In 2021, OZANA, a non-governmental organisation offering programmes for young people and adults with intellectual disabilities, started an initiative to make "twiddle muffs" for people living with Alzheimer's disease or other dementias. Until then, twiddle muffs were virtually unknown in Croatia. Since that time, the association has managed to donate more than 200 twiddle muffs for patients, and is working on making them available for all who might benefit from using one. A "Twiddle muff“ is a sensory therapy tool designed to help alleviate certain symptoms of dementia. It is a knitted, crocheted, felted, or weaved muff (kind of sleeve or glove in which hands can be placed from both sides) used to keep patients' hands warm and occupied. It has a lot of knitted, crocheted, or felted details attached on the outside and on the inside of the muff which patients can explore and twiddle with their fingers. Twiddle muffs are vivid in colour and texture and as such they provide visual, tactile and sensory stimulation while ensuring that hands of the patients are tucked in and warm. In addition to comforting and calming patients down, they stimulate their motor skills and cognition.
This non-pharmacological intervention has been recognised in clinical practice to be an effective complement to medication, without the risk of additional side effects. They are a useful aid when caring for people with neuro-degenerative disorders, both at home and in institutions. A short video of OZANA’s initiative is available here: https://youtu.be/9YSTfOVgfY4 Building on this initiative, the European Wool Exchange Foundation (EWE Foundation) has launched the European Twiddle Muff Awards 2022, to promote the benefits of twiddle muffs and encourage their use at a European level. The aim is also to encourage creativity in the creation of twiddle muffs and to provide ideas for people who are interested in making them, as well as to encourage an abundance of twiddle muffs so they can be distributed to as many institutions caring for patients with dementia as possible. All the information about the Awards can be found, here: https://www.ewe.network/european-twiddle-muff-award-2022