into dementia their memory goes back a long way,” Ms Goode said.”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].”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.”

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Aged care resident Grace Potter was delighted by the handiwork of the fiddle muffs when they were presented by Bonney Lodge activities co-ordinator Heather Robertson.

ABC Riverland

By

Catherine Heuzenroeder

Posted

July 11, 2017 14:33:40

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Fiddle muffs have beads, squishy balls, buttons, ribbons and other quirky gadgets sewn into them. (ABC Riverland: Catherine Heuzenroeder)
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