I did some craft with one of the Residents at my work. We called the session ‘The Magic Window’. The meaning of the session was to bring up positive memories, feelings and thoughts to create a positive environment. The Resident, a lady (90 years old) who got dementia, created a lovely window with a red background (her favourite colour). She painted a house and a garden (it was things she liked) as well glued a curtain to her window. She created snow flakes with help of ‘diamond stickers’ and glued on butterflies on the paper to her Magic Window. The lady enjoyed the craft session and said it was definitely worth to join in.
I created a Magic Window as well, which you can see below. My point with this Blog Post is that we can create a positive environment with being creative such as using simple stuff as glue, papers, old fabrics etc. Life can be at some point stressful, filled with obstacles and negative emotions and feelings, but if you allow yourself to take a break from your stressful lifestyle, to bring up happy memories, in your own way, you might notice that life isn’t so bad as it looks like. Most people have something to be grateful for. Everyone got unique skills and is good at something regardless if they’ve got Dementia or not.
Allow yourself to be proud of yourself.
Allow yourself to see what you are good at.
Allow yourself to say thank you to people around you, even when it comes to little things, and don’t forget to tell them sometimes if you see that they are good at something.
Be grateful for the things you got and never lose the inspiration to improve yourself and your life without comparing your life with others.
Look into your own Magic Window and see what makes you happy in life…
Apart from baking, I have a big passion for Social Work. I am a Qualified Social Worker, (see the section “About Me” in my blog), and I am genuine interested in Elderly People’s health and wellbeing. For a while ago, I read an interesting article about people with dementia and baking. According to a review published in The Cochrane Library, for instance baking could help stimulate dementia patients memory and thinking.
I find it very interesting, because most people associated dementia with impairment. However, I don’t deny that dementia is a sort of impairment, but at the same time it is important to highlight a person’s resources to increase him/hers well-being and quality of life.
The results showed, that those patients who had received stimulating activities such as baking, scored much higher on the tests who would rate their memory and thought processes. Another important aspect I want to stress is that people who work with these patients should respect them as persons and don’t degrade them to do activities whom are dedicated children.
To help a person with dementia to get more empowerment in life I suggest that you make it clear where he/she can find the things in the kitchen, use for instance pictures to show the person where the items are, so you don’t have to go and get all the things for the elderly person. Do not forget that you can’t leave a person with dementia alone when he/she is using for instance the cooker. They might forget to turn it off after it has been used and it can cause a fire.
Why is this information important for all of us? According to the gerontologists, the prevalence of dementia illness has increased from the late twentieth century and the population gets older and older. It is also a challenge to provide good environments, from a theoretical and practical perspective, for older people with dementia. Therefore, baking, could probably be a good thing for the convenience of staff and patients. Who doesn’t love the scent of fresh and newly baked cakes in a warm and heart friendly environment?