In recent years, knitting and crocheting experienced a worldwide resurgence around as people took up wool crafts as an antidote to lockdown boredom and pandemic anxiety.
Now brightly coloured yarns and the clickety click of needles and hooks is proving to be a surprising health and wellbeing remedy for seniors at Baptistcare Morrison Gardens Residential Care in Midland.
The Woolly WAGs initiative started with a lunchtime conversation between avid staff crocheters Residential Care Manager, Diane Defontaine and Administration Officer, Nikki Crocker.
“Nikki was crocheting in the meeting room on her lunch break, and I told her about my passion for crocheting even though I am limited to beanies, scarves and amigurumi unicorns,” Diane said.
“It got us thinking about several of our seniors who don’t like participating in planned activities but crochet and knit by themselves in their rooms.”
One of those solo crafters was Helen Corrigal, who had recently moved into Morrison Gardens.
She presented Diane with a gorgeous, knitted coat hanger made from apricot wool, and told her that if she doesn’t crochet or knit the arthritis in her fingers plays up.
“I said it would be great for Helen to join Nikki and I for a knitting and crocheting session with a chat and cuppa, and that was the catalyst to start a dedicated group.”
Diane made up personal invitations to join in the Woolly WAGs get-together and delivered them to those residents who had been spotted with wool in their rooms.
It worked and in little over a month the group is approaching a dozen enthusiastic members (including a husband-and-wife team) with some residents changing their normal routines to ensure they can attend.
According to Diane the Woolly WAGs has helped break down social barriers among residents with the weekly sessions generating plenty of conversations and laughter.
But the group is also delivering health benefits with the knitting and crocheting helping to reduce stress and anxiety, facilitating new skills and movements and encouraging mindful breathing.
“We are already noticing many positive changes among our Woolly WAGs,” she said.
“The sessions are only an hour long, but a lot of joy and engagement happens in those sixty-minute catch-ups.”
Helen Corrigal, who’s been knitting and crocheting for over 40 years, says the Woolly WAGs has been a great way to connect with others who share passion for all things yarn.
“I’ve made so many new friends since joining the Woolly WAGs” she said.
“It’s a fun way to keep my fingers nimble, which helps enormously with my arthritis.”
Diane said Morrison Gardens is now opening the group to interested Baptistcare Home Care customers and is also keen for knitters and crocheters in the Midland area to join in.
“We would love to see the Woolly WAGs grow and become a wonderful connector to the local community,” said Diane.
Follow this link for more information about Residential Care or call 1300 660 640.