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You are never to old to craft

You are never to old to craft: Creative hobbies like knitting, crochet and painting have plenty of wellbeing benefits – no matter your age. So, it’s no surprise, we’ve recently seen a surge in popularity for creative hobbies – over the last three months online searches for ‘best crafting kits for adults’ have increased by 400%*.

Residents at Alston House Care Home in Eastleigh have been reaping the health and wellbeing benefits of crafting by decorating and racing their own sailboats to celebrate Southampton’s International Boat Show, which is taking place in the city this month (15th – 24th September).

With an average age of 87, residents at Alston House brought their experiences of coastal living in Southampton to life by creating bright and uniquely decorated sailboats, as well as sharing their memories of the boat show’s past.

In collaboration with Lottie (a later living marketplace), Wellbeing and Lifestyle Coach at Alston House Care Home, Lidia Nikolova Gjorgjieva organised a week of activities for residents to enjoy, each based around the Southampton International Boat show, including a visit to race their own boats at River Itchen Valley Park.

Lidia said, “The Southampton Boat Show is a popular event in the area and enjoyed by many, so being part of this feels like a true honour. We had a day dedicated to decorating the boats, and the residents were very creative with their designs, carefully choosing the colours and making lovely drawings.

“We then went to the local River Itchen Valley Park and had a boat show of our own. We had a lovely stroll by the river and found the perfect spot for the boats to go in the river. This was the very first Alston House outing, and it will be remembered as an amazing day full of fun!”

84-year-old Maz, a resident at Alston House Care Home, made it a tradition to go to the Southampton Boat Show with her husband each year and remembers how “we used to go and look at the big boats and enjoy being by the water. The weather was always nice and warm, just like this year.”

Maz enjoyed decorating her boat and shared, “I enjoyed sitting in the garden and decorating the boats”. Maz designed a pink and white boat with lots of stars and called it ‘Two Stars’. She shared, “I chose the design of my boat because I liked the colour, and the stars just happened.”

Other residents at Alston House Care Home, Christine (80 years old), Alison (83 years old), Phyllis (92 years old), and Dennis (96 years old) also enjoyed decorating the boats. Dennis’ son Paul and his wife Patricia joined in the activity, making it a great day for family fun.

However, without a doubt, the favourite activity of the week was the boat race, with the trip to River Itchen Valley Park sparking many happy memories for the residents.

83-year-old Alison reminisced on bringing her two dogs, Benji and Gemma, for walks along the river and described the boat race as her “perfect day out”.

She shared, “It was lovely to go on the trip to the park. I call that area my homeland, and it brought back a lot of memories to me. I loved the stroll down the river, and I even put my feet in the water, which was lovely. The ducks even came to join us for a snack! This was a perfect day for me – I could not have asked for anything more!”.

92-year-old Phyllis wasn’t too sure who would win the boat race, but had her fingers crossed it was her!

She shared, “I really enjoyed this activity. We enjoyed the lovely warm weather while decorating the boats, and it was amazing to see them go in the water. The trip to the park and the stroll by the river were splendid! We definitely had a boat show of our own!”

The three ladies, Alison, Maz and Phyllis, all looked very glamorous whilst racing their boats – wearing floppy sun hats and big sunglasses. Maz joked, “We’ve had years of practice to look this glam!”

Hannah Karim, Care Expert Manager at Later Living Marketplace Lottie, shares the health benefits of crafting, no matter your age:

“It’s great to see the joy decorating and racing sailboats in the run-up to Southampton International Boat Show has brought to residents at Alston House Care Home. Participation in community events like this brings generations together and helps older adults to feel connected to others, encouraging a sense of belonging.

Crafting hobbies also often encourage socialising when practised in group settings, allowing members to form friendships and ultimately reduce any feelings of loneliness and isolation. All of which are an important part of good wellbeing as we age.

What’s more, creative activities like boat decoration allow older adults to tap into their artistic abilities and stimulate their cognitive functions – contributing to a more fulfilling and mentally active lifestyle and promoting overall cognitive health.

Activities like this at Alston House are a wonderful way to stay connected to the local community as you age and offer the perfect opportunity to reminisce on unique and fond memories of living in Southampton and beyond through the years.”


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