The Chicago Tribune recently published an article which predicts that Alzheimer's will triple by 2050 as baby boomers age. Yikes! Want to avoid being one of the 13.8 million afflicted with this? So do I! I don't want that for me nor my family. And right here, right now I am going to tell you how to do it. Learn how to quilt or knit! Yes, having hobbies like quilting or sewing in your 50's and 60's will help you out big time as you age. Read about it here. I am going to help you figure out how to start these hobbies. You can do it, step by step!
First of all quilting. I am sure you live near a quilting store, Google "Quilting store in" and put in your area. Something will pop up! Then look the choices up on Yelp, call and ask questions plus visit. Find out when they offer a beginning quilting class. Nearly all stores do and at a fairly reasonable price for it they turn you into a quilter, they will sell more fabric. Sign up, you can do this! If you don't have a machine, get a Bernette. They are budget friendly from the Bernina line. Sometimes a park district will offer classes but a quilting store makes acquiring the supplies easier. If you keep looking you will find a place to start, you just might have to wait for a new class.
Pick an easy project for your first quilt. This quilt was made using precut flannel blocks. There are lots of precuts out there to ease you into quilting. As you learn about it and figure things out, you get nifty quilts and your brain gets a great workout. You make new connections with people which is also good for your brain. Be easy on yourself, you don't have to make a huge elaborate quilt, just fun ones your family will adore. Blue Underground studios has lots of patterns with all straight line piecing, like this one. Over the years, you can try new things, some harder or just new. The important thing is to keep your brain active and learning.
Now let's talk about knitting. I didn't start knitting until I was 57 and I have picked it up, slowly, but I am getting it and learning new things. That's the important part, using your brain in a new way. Plus you get cool stuff! I had always wanted to learn how to knit but I waited until I retired from working full time. Now I am glad I did, my brain is benefiting plus you should see the scarves! Start with dishrags - they are fast! Plus useful! And if you get really good at making them, you can give them as presents to people who will be not only grateful but impressed.
Knitting is cheaper to start - really what do you need but some needles, a pattern and some yarn? Well, you need someone to teach you. In my town there is a group that meets at the library plus a knitting store which offers lessons. 20 minutes away there is another yarn store which offers lessons. Google yarn stores in your area or see if Joanne Fabrics has classes. Put a little ad on Craig's List and find someone who can teach you or maybe join a group on Meetup. Learning how to knit is a bit faster and requires less money and space to get started than quilting. Do one this year and the next in a year or two!
When you do start, let me give you a tip from a beginning knitter - make a scarf with fluffy yarn and big needles! Later on you can make a harder one but it's fun at the beginning to get some immediate gratification.
I think you should read also but for Alzheimer prevention, the activity has to exercise your brain. Reading quick books doesn't really do that. You need to read something which makes you think and studies have shown that if you read to remember and discuss with a book club, that's the reading which helps your brain. Do cross word puzzles or word games but for goodness sake, turn off that TV!
Come to the quilting and knitting side, we have healthy brains!