Posted in Caregiving, Dementia, Therapeutic Activities

Hand muffs for dementia

These remind me of the tactile blankets that I use to see at work, but smaller, cuter and cosier! Coming in a myriad of colours, this is reblogged from the St Joseph’s Health Care site – Therapeutic Hand Muffs


hand muff knittwear

hand muff

What is a Therapeutic Hand Muff?

It’s a basic knitted muff using different yarn textures and colours. Items, such as beads, buttons and ribbons, are then attached (inside and outside) to provide even more tactile stimulation. People with dementia often have restless hands and can be soothed by having something to keep their hands occupied. The muff provides a source of visual, tactile and sensory stimulation at the same time as keeping hands snug and warm.

Soft chunky or super chunky yarns and novelty yarns such as eyelash or faux fur yarns. Needles: 8mm circular (easiest) or 6.5mm straight needles.

The muff is knit in one long tube which is double the length of the final size. Once you are finished, you will push the interior up inside and sew the two ends together. If using straight needles you will knit a rectangle and sew up the sides first.

Cast on 40 stitches. The first half will be the inside of the muff– chenille or other soft/cozy yarns are best. Work rounds in knit stitch for 11 inches. If using straight needles, knit stocking stitch (knit a row, purl a row) for 11 inches. Continue knitting, but begin swapping out different yarns with interesting colours and textures, such as eyelash, mohair, and novelty yarns. Continue until the length measures about 23 inches and cast off.

If using straight needles: lightly iron the long strip, then neatly join the sides together using edge to edge stitch (with the knit side facing out). At this point you should have a tube.

hand muff full view

Now it’s time to sew on the tactile items. Suggestions include: buttons, beads (in strings or separately), ribbons, small wooden toys or shapes, patches of leather, knitted/crocheted pockets and flowers, zippers, loops, pompoms, etc. Avoid using delicate items such as feathers, items with sharp edges or points, heavy or large items or anything that could tear or break and cause harm. It’s best if items are washable.

hand muff showing how to sew it

It is very important to securely attach the items. Use fishing line, leather string or embroidery thread. Attach each item to a large button on the back of the work as an anchor. The muff will be doubled up so these anchor buttons won’t be visible on the end product.

Attach 2 or 3 items inside the muff (things to grab on to such as large wooden beads, pompoms, etc.) and a few things on the outside. When you have completed attaching items, push the inside half up inside the muff body and sew the two ends together using a neat edge to edge stitch.

hand muffs


What started as a search for a worthwhile project for a knitting group at St. Joseph’s to pursue in their leisure time, is resulting in creations that soothe and calm people with dementia.


Please check out their webpage for more information.

Source: Hand muffs for dementia | St. Joseph’s Health Care London



Hi, I'm Dr Joanna Sun, Co-author of the Singapore Environmental Assessment Tool. I am very passionate about working towards improving the care of people with dementia, and I hope my work will make a difference.

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