With needles at the ready and armed with balls of wool, many of the female clients of Safe Haven are reconnecting with the ever popular classic pastime of knitting.

Knitting is no longer being solely left to our grandmas, with the hobby becoming ever more popular among younger women and expectant mothers too, who are often wanting to learn and perfect the craft so that they can create unique items of clothing for their new arrivals. Large chains, such as John Lewis, have also reported a big increase in the sale of wool and haberdasheries over the past few years.

Knitting 1Knitting is one of many cognitive activities that we encourage clients to participate in – others include sewing, painting, cooking, writing, puzzles, board games and crosswords. All of these activities require the person with dementia to focus and use their hands. Some neurologists have found that these creative activities can be beneficial to one’s health by offering a surge of dopamine, often referred to as a natural anti-depressant.

Knitting requires the use of particular parts of the brain, including memory and concentration, and some say that this activity could help to delay the onset of dementia.

Initially, many of our clients have lost the confidence to knit, and find knitting patterns confusing. However, getting the person a little involved can really help. They could start by simply rolling up a ball of wool, grouping the colours together, sorting out an old knitting basket or putting needles in pairs. Sometimes, just sitting next to another person who is knitting is all that’s needed to get those needles clacking happily together again.

It’s also a hobby that can be easily continued at home, and is great for relieving boredom, which can often lead to various levels of frustration, anxiety and anger.

You really can knit anywhere, such as sitting in the car, visiting friends or while having a cuppa. It can also help to bring back a person’s self worth, giving them something useful to do that others could benefit from. Simply knitting small squares in various colours can make a beautiful patch work blanket, which could then be passed onto homeless charities or nursing homes.

Whether knitting individually, or as part of a group, clients really are enjoying being part of our knitting circle at Safe Haven.

For more information about our activities, please call 01494 854 399, or email us at: enquiries@safehavendementiacentre.co.uk