By Pat Soderlund, Volunteer
I am a volunteer for Home Health & Hospice and a member of Hope Lutheran Church. Over the past 20 years as a hospice volunteer, I have learned many things from my visits. This year, I asked my knitting group at church to help make a special gift for dementia patients receiving Mayo Clinic Health System hospice care. I found a pattern for knitting twiddle muffs, which are colorful bands made from yarn that have objects attached to them to keep hands busy and warm.
Twiddle muffs consist of various patterns, yarns and stitches, and take six to eight hours to complete. My mother-in-law had dementia and always had to have something in her hand. In her case, she liked to hold a tissue or piece of paper towel, which she would twist and shred. When I read about the muffs, their purpose and how easily they were constructed, I thought they were an ideal remedy for restless hands, as well as a way for us knitters to use our yarn stash.
Every twiddle muff is unique and made with care. The attachments can be anything with texture and shapes — buttons, small bells, ribbon, pompoms and zippers. Oftentimes, it takes longer to embellish the muffs than it takes to knit them.
One of our knitting group’s favorite parts about making the twiddle muffs is thinking of the satisfaction the recipients will experience. A simple gift to calm the confused mind of a dementia patient is a rewarding benefit to our project. The muffs have been an especially fun and creative experience for us.
Like Soderlund, you, too, can volunteer at Mayo Clinic Health System in Home Health & Hospice. Volunteers are a vital part of the hospice team and bring a personal touch to patients and families facing life-limiting illness. When you become a volunteer, you will belong to a health care team that includes physicians, nurses, social workers, chaplains, therapists and counselors. Your dedicated and caring presence will help brighten a patient’s day and make a difference in their life.
You must be 18 or older to volunteer in hospice or 14 or older to volunteer in other Mayo Clinic Health System areas. All ability levels are welcome. Sign up to volunteer online.