Use a Weaver’s Loom


I know this next statement might sound strange, but I swear it’s true, so here it goes. When I worked at a large assisted living, this was the most popular activity we offered, hands down.  We had pool tables, bingo, exercise (which was the probably the second most popular activity), ceramics, you name it, we had it, and this was the most popular activity for both men and women.  Why?  I can’t be certain, but I think lots of people liked it because they could make high-quality things to give away as gifts (mostly place mats, but also  table runners and scarves) or use in the facility.  In fact, we had so many looms and so many weavers that not only did we use the facility-made place mats in our dining room, we changed them once a month to go with the holiday/season/our whim.  Even with all that changing, we still had plenty to sell at our yearly craft fair. Again, in summary, our residents loved to weave. 

The nice thing for those with memory loss is that it’s a fairly easy process to learn, simple alternate moving the shuttle (the piece of wood with the yarn wrapped around it) through the two lawyers of string and pushing the heddle (the comb-like device with the yarn through its teeth).  The repetitive movements are relaxing and you can set your own pace, which is a nice change from the many time-sensitive activities we do on a daily basis.  The person with memory loss may need help threading the whole contraction to get started, but those in the early stages should be fairly good to go after a quick tutorial of who it works.  Those more advanced in the disease may need a demonstration and periodic reminders each time they start weaving after a pause, but should be able to weave quasi-independently. 

The main downside, in my eyes at least, is the cost.  Buying a loom can be a costly investment, especially if you don’t know if it will be something the person with dementia will enjoy.  Generally, the narrower the loom, the less expensive it is.  They do make lap looms which are less expensive than tabletop versions (like the one seen in the picture above), but in my opinion, they’re harder to use. 





  1. Jaya said

    this is great, I just googled loom weaving+alzheimers thinking that is exactly what I could do well as a job. Wonder if I can make it happen….

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