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.
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. 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
The hobby is 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 clinical 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.
A weekly feature for Lumby, Cherryville, and area seniors. For more information about any of the following please contact Lauralee or Jenny at (250) 547-8866 Whitevalley Community Resource Centre Office (250) 547-8866. Funding support provided by Interior Health, the Province of British Columbia (Community Gaming), United Way Southern Interior and United Way Lower Mainland.