Days Go By With You: A Memorable Knitting Story

January 07, 2021

In memory of our friend, Ruth

About four years ago, my friend Ruth, one of True Care's True Bridge clients, started a knitting circle with three of her friends and their caregivers once a week in her apartment in Battery Park. Over the years, Ruth hosted the knitting circle and served snacks and drinks as the ladies knit for about 45 minutes. It was good company, with good music. The knitting circle became a social time for the ladies and a way for Ruth to showcase her strengths and share them with her friends. Ruth lived with Alzheimer’s Disease for about six years, and even though her cognitive memory was fading, her muscle and motor memory continued to flourish.

As the knitting circle continued, the ladies' care partners joined in, including Ruth's friend, Marie. Marie paired up with Ruth in 2017 and got along with her from the start. They shared many walks, meals, and activities during their time together five days a week. Each moment helped strengthen the bond between them. I had the privilege of documenting many of these moments. One of the most memorable (captured in the photo below) is when Ruth gave Marie this handmade Valentine’s Day card, which read, “Days go by with you!”

Before she worked with Ruth, Marie didn't know how to knit. Luckily, Ruth was happy to teach her how, and Marie was a quick learner. Together with Ruth's friends, they continued the knitting club and joined the knitting and crafting activities offered at her residence, where they knit bears for children, blankets for dogs, and scarves as gifts.

When the pandemic hit, knitting became a daily form of engagement. Marie and Ruth worked together on knitting masks and more bears since these items provided comfort. Ruth's passion for knitting and teaching continued until the summer of 2020 when she passed away. Ruth’s legacy and memory live as her beloved companion, Marie, continues to knit every day and teaches others the same way Ruth taught her. 

Custom-made knitting needles, from Jodie to Marie, in memory of their friend, Ruth

As a Certified Recreational Therapist who has been working with people living with Alzheimer’s and dementia for over 15 years, I have practiced and promoted expressive and creative art therapies such as knitting as a form of non-pharmacologic treatment, which can build connections and promising opportunities. Expressive arts therapies use the arts to ignite the creative process and facilitate growth and healing. The benefits display a positive effect on mood, behavior, function, cognition and provide outcomes that promote meaningful engagement that can enhance a person’s well-being and overall quality of life. 

Numerous research and evidence-based studies have shown that knitting can reduce stress, promote better health, and have significant psychological and social benefits. The repetitive action of knitting, crocheting, and needlework can positively impact one’s health and well-being when related to memory and staving off dementia. 

The sensory and rhythmic stimulation of knitting has specific health benefits that can include:

  • Reduces stress and anxiety 
  • Improves hand-eye coordination
  • Fosters a sense of accomplishment and self-efficacy 
  • Improves cardiovascular health

According to an article published in November of 2020 in the New York Times, if you google “Knitting” and “Pandemic” together, you will get about 23 million hits. The calming effect and enhancement of skills that allow you to complete a project can keep you going during these long, restless days.

Ruth and her best buddy, Nancy, were knitting weekly. A safe, social, and physically distanced activity.  

Our need to feel connected to something, or someone, we love is intensified by the pandemic. Finding creative and safe ways to stay connected continues each day for all of us. Ruth taught me there is joy throughout the journey with dementia. Her memory lives on each day in my work and has inspired other residents to pick up their knitting needles and begin again. 

No comments found.

Leave a Comment

Breaking Barriers in Healthcare: The Inspiring Stories of Black American Trailblazers during Black History Month

During Black History Month, it is important to recognize and celebrate the incredible achievements and contributions of Black Americans in various fields. In the healthcare industry, Black Americans have played a crucial role in breaking barriers and paving the way for future generations. True Care Home Care is honored to highlight the inspiring stories of […]

10 Heart Healthy Tips

February is Heart Health Month, a time dedicated to raising awareness about cardiovascular health and promoting healthy habits. Taking care of your heart is essential for overall well-being and longevity. Whether you’re young or old, it’s never too early or too late to start prioritizing heart health. In this article, we will provide you with […]

The Top 10 Most Common Winter Ailments: What You Need to Know

The Top 10 Most Common Winter Ailments: What You Need to Know During the winter months, many people experience a variety of ailments that are specific to the season. These ailments can range from common colds and flu to more serious conditions like pneumonia and bronchitis. At True Care, your priority is your health so […]

Essential Tips for Keeping the Elderly Healthy and Happy in Winter

10 Essential Tips for Keeping the Elderly Healthy and Happy in Winter As the winter season approaches, it is important to ensure the health and happiness of our elderly loved ones. The colder temperatures and harsh weather conditions can pose significant challenges to their wellbeing. That is why True Care Home Care has compiled a […]

Saving Lives One Drop at a Time: Celebrating National Blood Donor Month

Saving Lives One Drop at a Time: Celebrating National Blood Donor Month Every January, National Blood Donor Month is celebrated in the United States to raise awareness about the importance of blood donation. This month-long campaign aims to honor the individuals who make a difference by donating blood and saving lives. By shedding light on […]