Residents with dementia were thrilled to receive hand-crafted gifts recently.

Residents at The Gardens Retirement Village have been knitting Fiddle Muffs for the last couple of months with the aim of donating them.

The fiddle muffs are a knitted tube with buttons, bells, bows, baubles and other interesting bits, both on the inside and on the outside, for hands to play with.

The Gardens Retirement Village manager Jennie Arvidson says as The Care Village in Ngongotahā is a reasonably new facility, it was decided this would be a great place to donate them to.

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She says the residents get together for a "knit and natter" group once a week on a Monday afternoon, followed by tea and cake.

Those that do not knit still go along to socialise and often bring colouring in to do.

"People with dementia often have restless hands and like to have something to keep their hands occupied.

"It provides a wonderful source of visual, tactile and sensory stimulation and at the same time keeps hands snug and warm."

Jennie and residents from The Gardens visited The Care Village and met with Rosalie, the activities co-ordinator, and some of the residents in their shop.

"They were thrilled to be able to choose a fiddle muff in a colour they preferred – some loved those with bells, others liked the fluffy wools used."

Jennie says more than 40 fiddle muffs were donated.

She says it was a great opportunity for the residents to mix and chat, and also to be shown around the village which is set in lovely grounds beside the lake in Ngongotahā.

"As our population becomes older, there will be more people with dementia living in our community.

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"It is really important we break down some of the barriers there are around dementia and that the community looks out for and helps their neighbours.

"A number of businesses in Rotorua have been working towards a more positive outlook for those living with dementia and are working towards a Dementia Friendly Rotorua."

People can become a Dementia Friend by going to www.alzheimers.org.nz/get-involved/become-a-dementia-friend.