We love when our residents continue enjoying their favorite hobbies! Check out one of our own creating something beautiful!
The Power of Knitting
What if when you were knitting a scarf, you were also knitting better cognitive health and well-being? Research shows that regularly knitting has tremendous health benefits, and by joining a knitting club seniors can improve their minds, moods and spirits.
The Purlettes, a knitting group at The Redwoods retirement home in Mill Valley, California, have made a name for themselves knitting handbags that are sold throughout the country. The group's 15 members have been meeting weekly for a decade, according to the Huffington Post, and praise the power of knitting in their lives.
"It's very rewarding for me," said member Hector Richards in an interview with the source, who says knitting is "my meditation."
CEO of The Redwoods, Barbara Solomon, also believes in the benefits of knitting.
"It's like bridge or chess, or any of those activities where you're concentrating and remembering, so there's mental stimulation," she said to the Huffington Post. "And then there's the socialization that happened. It gives them opportunities to participate in different ways, to be mentally stimulated and physically active and get out of their apartments -- and it's a feeling of being very useful."
Knitting supports a healthy brain. A neuropsychiatry study found that engaging in craft activities like knitting and quilting could reduce the chance of developing mild cognitive impairment by 30 to 50 percent for seniors. Researchers believe that knitting can help keep the mind sharp by creating new neural pathways. While scientists traditionally thought that the brain reached its peak level of development when people were in their 20s, new findings suggest that brains continue growing and creating new connections, even into old age, according to CNN. Knitting and other craft activities contribute to healthy minds by involving many parts of the brain at once.
"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. You're building a buffer," ," said Catherine Carey Levisay, a neuropsychologist who's also married to the CEO of tutorial website Craftsy.com, in an interview with CNN.
Knitting has also been shown to elevate mood. A survey of knitters conducted as part of a research study found that individuals who knitted more than three times per week reported sizable increases in feelings of calm, with the respondents calling the act of knitting itself "spiritual," "soothing" and "restful." In addition, 81 percent of individuals with depression felt that knitting made them feel happier. The repetitive movements of knitting can have similar benefits to those of meditation, and watching a scarf or hat come together can boost feelings of pride and happiness, the Washington Post reported.
"When we have a life-affirming project going on that grabs the self and gets it to work in a positive way, that is an antidepressant," said Carrie Barron, an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Columbia University, in an interview with the newspaper.
While there are positive impacts of knitting alone, individuals should consider joining a club to reap the most benefits. Combining a fun activity with friendly faces and a positive environment helps seniors combat feelings of loneliness. A study published in the British Journal of Occupational Therapy found that knitting in a group significantly impacted happiness levels, communication with others and social contact. What's more is that another research study found that 90 percent of individuals surveyed had made several or more friends in their knitting groups, and knitting in a group contributed to greater feelings of belonging and better social confidence. Sharing a creative experience with others binds people together and builds a strong sense of community.
So grab some needles and yarn in your favorite color and join a knitting group today!