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Hobbies for people with PCA


Registered User
Jan 11, 2016
My mother is suffering from the form of dementia known as Posterior Cortical Atrophy.
This especially affects the ability to interpret visual information.
(She also has arthritis in her hands.)
In the past, she was very active with various types of needlework: dressmaking, knitting, tapestry, bobbin lace etc.
Nowadays, with the combination of PCA and arthritis, all of these things are practically impossible, but she still wants something to do.
Reading and writing are also becoming increasingly difficult.
Does anyone have any experience with this or tips about hobbies that are not visual (or too mentally challenging)?


Registered User
Feb 6, 2012
What about crochet

I understand you have said poor visual skills and arthritis but I wonder if using one of the new ergonomic crochet hooks would help. Google ergonomic crochet hook and several will come up.

The think is that once you learn these skills they are embedded - you do them without thinking - so crochet might still work for her. Feel is as important as looking at it. I think its easier than knitting. Perhaps start some 'granny squares' off and then she may feel she is getting somewhere even when she isn't. Having it to hold and fiddle with even if she doesn't get very far might help. Its worth a try. You might be suprised.

In the home where my son works with adults with learning difficulties they use stuff which I know as wiki sticks. They are like waxed pipecleaners and they stick to each other but can be prised apart. You can make models of things or simply arrange them into patterns on a board.

Sorry if her arthritis is so bad and this is not a good suggestion. I live in hope that it works and my instructions are to turn me off when I can no longer sew.
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Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
South coast
I know that visual problems with PCA are profound and complex. This is probably going to be more of a problem than the arthritis. I do lots of craft work myself, so I can sympathise as you still need to be able to see what you have done, although knitting blanket squares is pretty automatic and done mostly by touch.

I think you may have to go down the path of auditory and tactile things. Try audio books rather than trying to read. Do you know about Singing for the Brain? If not, see if you can find a local group. What about a drumming group or some other group where she can use the instruments herself? Or musical evenings/jazz bands?
Crafts are difficult, but what about sculpture with something like play dough or clay that doesnt need to be fired? When I was a student I made a clay Tree for a Blind Child which I actually modeled with my eyes closed. I have seen pencils that make raised lines to form tactile pictures, but cant find them on the internet now.
How about dominoes with dots that you can feel?
I hope this has stimulated thought for you.


Registered User
Jul 16, 2015
How about something along the lines of a twiddle muff, which has different textures and things to touch, so that she can keep her hands busy feeling the different things attached? Or something like a poseable soft toy which has limbs that can be bent into different positions - it might be difficult to find something appropriate for her age, but perhaps you might be able to find something that can be bent into different shapes so that she can feel the difference as she holds it.

There might be something like a ball of wood held with elastic bands, or something with wire and beads designed for a baby to play with, that she could use. I've just remembered that my children used to play with a toy that was wires bent into a shape, and you could slide beads along the wires, which they loved. I would try a good educational toy website, they might have some other ideas for things that would occupy her hands without needing too much dexterity.