In his wildest dreams 72 year-old, Jerry Sigmon never imagined being recognized
for his knitting skills. Nor did he foresee that he would fill a special
need for a group of women and their newborns participating in
CVMC’s Centering Pregnancy program.
“I want to offer a HUGE thank you to the amazing gift of handmade
hats that Jerry donated. We rely on community donations to support this
program,” said Trish Hickling Beckman, RN, CNM MPH, NEA-BC, Director
CVMC Maternity Services.
Although a chronic heart condition makes Sigmon eligible for nursing home
care, he wants to stay independent and keep living in his Newton home
as long as possible. After several months of home health provider visits,
he found himself desiring more structure in his day and wanted to interact
with people – yet he needed routine monitoring of his heart condition.
He now spends 3 days a week at an all-inclusive care facility in Newton,
PACE@Home, where he gets medical care and enjoys recreational opportunities
and social activities it offers.
“I found myself growing depressed staying at home and my heart condition
was getting the best of me,” said Sigmon. “I took a class
here at PACE called ‘Nifty Knitters” and started donating
the adult-sized hats I knitted to area homeless residents. Then my art
evolved and I started adding embellishments. Friends asked me to make
their grandchildren infant hats with custom color themes representing
sports teams or special occasions. Soon I started knitting an average
of 6 baby hats per day with yarn donated from area companies.”
One of the most popular caps Jerry makes is from camouflage yarn in honor
of fathers currently serving active duty in the military. Aside from knitting,
Sigmon enjoys gardening and finds knitting relaxing. He credits PACE and
the recreational programs it offers with putting meaning back into his life.
According to the American Academy of Neurology, knitting can reduce the
risk of memory loss by 40 percent. Harvard Medical School published a
finding that indicates repetitive motions and the focus required for a
craft like knitting elicits a relaxing response that is calming and can
cause heart rate and blood pressure to drop.
PACE@Home creates an individualized plan of care for each participant.
Plans are reviewed and updated regularly by an Interdisciplinary Team
including oversight provided by Alan G. Forshey, MD, of Newton Family
Physicians – a board-certified family physician affiliated with
Catawba Valley Medical Center.