Photo: Ellen has already finished making a few squares for Elsies Project
With knitting needles in hand, in-home care provider Home Instead’s Central Coast and Newcastle clients and caregivers have been busy knitting and chatting as they create comforting blankets to gift patients at Elsie’s Project – a 12-bed palliative care unit at Gosford Hospital and soon-to-open in mid-2024 Wyong Hospital.
Eight clients and their caregivers attended the inaugural Knit & Natter event last month at Home Instead’s Newcastle office. The new social event has been created as an extension of the office’s existing monthly Enhance event luncheons for caregivers and clients to foster social connection and eliminate loneliness.
“Companionship and care are at the centre of what Home Instead does and we work hard to ensure our clients feel socially connected through our organised events,” Home Instead Community Engagement Manager, Samantha Farham, said.
“As our client attendee numbers at Enhance have grown to full capacity, we asked our clients who attended the luncheons what other ideas, interests, or suggestions they had for future activities.
“From their suggestions we designed a new social events calendar that now includes three new activities to accompany our monthly luncheons – Knit & Natter, Games Day and Arts & Craft.”
In May this year, Home Instead donated $10,000 to Elsie’s Project, and as part of the provider’s on-going support for the project, the Knit & Natter knitters were asked if they would like to knit or crochet 12-inch squares that could eventually be made into single-bed blankets for patients.
Samantha said everyone was very excited to be continuing to help this great cause.
“Some brought knitting, others crochet, and everyone enjoyed a Devonshire tea. A few clients also cheekily gave their caregivers strict homework on finishing their squares,” Samantha said.
“We even had one of our clients, Margaret Wood, and her caregiver on hand for any questions or help with knitting or crocheting.
“Margaret is famous at our Enhance event luncheons for gifting knitted coat hangers, beanies, and tissue holders to other clients. She knits at nighttime as it keeps her hands active and helps with her arthritis.”
“If I didn’t knit every night I would not be able to use my hands and I enjoy it,” Margaret said.
Fellow client, Josie Rutherford, thoroughly enjoyed the Knit & Natter event. “It was a lovely day and one that brings people together,” Josie said.
The event was such a great success, Samantha said, they had booked in two November dates and one in December.
“It was lovely to see our clients come together, socialise, meet new people, and make new friends plus there were a lot of giggles,” she said. “Everyone who attended has asked to come to the next one. We can’t wait to see how many blankets we can make for Elsie’s Project.”