Did you know that women age 60 and older have a 1 in 6 chance of getting Alzheimer's disease in their lifetime? Women are twice as likely to develop Alzheimer's compared with breast cancer, according to a report from the Alzheimer's Association.
The good news is you may be able to delay or even prevent Alzheimer's disease if you knit when you are in your 50s and 60’s. The Mayo Clinic team found that those who spent their 50s and early 60s reading, playing games and engaging in various craft hobbies, including knitting and quilting, had a 40 percent lower risk of memory impairment than those who didn't have hobbies. In later life, these same activities reduced the risk by between 30 and 50 percent.
Another interesting fact is that 24% of women and men mistakenly believe they are only at risk for Alzheimer's disease if they have a family member with it. This is simply not true. "Anyone with a brain is at risk," says Angela Geiger, chief strategy officer for the Alzheimer's Association.
I first experienced Alzheimer’s disease when I was 18 and worked in a nursing home to help pay for college. One of my patients was a wonderful elderly man whom I cared for daily. He was tall in stature, character, and wit. I’m sure he was a wonderful father, husband and a pillar in his community, and now he was struggling with the realities of Alzheimer’s. One day while his wife of 50+ years was visiting, he had an episode where he became very disoriented, and we had to restrain him until he regained his orientation. I sat by his side to calm him down and watched him as he stared across the room at his wife. She had a look of sadness and despair that she could not hide. I then looked at him as I held his hand and saw a stream of tears rolling down his cheeks. He realized something had happened, but he had no recollection of the event. To this day, I still feel the helplessness yet deep love and conviction shared between these two soul mates as they dealt with the effects of this disease.
There are no easy cures for Alzheimer’s but keeping your brain active seems to be a good preventative measure. When the weather is cold outside, or you are just older and less active, skills like knitting and crochet can provide stimulation for your brain and a little bit of fun! You have to follow the patterns or your patterns will not come out right. Many of our students comment on how they have to “focus” to get the pattern perfect. It becomes a challenge for students to reach and expand their knitting skills. We push our students to strive to be the best they can be while giving a helping hand all along the way.
We encourage questions as we feel the only stupid question is the one that is never asked! If you feel you would like to give knitting a try, stop by our store and we can get you on the road to success. We have a full calendar of classes on knitting, crochet, spinning and even needle felting to carry you through the summer while you explore the fiber arts.