I remember watching my grandma twiddle her thumbs back when I was a little girl. It fascinated me. She did it all the time – usually while she was sitting in her favorite chair and either visiting or watching TV. She told me it was good to have something for your hands to do while you were waiting. That made sense to me and I remember trying to copy her when she wasn’t looking. It doesn’t seem like that big of a deal now, but back when I was very young, teaching my thumbs to twiddle felt like a huge accomplishment.
It turns out that no matter how old you become, it is still good to have something for your hands to do. Last year I wrote a post called “For that Fidgety Feeling” about something called Fidgety quilts. I loved the idea.
When my Mama lived with us while she was in the middle stages of dementia, she constantly needed something to do. Prior to the onset of dementia, she both knitted and crocheted. But as the dementia became more and more pronounced, she found it difficult to maintain any type of ongoing focus. She would quickly become bored and forget what she was working on.
We kept her busy with short-term activities such as folding warm towels, sorting colored beads into small bowls
according to their color, and one of her favorites: picking lint off of sweaters. Before dementia struck, Mama was very detail oriented. It made sense as she was a laboratory scientist and paying attention to details was extremely important.
If I had heard about fidgety quilts back then, I believe that Mama would have loved the idea. The fact that they don’t require any special skills or knowledge to play with the various ribbons, buttons and interesting items attached to the quilts makes them perfect for every ability level.
I recently watched a short news video on BBC titled: “Lancashire knitters ‘twiddle muffs’ dementia tool plea” where there was a plea for area knitters to make and donate “twiddle muffs” to local hospitals. The muffs are a great idea – especially if you are a knitter. If you don’t knit, you can still purchase a Twiddle muff for your loved one. They seem to be a bit less expensive as well as more portable than the ‘Fidgety Quilt’ so would make a marvelous Christmas present for a loved one who tends to get fidgety.
Once you begin to look, you will discover a whole world of items designed to help give loved ones’ fingers something to do and perhaps reduce periods of agitation.
If you happen to be a knitter perhaps you might consider creating a few extra twiddle muffs to bless someone who could use a thoughtful and helpful gift this Christmas season.