Knitting for dementia


As dementia affects the short term memory, coordinating and executive functions and problem-solving, a skill like knitting becomes easy for people with Dementia to recall. People with Dementia often revert to their childhood or their adolescent years; therefore knitting, as with sewing and cooking, stimulates memory and attention span and can slow down the loss of cognitive ability. That is because of the attention required to focus on such a cognitive-based activity.

Prevention such as keeping a healthy body, mind and social life, is vital in decreasing the risk of developing dementia. However, prevention is only one aspect, and there are yet so many other unknown causes of dementia. We have observed that people with dementia may sometimes become restless and often are finding themselves not knowing what to do with their hands. By engaging with physical activity such as knitting keeps the hands busy. Alanna Shaikh’s (2012) TED talk on “How I’m preparing to get Alzheimer’s” provides a deeper understanding of how being occupied with our hands can also prepare the care giver. Being interactive with hands at a younger age can prepare the person with dementia to experience enjoyment and be involved with opportunities for social interaction. The constant touching of fibres while knitting also provides a calm and sensory relief for those living with dementia.

KOPWA’s Archbold House holds several physical and craft activities every week. One of which is a knitting group. For more details around the services held at KOPWA, please contact 02 9412 0284 to book a tour.