KNITTING boards are helping elderly residents build their hand strength, hand-to-eye coordination and concentration.

The toys, which resemble cross-stitching, are being used at The Beeches Care Home, on Green Lane, Stockton-on-Tees.

They were originally designed as an educational and development tool for nursery children but they have also worked well for people with learning difficulties and dementia.

It involves using a pen-shaped tool with lace thread through it to pierce holes in the boards and make patterns.

The activity has proven particularly beneficial for residents on The Beeches Care Home dementia unit, helping them to focus and recall memories of knitting when younger.

Jess Roth, activities coordinator at The Beeches Care Home, said: “I can see a difference in the residents’ ability to focus and I’m hoping that it will lead to an increase in grip strength too.

“One resident, Lena Evenden, said that it was like doing her cross stitch that she used to do at home.

“The ladies really took to the activity. It will be something we’ll be doing regularly.”