4 Reasons Knitting’s Perfect for Seniors & Caregivers

The resurgence of knitting has been one of the more surprising trends of the past few years. Despite its old-fashioned reputation, knitting has quietly become a cross-generational phenomenon. 4 Reasons Knitting’s Perfect for Seniors & Caregivers
One reason for knitting’s newfound popularity is its impact on knitters’ well-being. Younger knitters have discovered that yarn and needles are the perfect pick-me-up — something older knitters have known for years. Meanwhile, researchers have discovered a host of health benefits to knitting, impacting emotional, mental, and physical health.
A closer look at these benefits reveals something surprising: it turns out that knitting is the perfect hobby for caregivers and seniors alike. Don’t believe us? Here are four reasons why seniors and caregivers should take up knitting.

1. Knitting Reduces Caregiver Stress

Knitting has a remarkable effect on emotional and mental health. In studies and surveys, knitting has been shown to reduce feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression in knitters.
Researchers have found that knitting reduces cortisol levels, one of the strongest bio-indicators of stress and anxiety. Meanwhile, more than 80% of knitters who suffer from clinical depression say that the act of knitting makes them feel happier. Experts say that knitting has a similar effect to meditation, one of the most well-documented cures for stress.
This makes knitting an ideal hobby for many caregivers, who suffer from stress and depression at far higher rates than the rest of the population.

2. Knitting Boosts Heart Health

Knitting’s therapeutic effects aren’t limited to mental and emotional wellness. The hobby is also linked with lower blood pressure, a key component of cardiovascular health. That’s no big surprise, given that high stress levels are a recognized risk factor for elevated blood pressure and other heart problems.
While knitting can help cardiovascular health, it is a sedentary activity and a poor replacement for physical exercise. So, make sure that you’re still getting adequate levels of moderate cardiovascular activity.

3. Knitting Helps Fight Arthritis

You might think that knitting is the last activity that you should recommend to someone with arthritis. But experts say that knitting is an ideal hobby for almost anyone who suffers from mild to moderate arthritis, or is at risk of developing arthritis later in life.
The secret lies in knitting’s effect on joint cartilage. Unlike other activities that use your hands, knitting isn’t strenuous enough to damage cartilage. In fact, the repetitive action of knitting strengthens existing cartilage. This prevents the development or worsening of arthritis in your fingers, hands, and wrists.

4. Knitting Prevents Cognitive Decline

One of the most surprising scientific findings about knitting is that it seems to slow and prevent cognitive decline. A Mayo Clinic study found that crafting activities like knitting reduced rates of cognitive decline by 30% to 50% among adults between the ages of 70 and 89.
This is welcome news for seniors experiencing the first signs of cognitive impairment. It’s equally welcome news for family caregivers who are at risk of developing cognitive impairment later in life.
Given the genetic component of Alzheimer’s disease, family caregivers of those with Alzheimer’s could benefit from knitting more than anyone. If you care for someone with Alzheimer’s, and you’re at risk of developing it yourself, you can use knitting as to fight both Alzheimer’s disease and caregiver stress.
Thinking of giving knitting a try? Here are few quick tips for seniors and caregivers:

  • Knitting’s easy to take with you. So, if you’re a caregiver, consider packing a take-along knitting kit for moments where you need to de-stress.
  • Seniors with arthritis who find knitting uncomfortable can try using larger needles and threads, which don’t require such fine hand movements.
  • Knitting can be a lot of fun with a partner. Family caregivers might wish to try knitting with their loved one.
  • If your loved one needs a knitting partner for when you’re not there, you might want to consider companion caregiver services.

Need a knitting companion for an elderly loved one or someone to provide respite care services? Contact Visiting Angels at 800-365-4189 today or contact your local office for detailed information on companion caregiver services.

4 Reasons Knitting’s Perfect for Seniors & Caregivers

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About the Author

Richard Bitner

Visiting Angels is a national, private duty network of senior care agencies. We are proud to be the nation’s leading provider of non-medical at home care services. With our elder care services, seniors can remain independent and live safely at home. Our senior care services include Social Care, Dementia Care, Alzheimer’s Care, End of Life Care, Companion Care, Private Duty Care, care to prevent hospital readmission, and so much more.

Compassionate, dignified at home senior care is close to home when you connect with your local Visiting Angels office by calling 800-365-4189.

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