Cannula Fidget Sleeves for Dementia Patients:

These sleeves help occupy a dementia patient and stop them from pulling out their IV tubing etc.

The sleeves are made from different coloured and textured wools and yarns and go from the back of the hand to over the elbow. They range in size from 12” to 17” in length.

Fidgets are attached (very securely) to the outside of the sleeve.

They need to be sewn on with crochet cord or knitted on.  Sewing the fidgets on just with sewing cotton is not secure enough.   Fidgets can be knitted or crochet items, big beads, ribbon loops, sturdy plastic rings or large buttons.  No sharp or pointy objects that will damage delicate skin.

All items need to be machine washable and non removable.

Supplies needed:
6.5mm straight needles (US size 10.5) or 8mm circular needles (US size 11).
Beads, ribbons, anything that can be twiddled with, but not break.
Assorted yarn. Twiddle fidget sleeves are perfect for using up leftover yarn, and the more colors and textures you have, the better!

1. Make the band/cuff: Cast on 40 stitches loosely, using 2 strands of thin ply yarn (or one strand of chunky yarn).

The cuff should be yarn that is not scratchy or irritating.  Natural cotton would be best.

Work in  a rib pattern 3 knit, 3 purl for 3 Inches.

2. Change to stocking stitch and knit the body of the sleeve. Continuing for 11”.

Change yarn and patterns. 

Create bands of colour and use different playful yarns to create textures and tactility.   Change patterns and create dips and mounds in the sleeve for busy fingers to follow. 

If possible “knit in” fidgets making sure they will appear on the outside of the sleeve.

Ensure your stitches are tight enough that curious fingers will not slip through. If you are using thin ply yarn, please use double strands or drop your needle size so that the knitting is not too loose. Eg: if using 8ply yarn use 4mm needles.

Finish with another cuff at the end of the sleeve for 3”. Remembering to use a non irritating yarn.

Cast off loosely.


Attach fidgets, sewing or tying them very securely.  Sewing cotton is NOT strong enough to secure the fidgets.

With the wrong side facing inward, sew up the long side of the sleeve.

Turn the sleeve to the outside.

Double check your knots and stitching are secure.


Some cannula sleeve patterns have an inside cuff that runs the length of the sleeve.  Here in Brisbane we feel this may be too warm for the patients. For this reason we request that a fitting cuff be sewn on either end of the sleeve which helps hold the sleeve in place and that no “holes” for curious fingers are included.

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