Twiddlemuffs: the biggest holiday gift trend you've never heard of.

Brenda Moore was helping her husband take care of his ailing mother when she noticed a peculiar habit.

Moore's mother-in-law, who had Alzheimer's, constantly picked at her face, a nervous tick of sorts. After some research, Moore learned that restless hands are an extremely common problem for people with dementia, leading to them to fidget with buttons, clothing, small objects, or whatever else is in reach.

In the case of Moore's mother-in-law, the fidgeting led to awful sores and scabs all over her face. Moore knew she had to help.


After lots of research on restless hands, Moore stumbled upon a strange solution she'd never heard of: twiddlemuffs.

They're short, knitted, tube-like creations (imagine a handwarmer made of thick yarn), and they're covered in buttons, ribbons, and other small doodads for people to, well, twiddle with.

A fuzzy purply twiddlemuff! Photo by @nursemaiden/Twitter used with permission.

Twiddlemuffs provide comfort and stimulation for folks with dementia. They also get rave reviews from dementia patients, their families, and health professionals alike because they actually work to calm people's hands. It doesn't hurt that they have an adorable name either.

Unfortunately, Moore never got the chance to knit her mother-in-law a twiddlemuff; she passed away last year at the age of 92. But this year, Moore, who has been knitting since she was 6 years old, challenged herself to create 200 muffs to donate to a local Alzheimer's society. She says they take about two days each to make. But she's up to the task.

All over the world, knitting groups, nursing homes, and lone wolfs like Moore are knitting thousands and thousands of twiddlemuffs for folks with dementia.

It's the biggest movement of the holiday season you've never heard of.

And isn't it just fun to say twiddlemuffs over and over?

Twiddlemuffs are far from a cure for dementia, of course. But anything that provides comfort and warmth to people going through a challenging time is worthwhile.

And the best news is that you can make your own twiddlemuffs at home, either to donate or to give as a gift to a loved one who could use it.

Moore explains, "Twiddlemuffs are made a bit like making a scarf. The first half of the muff is made by using textured wools of every kind for about 11 inches," she says. "You sew the ends together so that you have a long tube."

Then, it's time to decorate! Add on "buttons, zips, pom poms, ribbons, anything of a tactile nature that can be twiddled," she says. Just make sure it's securely attached for safety.

If you're interested, you can download a full set of instructions here.

And if knitting isn't your thing? No worries. Just spread the word to other people who might be able to help. With a word as fun to say as twiddlemuffs, that part should be easy.

Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash
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The global eradication of smallpox in 1980 is one of international public health's greatest successes. But in 1966, seven years after the World Health Organization announced a plan to rid the world of the disease, smallpox was still widespread. The culprits? A lack of funds, personnel and vaccine supply.

Meanwhile, outbreaks across South America, Africa, and Asia continued, as the highly contagious virus continued to kill three out of every 10 people who caught it, while leaving many survivors disfigured. It took a renewed commitment of resources from wealthy nations to fulfill the promise made in 1959.

Forty-one years later, although we face a different virus, the potential for vast destruction is just as great, and the challenges of funding, personnel and supply are still with us, along with last-mile distribution. Today, while 30% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, with numbers rising every day, there is an overwhelming gap between wealthy countries and the rest of the world. It's becoming evident that the impact on the countries getting left behind will eventually boomerang back to affect us all.

Photo by ismail mohamed - SoviLe on Unsplash

The international nonprofit CARE recently released a policy paper that lays out the case for U.S. investment in a worldwide vaccination campaign. Founded 75 years ago, CARE works in over 100 countries and reaches more than 90 million people around the world through multiple humanitarian aid programs. Of note is the organization's worldwide reputation for its unshakeable commitment to the dignity of people; they're known for working hand-in-hand with communities and hold themselves to a high standard of accountability.

"As we enter into our second year of living with COVID-19, it has become painfully clear that the safety of any person depends on the global community's ability to protect every person," says Michelle Nunn, CARE USA's president and CEO. "While wealthy nations have begun inoculating their populations, new devastatingly lethal variants of the virus continue to emerge in countries like India, South Africa and Brazil. If vaccinations don't effectively reach lower-income countries now, the long-term impact of COVID-19 will be catastrophic."

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Image by 5540867 from Pixabay

Figuring out what to do for a mom on Mother's Day can be a tricky thing. There's the standard flowers or candy, of course, and taking her out to a nice brunch is a fairly universal winner. But what do moms really want?

Speaking from experience—my kids range from age 12 to 20—a lot depends on the stage of motherhood. What I wanted when my kids were little is different than what I want now, and I'm sure when my kids are grown and gone I'll want something different again.

We asked our readers to share what they want for Mother's Day, and while the answers were varied, there were some common themes that emerged.

Moms of young kids want a break.

When your kids are little, motherhood is relentless. Precious and adorable, yes. Wonderful and rewarding, absolutely. But it's a LOT. And it's a lot all the fricking time.

Most moms I know would love the gift of alone time, either away at a hotel or Airbnb or in their own home with no one else around. Time alone is a priceless commodity at this stage, especially if it comes with someone else taking care of cleaning, making sure the kids are fed and safe and occupied, doing the laundry, etc.

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Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash
True

The global eradication of smallpox in 1980 is one of international public health's greatest successes. But in 1966, seven years after the World Health Organization announced a plan to rid the world of the disease, smallpox was still widespread. The culprits? A lack of funds, personnel and vaccine supply.

Meanwhile, outbreaks across South America, Africa, and Asia continued, as the highly contagious virus continued to kill three out of every 10 people who caught it, while leaving many survivors disfigured. It took a renewed commitment of resources from wealthy nations to fulfill the promise made in 1959.

Forty-one years later, although we face a different virus, the potential for vast destruction is just as great, and the challenges of funding, personnel and supply are still with us, along with last-mile distribution. Today, while 30% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, with numbers rising every day, there is an overwhelming gap between wealthy countries and the rest of the world. It's becoming evident that the impact on the countries getting left behind will eventually boomerang back to affect us all.

Photo by ismail mohamed - SoviLe on Unsplash

The international nonprofit CARE recently released a policy paper that lays out the case for U.S. investment in a worldwide vaccination campaign. Founded 75 years ago, CARE works in over 100 countries and reaches more than 90 million people around the world through multiple humanitarian aid programs. Of note is the organization's worldwide reputation for its unshakeable commitment to the dignity of people; they're known for working hand-in-hand with communities and hold themselves to a high standard of accountability.

"As we enter into our second year of living with COVID-19, it has become painfully clear that the safety of any person depends on the global community's ability to protect every person," says Michelle Nunn, CARE USA's president and CEO. "While wealthy nations have begun inoculating their populations, new devastatingly lethal variants of the virus continue to emerge in countries like India, South Africa and Brazil. If vaccinations don't effectively reach lower-income countries now, the long-term impact of COVID-19 will be catastrophic."

Keep Reading Show less