Luton Sisters Help Patients with Dementia

Luton Sisters Help Patients with Dementia

The sisters in the Luton Ward hold a monthly sewing morning where they can swap ideas and encourage new sewers. Janet Graham, a volunteer and Governor at the Luton and Dunstable Hospital, heard of a project to make tactile aids for patients with dementia.

Dementia patients coming into hospital can find it very confusing, and it is an anxious time for them. The activity materials, such as aprons, cushions and twiddle muffs, are a great way of keeping hands busy and distracting patients by helping them to stay calm and by stimulating the brain, and they are a safe way to promote well-being.

Knowing that caring for a person with dementia can be difficult, the women soon got to work and recently gave the hospital over twenty items and are determined to make many more. The women decorated tabards (aprons), cushions and twiddle muffs with brightly coloured materials. Items such as zips, buttons, ribbons, trinkets—in fact, anything they could find that would be safe and occupy the patients—were strongly sewn on each item. They had fun swapping ideas, items and materials to ensure that each patient would receive something that showed they were cared about.

The Voluntary Services Manager at the hospital said that, thanks to volunteers from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, many patients were benefiting from their work. She said that the items made a huge difference to the dementia patients and that the hospital was especially grateful to Church members for their time and hard work. A news item about the work the members carried out now appears on the hospital website news page. Feedback from carers and families has been very positive, with expressions of how the materials are making a difference. Some items have also been made for some ward members who are suffering from dementia.

Serving the community in this way has brought the women together, not only on the sewing morning but also at home, where knitting needles can be heard clicking to knit the twiddle muffs.