The Magic Window; Memories, Positive Environment and Dementia

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.

  1. Allow yourself to be proud of yourself.
  2. Allow yourself to see what you are good at.
  3. 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.
  4. 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…

Magic Window Sugar and Spice Baking

Happy Magic Blogging Everyone!  😀

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Charity – baking for homeless people … Vanilla buns

Vanilla Bun

Over 100 million people are homeless around the world. Things we take for granted such as having access to a toilet is something over 2.5 billion people worldwide can’t take for granted. Lots of women are scared to go out late in the evenings or in the night to perform their needs due to the high risk to become abused. In 2001, the World Toilet Organisation, declared 19 November  World Toilet Day. The aim was  to raise global awareness about that so many people are living without access to sanitation.

No Change, No Hope

It’s difficult to calculate how many people who are homeless in the UK. One reason is that the are various forms of homelessness for instance rough sleeping, hidden homelessness, hostels and supported accommodation etc. One website I looked at stressed that there are about one million homeless people in the UK. The conclusion is that even in well-developed countries such as UK, there are still lots of people who don’t have a proper home. In Sweden, there are about 34 000 individuals who are homeless. Luckily the councils have become better at solving the issues surrounding  homelessness, so less people are sleeping on the street than before.

I have never been homeless so I can never imagine how it feels to not have a proper home. I can only imagine how horrible it must be.  I am spoiled with lots of warm water, a clean toilet and warm & cosy home. The winters in Sweden are sometimes very cold and often it’s not so pleasant to go out when it’s about minus 10-15 degrees Celsius and the cold icy wind is stroking your chin. Ten minutes feels like a very long time when you have to go home from the train station, but I am lucky that I have a warm home to go home to.

Think about the people who have to walk around for hours in the icy weather and probably have nowhere to sleep. I met a homeless person at the train station in Sweden before I had my exam in Law. He was asking for money and I asked him why he hadn’t tried to get any help from the council. The man replied that he was “too old, so he couldn’t get any help”. I also asked him how it feels to be homeless in the winters. He told me that it’s horrible and you have to walk around all the time in the nights when the train stations are closed just so you will not freeze to death. He had met a homeless man who just fell asleep and never woke up.

Certainly, many individuals do have a choice they can make such as the man from the train station, but he didn’t want any help from the society. Furthermore, maybe he didn’t want to stop drinking so he could change his life. Some people don’t have a choice. They might live in a society without a proper social welfare system and when you have to rely on your relatives and where money is something which lots of people are struggling with. I read articles about that the Swedish Clothing company H&M who only pay their wage earners in Cambodia 3 Swedish crowns per hour (about 0.47 USD, 0.29 GBP). Women are forced to work more hours than their health allows to them to do. Despite that they have to borrow money to buy food. When you are going to the supermarket and complaining about the food they have there just take a second to think about the people who want to buy food because they are starving, but they don’t have enough money to do it…

My Christmas charity task for this year has been to bake more than 100 vanilla buns for some of the homeless people. I gave them today to an organisation in Swindon in the UK which is called Threshold                                                                              (http://www.thl.org.uk/Threshold/Home.html). 😀 Threshold’s aim is to help the homeless people by for instance supplying safe sheltering. Thankfully, they accepted my gift and were happy and grateful to deliver the buns to the people who are homeless. 😀

Here comes the Vanilla bun recipe 😀 😀

Recipe (makes 40 buns) 

Dough 

  • 50 gr fresh yeast
  • 150 gr unsalted butter
  • 4 dl whole milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 dl granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 pinch of Swedish hjorthornssalt
  • about 13 dl plain flour

Filling

  • 3 dl vanilla custard 

For brushing 

  • melted unsalted butter 
  • granulated sugar

Crumble the yeast in a bowl. Melt the butter in a pot, pour the milk into the same saucepan and heat up to 37 degrees C.

Pour the milk over the yeast and stir until melted. Add the eggs, granulated sugar, salt, hjorthornssalt and plain flour.

Work the dough until smooth and firm. Leave in bowl and let it rise under a tea towel for about 30 minutes. Kneed it a bit and shape the dough into round balls.

shape balls

Flatten the balls, put a teaspoon of vanilla custard on each of them and shape them into a golf ball sized ball. Place the “ugly” side down into the papercase.

Let the buns rise on a baking sheet for about 40 minutes and then bake them in the middle of the oven at 225 degrees C for about 6-8 minutes (until golden brown).

golden brown

Let them cool on a wire rack.

Brush the buns with melted butter and dip them in granulated sugar.

Brushing

😀

Dip

😀

Can be frozen.

vanilla buns

😀

vanilla buuuuns

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Ready to go! 

Ready to go

Outside Culvery Court; The main hostel! 

Culvery Court

Happy Vanilla Bun Baking! 😀

Dementia and Baking

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?