Week 5, 22nd April.  Activity - Crafting

Activities:

1).  Painting.  Have a go!  Watercolours, oils, pastels, whatever takes your fancy.  Nobody is incapable of making some kind of picture.  If it helps, paint by numbers.  The satisfaction of a finished picture is immense.

2).  Drawing a picture.  Use pencils, charcoal, black and white, or coloured.  If you don't feel confident enough to draw freehand, try one of the many colouring in books designed for adults. Use bold felt tips for a bright, cheerful end result.  Or try pastel pencils for a more subtle finish.

3). Hand make some cards.  People always appreciate the personal touch of a home made card. They can be relatively simple with a few words of greeting, or hugely embellished using different colours, materials, stickers, buttons, etc.

4). Pom Pom making.  This is a very tactile activity and has the benefit of often being remembered from childhood.  The simple repetitive technique is easy to manage for most people and if it's found to be therapeutic a whole rainbow of colours can be made quickly and easily.

In case anyone needs a reminder; cut a thick piece of cardboard into a circle.  Cut a smaller circle in the centre.  Push a piece of wool into the middle and loop it around the outer ring.  Tie this first loop so it doesn't unravel and then simply wind wool from the centre to the outer ring repeatedly until the whole cardboard circle is covered.  Cut the wool all around the outer edge of the cardboard circle, tie the centre and fluff it out!

5). Sewing or knitting.  Skills that have been mastered many years ago may be retained long after more recent memories and abilities have gone.  A person with dementia may find it comforting to get back into a once familiar habit.  They may also still be able to manage fine motor skills until quite late progression of their illness (although this does depend on the type of dementia the individual has).  If someone is still able to create something they will feel a much needed sense of purpose and achievement, which also helps with their mood, and impacts on how they react with and to those around them.

Discussion:

Talk about crafts you both did as children.  Were there any that were particularly enjoyable?  Which type of artwork did you most enjoy doing at school?  If you ever went to any galleries, what was your favourite type of art?  Can you remember the names of any famous artists?

Have a look around you.  Are there any hand crafted things in the house?  Knitted jumpers? Embroidery?  Patchwork quilts?  Who made these?  (If someone can't remember, or may find it upsetting to remember, just talk about how they were made).  Ask if there is anything else they may like to try or even just look at (perhaps a book of famous paintings).

Tips:

Anything creative gives a feeling of achievement.  Which in turn makes us feel good.  Everyone needs praise sometimes and a sense of accomplishment.  This is more important than ever when many of us are stuck in an unfamiliar routine (or lack of one).  This may apply more to carers than those they care for.

As carers it is so important for you to keep up your own sense of worth and take care of your own mental health needs.  Of all the activities so far, I'd really recommend getting down to some crafting yourselves.

Don't worry about 'having nothing in'.  Places like Hobbycraft and Amazon are still delivering. Materials can be bought cheaply.  For example, a ream of copier or printer paper is usually well under five pounds.  You don't need professional standard materials, an ordinary set of child's coloured pencils, paints or felt tips is fine.  You can always upgrade as you become more proficient!

If you or the person you care for enjoys card making, don't wait for a particular occasion to come up, just make as many as you're having fun doing and store them away.

This week's take home message is whenever possible have fun!  Or at the very least try something new to distract yourself from the daily grind.

And if any of you can make drawstring bags I believe the NHS are very short of them, and I'm sure they would be appreciated.

Until next week.  Take care of yourselves.  Look after each other.

Pam x