Knitting shawls and blankets can offer tremendous comfort to patients with Alzheimer’s; learn about Alice’s Embrace
If I can be honest with you for a moment, developing Alzheimer’s is one of my greatest fears.
My grandfather suffered from it. He was my last living grandparent, and he passed on the very day I graduated from high school.
That sounds unspeakably tragic, doesn’t it? Yet I was far more heartbroken the day I went with some of my family to visit my grandfather in a nursing home. I saw no light of recognition in his eyes. It was obvious that he had no idea who any of us were.
The idea that I could one day lose all ability to recognize my loved ones has haunted me to this day.
Comfort for a Terrible Affliction
You might wonder how an individual with Alzheimer’s could benefit from a shawl or blanket. If you read the article posted on Maria Shriver’s blog and written by Alice’s Embrace’s founder, Diane Lewis, you’ll understand. In a nutshell, shawls and blankets bring great comfort to individuals with Alzheimer’s.
Diane wrote the following to me in an email:
The joy we have seen firsthand when we make the deliveries is quite magical. Sometimes the recipient becomes emotional the moment we place the item over their shoulders or on their laps. They often cannot believe it is a free gift.
Those who are not as far along in the disease really love to hear the stories behind the different names and they’re also the ones who love to hear that people from all over the country create these gifts and send them to us to give to them. The recipients who are a bit further along in the disease maybe not verbally tell us that they love their gift, but we can tell by the way they touch it or smile when it’s placed over them.
The comfort these lap blankets and prayer shawls are providing to these dear folks is so much more than I could have ever imagined when I first started Alice’s Embrace. Mom’s gave her warmth, comfort and helped ease anxiety and I’m seeing that this is the case for our recipients, too.”
This program operates primarily in California and Nevada. They may partner with additional yarn shops throughout the country, but for now they concentrated in these two states. Of course, you can contribute from anywhere!
How You Can Help
Alice’s Embrace has specific guidelines for the items you send.
While shawls and blankets can be made from any yarn (so long as they are washable, sturdy, and will work with their patterns), they do ask that you use one of their patterns from their website.
The reason for this is twofold: one, the names of the patterns are shared with the patients, which gives those who care for them a way to interact and connect with them.
Two, they want to ensure consistency among the patients, who might have hurt feelings if someone else has a “nicer” shawl or blanket than they do.
Be sure to carefully review Alice’s Embrace’s website, particularly the “How to Help,” “FAQs” and “Patterns” sections, so you’ll know exactly how to contribute to this wonderful cause in the best possible way.
It’s sad and unfortunate that Alzheimer’s patients tend to be forgotten and ignored by society. But by joining this cause, you can do your part to offer them comfort and love through your charity knitting.