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Norma Waitman, a resident at Waltonwood Ashburn – a premier senior living community – discovered her passion about four years ago when she started knitting. Since then, the 87 year old has turned her hobby into a project that benefits others. Waitman knits hats for newborns and donates them to the birthing center at Inova Loudoun Hospital. Each hat takes about four hours to make, and she tries to make at least one a day. Waitman says knitting is therapeutic and relaxing for her. She also says it is rewarding knowing that the several hundred hats she’s made in the last four years have brought smiles to new parents and babies.

“I wanted something that would keep me busy in retirement, and when a group of ladies I knew started knitting I wanted to join,” said Waitman. “I had never knitted before, but I have grown to love it. It truly has become my hobby, and I look forward to making hats each day. I stick to just hats but make a variety of colors. I also like to have a theme for them. For February, I will make red hats for Valentine’s Day. I make red, white and blue hats for Fourth of July, and I usually select fall colors for the end of the year. I have a lot of fun making them and picking out the different colors. I have a friend who delivers the hats to the hospital, and I always get a thank-you note or photo from the delivery. It warms my heart to see the hats benefiting a precious child who just came into the world. I am thankful I found a hobby I love that also benefits others.”

Arts and crafts, including knitting, have many benefits for seniors. Some of the benefits include:

  • Keeping your brain active
  • Improving your hand-eye coordination
  • Reducing stress and anxiety
  • Improving self-esteem
  • Promoting social activities

“At Waltonwood Ashburn, we love to encourage personal growth and the pursuit of a purposeful life for residents,” said Christopher Leinauer, executive director at Waltonwood Ashburn. “We love to see the different hobbies residents have and just how passionate they are for their craft. Norma has dedicated so much time to knitting hats for newborns, and it is inspiring to see. What she has been able to do in four short years is incredible, and I know the hospitals and new parents are grateful for her support. She is dedicated to helping others, and we are honored she calls Waltonwood Ashburn home.”

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