Brilliant fiddle blankets for people with dementia

Pictured here is one of our carers, Angie Barker, with some fantastic ‘fiddle blankets’ ready to donate to some of the people we look after.

Fiddle blankets, as the name suggests, have lots of things attached to them that can be touched and played with. They are brilliant for people who have dementia or have had a stroke because they provide stimulation and focus, which helps to create calm and relieve boredom.

Fiddle blankets are also called twiddle blankets, fidget blankets, sensory mats and other things! The fiddle blankets shown here have been made by Betty Cowman who is a friend of Angie’s daughter-in-law.

Betty began making fiddle blankets three years ago after seeing people with dementia at her son’s nursing home. Betty says: “My son had to go into a nursing home post brain tumour and was on serious medication for life. The nursing home was a new build and finished up being mostly for dementia sufferers. I visited my son weekly and watched the residents with busy hands, so three years ago I made a few fiddle blankets of various types and gave them to the home. They were delighted with them.

“My daughter works at the head office for the Maria Mallaband Care Group and visits the homes along with my supply of twiddles. So I have been able to enjoy my new hobby. During lockdown I made even more, so was able to offer them locally.”

Betty is donating fiddle blankets to anyone who may benefit from one, and is asking in return that they or their family make a donation to a local dementia organisation.

She adds: “When I’ve got to the stage of no one wanting any, I am going to make more fun ones for children under the autism spectrum and children with disabilities or learning difficulties.”

After Angie told us about the fiddle blankets that Betty makes, we knew they would be perfect for our service users who have dementia, so we arranged to collect some. We have now distributed them to some of the people we look after, including Marjorie who is also pictured below with one of the fiddle blankets.

Marjorie is always fiddling with the blanket and seems a lot happier since being given it. The blanket has different textures and elements that keep her occupied. She likes to inspect different parts of it, such as the keys, pockets, buttons, beads, cotton reel, pom-poms and a bag with coins in it.

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