Twiddle Mitts Needed

Do You Knit Or Crochet?

May 03, 2016


Ever heard of a twiddle mitt? Not many people on this side of the Atlantic have.

When an inquiring knitter asked about them on Facebook, a friend got her in touch with another friend - Sandra Stom - who happens to be a certified registered nurse practitioner in the Senior Transitions Unit at Penn Highlands Brookville.

Twiddle mitts, sometimes called twiddle muffs, are knitted or crocheted hand warmers with beads, buttons or different types of textures, such as silk, fur or velvet, tied tightly onto them.

The mitts are popular gifts for those living with dementia, Stom said. Having something to “twiddle,” to keep hands busy, helps to calm agitation and restlessness, both common symptoms of the condition.

It is believed that a woman made the first one for her grandmother as a way to keep her grandmother’s hands warm and occupied. It worked.

These projects are being done in the United Kingdom throughout England and Ireland. They are being made by students, church groups and people who love to craft and have run out of people to give items to. It’s also a way to use up yarn odds and ends.

“I would love to be able to give these to the inpatients we treat at Penn Highlands Brookville and give to families taking care of loved ones that we see in our outpatient clinic,” Stom said. “I would also love them for the residents that I along with Dr. (Scott) Turkin treat at DuBois Nursing Home and Christ the King Manor in DuBois and for the residents that Dr. (Cyril) Gamis and I treat at McKinley Health Center and Jefferson Manor in Brookville.” Both Turkin and Gamis are psychiatrists with Penn Highlands Healthcare.

“We, of course, would let people know which group so kindly donated them with a tag for staff to inform families,” Stom said. “The possibilities are endless to the dementia patients/residents we can treat. If you have a loved one at home with dementia, it would be a great gift for him or her, too.”

Stom would like to hear from those who may be interested in volunteering their time and yarn to make the mitts. Contact Stom at 814-849- 1393 or via e-mail at sastom@phhealthcare.org.