Twiddlepets have benefits both for the volunteers who create them and the recipients.
The woolly creations are knitted sleeves or lap blankets featuring a soft toy with lots of small ‘twiddly bits’ sewn on to keep fingers busy.
Twiddlepets are a resource for patients living with dementia who often experience an increase in stress levels which can manifest in anxiety and agitation. Providing sensory stimulation can improve mood and help achieve a state of wellbeing in these patients.
Hibiscus Hospice has started its own group of craft enthusiasts who gather to make Twiddlepets – the first ‘crafternoon tea’ was held on November 2. Wool was donated by The Warehouse Whangaparaoa.
Fundraising and Digital Marketing Coordinator Jane Finch says the group comprised 20 hospice volunteers, staff, local knitters and sewers and more are welcome.
NZ Twiddlepets creator Carole Tregidga introduced the idea to Hibiscus Hospice. “This really is a win, win project for all those involved and we are grateful to Hibiscus Hospice for supporting this initiative,” Carole says. “It gives creative volunteers a way of pursuing their hobby and at the same time, brings smiles to the faces of patients. For the Twiddlepet creators there is nothing more rewarding than seeing the joy their creations give to those bed or chair ridden in our community.”
She says it is not just the elderly that have adopted a Twiddlepet. “Our youngest client is a three-year-old visually impaired little boy, who takes his ‘pet’ to bed with him every night.”
She says the makers of Twiddlepets also enjoy the process – knitting can have similar benefits to meditation.
The crafternoon teas will be held regularly at hospice – probably monthly. A Twiddlepet adoption form will also go on the hospice website, along with patterns, for anyone that may have special requirements such as a particularly calming colour.