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Topic: Yarn As Therapy  (Read 1208 times)
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« on: December 30, 2005 03:52:40 PM »

Here's a question about the intersection of yarn and human relations.

My Granny is getting old. As she does, it seems she is slipping into a depression (to be expected). She is recovering from knee replacement this Christmas and complained to me before the holiday that she couldn't afford gifts for anyone this year. I told her what a big hit my simple knitted dishcloths were suggested she make up some simple gifts. She has always crocheted, but nothing very creative. I told her I would be happy to download patterns for her anytime. If she started now, she'd have a great stash by next December! She responded with noises like "Eehhh" and "Uhhhh" and was generally ambivalent. Undecided

Since then, I have loaned her my "Idiot's Guide to Knitting and Crochet" and though she thumbs through it, I can't tell if this really interests her. I really think if she crocheted for charity and gifts, she'd be able to experience some joy and it might give her a boost. I am planning a notebook of patterns, along with some of my yarn stash and perhaps a couple of new skiens thrown in. I really want this to be a loving "pick yourself up" experience for her.

Any other ideas to help? Has anyone else used knitting/crochet as therapy for the elderly? Or can anyone else just give me a sympathetic head nod? Suggestions would be great! I am going to start gathering things for her after the holiday rush.
« Last Edit: December 30, 2005 04:21:27 PM by efferjen » THIS ROCKS   Logged
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« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2005 04:04:23 PM »

I was a caregiver to one of my mother's neighbors a few years back.  She had a disease that hardened her lung tissue, so she couldn't exert herself and breath heavily.  She stayed in her recliner most of the time and I would go about my day cleaning and helping her change, bathe, etc.

One day I asked her about a box of crochet paraphenalia she had sitting in her bedroom and she became very animated.  She was thrilled to show me how she made a certain type of potholder and since moving the hook didn't tire her out too much, she could work on it on and off all day.

It might not necessarily be something that your Granny is interested in, but it wouldn't hurt to sit down with her over a pattern or two and see if she enjoys trying something different.

I hope that this is something that you and your Granny can share, and I definitely send a sympathetic nod your way.

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« Reply #2 on: December 30, 2005 04:49:08 PM »

I use crochet as therepy for me! My grandmother crochets and knits, but she's far from homebound and depressed (shes one of the spunky old ladies). I get so stressed out with college and work that crochet is just.. nice to do. At christmas, I was so excited to see everyones reactions to what I had made. Being a lowly college student on an incredibly fixed budget, I can relate (minus the older, depressed part. I just feel old, but thats just sore joints from work.)

I think that even if she doesnt act interested, it would be a great gesture on your part to put the time into it. It wopuld be even nicer if you sort of had a stitch  n bitch with her. I know from my mothers dealings with the elderly (she runs a gardening service and caters mostly to the elderly, and in the winter months acts as a caretaker to the handicapped and elderly) that sometimes just some company can go a long way. When you're older, no one pays as much attention and it can feel like the woprld is passing you by (cliche, I know, but theres a reason they're called cliches...). Even if shes not interested in crochet anymore, just getting involved does wonders.

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« Reply #3 on: December 30, 2005 06:08:36 PM »

Thanks to both of you! Knitting and crochet have been so theraputic for me that I tend to think that revisiting her old hobby will be gratifying for her also. I found some chenielle in my stash that I plan to use to build on her old slipper pattern ("I love those slippers you always made us! Don't you think it would be great in this really soft yarn?") and give her some snazzy dishcloth patterns to build on what she already does.

I just want the giving aspect of working with her hands to help her look outside herself. And you're right, the time with her is probably the most important factor.

Keep it coming! Pattern or project ideas are welcome along with similar stories or tips.
« Reply #4 on: December 30, 2005 08:12:37 PM »

This sounds like a great idea. 

At the risk of sounding negative, keep in mind that many older hands often suffer from arthritis and pain from repetive motion.  My mom has had trouble crocheting for the past ten or more years and she's in her early 60's. 

Larger hooks and bigger yarns may help as the motions are slightly different.
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« Reply #5 on: December 31, 2005 07:31:29 AM »

They also make these little half gloves with the fingers and thumb cut out that are made out of nylon or spandex or something.  Wearing them really helps keep your hands from getting tired.  I used to have a pair for practice my flute, but I've seen them in craft stores lately.  They really help and they might be something else you could get your granny to help her hands.

And spending lots of time with her, is of course the best therapy of all.

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« Reply #6 on: December 31, 2005 09:12:20 AM »

I had a thought while I was reading the comments, Can your grandma read a pattern?  I know my mom gets extremely frustrated when trying to follow patterns.  Also, you might want to copy any patterns in larger print.

It's a great idea, maybe even take her to a local yarn shop to look at yarn or sit and crochet their with other people.  Even being around other people would be good for her.

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« Reply #7 on: January 01, 2006 11:06:38 AM »

Have you tried sitting down and crocheting with her?  Or in front of her (if she won't do it) just so she can watch you and maybe get the urge to crochet again?  Have her take a look at your yarn stash.  Maybe she just needs to get the materials in her hands to feel inspired.

Or maybe she has bad associations with crocheting that you never realized.  Maybe she felt it was chore.  Does she have any friends who you could invite over to crochet with her, or you?  That might help. 

Keep trying.  Maybe she'll warm up to it.  It's sweet of you to want to help her. 
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« Reply #8 on: January 01, 2006 01:03:12 PM »

getting her some new hooks (all different sizes and colors, of course) would be kind of cool... and maybe one of those organizer things to put them in. I know that crocheting is therapy for me... (In fact, I've been known to crochet while actually sitting in therapy. lol)

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« Reply #9 on: January 02, 2006 02:36:44 PM »

There was a lady where I once worked who crocheted little newborn beanies. She was always working on one. She did them all sizes, for preemies and normal sized babies.  She donated them to the maternity ward of the hospitals and they were always so happy to get them.   Maybe your grandmom would like to do something like that?  Maybe she'd get a warm fuzzy doing it.  Smiley

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