The Mothers’ Union in the Diocese of Leeds has led the way in creating new, dementia friendly items to help soothe restless and agitated patients.
The ladies have produced a number of tool and gardening belts which are predominantly aimed at male dementia patients. Each belt has a number of pockets containing a tool or gardening implement, some of which are attached with ribbon.
They provide simple stimulation for the active hands of patients with dementia and promote increased flexibility and brain stimulation as well as helping to evoke memories of hobbies and pastimes they may have had.
Eileen Warburton, Episcopal Area President for Wakefield, saw that Bishop Tony Robinson had become a dementia ambassador for the Trust and was sure there was some way the ladies could provide further support.
“Bishop Tony put me in contact with Anita Ruckledge, lead dementia nurse at the Trust, and I met with her to discuss what we could do. Anita showed me the Twiddlemuffs they already have for patients, and whilst they work really well, they appeal more to females. So we took away the challenge to come up with something more ‘male friendly.’”
A number of toolboxes containing children’s plastic tools had been given to the ward and it was felt these would be perfect to use. Anita consulted with family and friends of dementia patients to ensure their loved ones wouldn’t feel patronised by being given children’s toys, and the feedback was all positive.
“I’m absolutely delighted with the items that the Mothers’ Union has created for us,” said Anita. “Everyone I spoke to thought it was a great idea to have something for those who may have had gardening as a hobby or loved DIY. We needed to use plastic tools so that no one was at risk of injuring themselves, and everyone understood this.”
The belts will now be given to the Dementia Champions - clinical staff across the Trust who have a greater understanding of caring for those with the disease – to trial with patients and their families and gather feedback.
This is not the first time the Mothers’ Union has provided support to the Trust, as it already provides overnight packs for children and teenagers on the Children’s Ward.