Dementia Awareness Week - Knit With Me and Make Your Mark

Dementia Awareness Week information

On Dementia Awareness Week we’d like to highlight two projects supported by the Charity as part of North Bristol NHS Trust’s Fresh Arts programme – Knit With Me, and Make Your Mark.

Knit With Me

Knit with Me provides therapeutic care sessions for dementia patients.

The benefits of knitting are well documented  and go way beyond that of it being just a relaxing hobby.  As a repetitive and absorbing past time, knitting can help a patient’s wellbeing by offering a calm opportunity for reflection.  It provides visual and tactile stimulation, and has been proven to support pain or anxiety management.  Further, knitting is physically beneficial as it encourages repetitive, co-ordinated, bi-lateral movement.  And it’s fun.

Since July 2014, textile artist Ali Brown has provided the sessions here at Southmead Hospital and as well as all the recognised benefits the tangible results are colourful! From a giant patchwork jumper and knitted letters for visitors, to wonky-eyed teddies for new babies and our famous Twiddlemuffs, Knit With Me has generated some amazing works of art. (And if you don’t know what a Twiddlemuff is, you can find out here)

Make Your Mark

Make Your Mark began as an 18 week pilot project bringing visual arts activities to dementia and frail elderly patients in the complex care wards here at Southmead Hospital. 

Ruth Sidgwick, Fresh Arts Programme Manager, sums up the Mark Your Mark project beautifully:

“Two artists spend Wednesday afternoons painting and drawing with patients.  This is not only a lovely distraction for patients but it’s great for families to see their loved ones busy, focussed, calm and creative.  And it’s even making the environment better for staff – one Health Care Assistant told me:  ‘I found after an art activity it was easier to look after one of my patients because he seemed more settled and happier.’

“A nurse commented: ‘After one of my patients attended the painting session it helped me to break the ice with them.  It jogged some memories!’”

Feedback shows the creative sessions help reduce the patients’ distress and improves communication between staff and patients.  For some patients it has enhanced their moods, making them easier to care for.  And each week patients have commented on their enjoyment of the activity, and how it helped them to feel content and calm.  Some weeks the sessions are full of laughter, and the patients appreciate the social aspect. They are often proud of their achievements and are pleased they had given it a go and tried something new.

We’re delighted to be supporting both of these projects this year.

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