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Health benefits of knitting - Dementia & Memory Loss

I like being productive and I find knitting to be one of the greatest outlets for me to provide a sense of accomplishment! I also find that although I can knit 'absentmindedly' at times, I nonetheless am thinking ahead as to how I might finish off certain sections. 

This sort of forward planning, in addition to regularly checking the quality of my stitches, and the pattern I'm working to, simply keeps my brain on the go at a nice steady pace! Not only that, I find I get so wrapped up in my knitting, with Baah Yarn of course, that sometimes when I stop, it's like I've just left the movie theatre or finished reading a good book... a bit of escapism!

Anyway, thanks to all these brainy types researching conditions like dementia, it would seem that knitting can also help out with the aging of the brain.

Baah Yarn - Knitting and Memory Loss Article

It's all about exercising the brain and from a handout on Neuroplasticity and Alzheimer’s dementia the 4 key strategies to the reduce risk of getting Dementia were:

  • Undertake to learn something new 

  • Practice memorization 

  • Solve puzzles 

  • Vary your habits to create new brain networks 


Now call me a bit biased but I do rather think knitting, and ok crochet, ticks all those boxes! Also, the mainstream media is picking up on the idea that crafting activities like knitting can help keep your brain in good shape.

Jacque Wilson wrote an article for CNN  in January 2015 called This is your brain on crafting which in general, extols the benefits of crafting with specific focus on knitting and the health benefits of our craft.

What I find particularly interesting in the article is the closing statement quoted from Catherine Carey Levisay, a clinical neuropsychologist and wife of Craftsy.com CEO John Levisay. "The hypothesis is that the more stimulating your environment is ... the more you're increasing the complexity of the brain, the more you can afford to lose." 

I've never really thought my knitting would increase the "complexity of my brain" but I do know it has kept me sharp over the years and I prefer knitting over something like a crossword or Mahjong.

Also, for several years now I have volunteered at various memory care centers providing activities like memory games, quizzes and hosting The Wheel of Fortune on the Wii. I can tell you first hand that it's amazing the depth of memory certain dementia patients have on some very narrow subjects, typically something they were very involved with, good at or were employed doing.

Premium Yarns - Knitting and Memory Loss

That said, I strongly believe the sense of accomplishment and escapism I find through knitting will carry over for a lot of people in their later years should they have memory loss issues. OK, they may not knit a perfect shawl, or even remember the pattern they're working on without a little help, but I am certain they will enjoy whatever they are knitting and have a smile on their face!

Feel free to use the comment section below as I would love to hear and publish your story!

Further reading

Alzheimer's Society - A knitting group providing a way for people with dementia to remain involved in the community

BBC - Knitting 'can delay' memory loss

Pinterest - Crafts for therapy - twiddle muffs - disabled - adaptive aids; dementia - Alzheimer's

 

 

 

 


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