Alpaca Direct Blog

Knitting May Help Delay or Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease

[caption id="attachment_1473" align="aligncenter" width="480"]grandma knitting Knitting keeps your mind active[/caption]

By Kelley Hobart

Kelley HobartDid 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.

In case you have not heard about us, Alpaca Direct is a direct merchant of high quality yarn, socks, apparel and gifts. We carry a full line of fiber art accessories, including hundreds of needles and thousands of yarns. Our unique selection of products also includes Peruvian hand-loomed lace scarves, warm alpaca socks and cuddly alpaca teddy bears.

 Our building is handicap accessible, with ample parking and is easy to find.  We are located on Hayden Avenue, just two blocks west of Hwy 95 at 1016 W Hayden Ave. in Hayden.

Our store is open 10am – 6pm Monday through Friday, and 10am – 3pm Saturday. Visit us at 1016 W. Hayden Avenue or online at www.AlpacaDirect.com – your local destination for luxury yarn, socks, apparel & gifts. “Like” us on Facebook and Yelp for exclusive coupons, product spotlights & news!

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Posted by Research evidence on how knitting delays onset of Alzheimers | Art on the High Street on

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Posted by memory richey on

I believe you. I crochet to keep my brain active and there is research that proves active brains help. Thanks

Posted by Kelley Hobart on

Hi Suzanne,
Sorry you feel this way. We in no way wanted to provide anything misleading. Here’s a paragraph from alz.org also mentioning prevention of Alzheimers in the context of the article.
http://www.alz.org/we_can_help_brain_health_maintain_your_brain.asp

“It’s not known what causes Alzheimer’s disease or what role genetics plays in most cases of Alzheimer’s, though having parents or siblings with the disease increases your risk. A small percentage of cases is known to be caused by inherited mutated genes. In other cases, variants of specific genes increase risk, but even people who inherit such variants from both parents still may not get the disease. These risk factors that you cannot change will set a starting point for you, but there is hope that adopting healthy brain life habits might delay or prevent the appearance of Alzheimer’s disease. "
We are not experts on the disease and pulled information around the story I wanted to share.

Posted by Knitting can delay the onset of Alzheimers…..wow! | The Shed on the Allotment - sharing spaces on

[…] https://blog.alpacadirect.com/2014/04/knitting-may-help-delay-prevent-alzheimers-disease/ […]

Posted by Suzanne on

You cannot prevent Alzheimer’s Disease by knitting. That is an irresponsible and misleading statement in an article that’s otherwise lovely.

Posted by How knitting delays the onset of Alzheimer’s | artrovings on

[…] https://blog.alpacadirect.com/2014/04/knitting-may-help-delay-prevent-alzheimers-disease/ […]

Posted by margaret varnham on

I knit a lot because I am 60 now

Posted by Chrispy on

It’s irresponsible and misleading for someone to make an accusation through a comment/opinion if they haven’t done the research to back it.

I think the article is great and it makes ME want to go do some more research; anything to convince my wife that my knitting is healthy!

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