Keen knitters are putting their talent to good use to create items improving the quality of life of people with dementia.
Members of Forest Hall Knit and Natter group have made scores of ‘fiddle muffs’ – woollen designs shown to reduce agitation and anxiety among people with the condition.
And the group has donated them to the Alzheimer’s Society so they can be distributed to people in care homes and those who use the charity’s services.
The Knit and Natter group meets every Friday afternoon at Forest Hall Library.
Sophie Mitchell, a group co-ordinator for the Alzheimer’s Society, said: “We’re so grateful for the support the group is giving us.
“Fidgeting with clothing is a common symptom of people with dementia, and because older people tend to have thinner skin they can end up hurting themselves if the fidgeting causes abrasions.
“These items are a much better alternative as they are soft and safe.”
The Alzheimer’s Society is highlighting its services available ahead of Dementia Awareness Week – May 15 to 21.
Among them are Singing for the Brain and Games for the Brain, which use music and physical activitiy to stimulate cognitive performance.
There are Singing for the Brain session at St Columbas Church Hall in North Shields every Monday between 1.30pm and 3pm and an art group will launch there on June 29 between 1.30pm and 3pm.
A weekly Singing for the Brain session also takes place at Springfield Community Centre in Springfield Park on alternate Tuesdays between 1.30pm and 3pm and there is a Games for the Brain session at the Lakeside Centre in Killingworth on Wednesdays between 1.30pm and 3pm.
Dr Julia Blagburn, senior lead Clinical Pharmacist at the Newcastle Hospitals, said: “Dementia is a chronic brain disease that can cause memory loss, personality changes and impaired reasoning.
“The use of knitted comforters such as fiddle muffs to help bring a little bit of relief to patients has many positive effects. They are an accessible and cost effective means of relieving mild to moderate distress and the scheme is a harm free, drug-free approach for patients.”