My activity I'd like to share is our "Baking Bunch". Our residents love it and it's not just for the ladies. Our men enjoy it too. We try to bake things based upon the season or holiday. We also sit and enjoy what we baked with a good cup of coffee or lemonade. We then talk about other recipes and things our mothers and grandmothers baked when we were children. Recipes that bring back memories and feel good thoughts. We discuss and decide on a recipe for next month. Chocolate cake and cookies of all kinds are big hits and well as pies.
We use our kitchen in the therapy room. We do our baking group on the weekend so not to be in the way of therapy. Our bake ware is donated by our staff, some family members and the rest we borrow from our kitchen. the supplies we need depend on our recipe. We always have flour, sugar, butter, eggs and milk. We also always need gloves and dish towels (to do our dishes afterwards). Our residents do clean up after themselves, by doing dishes, wiping the counters and putting away any unused ingredients. Out table we use can be adjusted to the height best needed of our residents that are baking or cooking.
I feel baking meets a lot of needs and interests of our residents. The physical aspect is met by mixing and adding ingredients. Residents will need to raise their arms, manipulate measuring spoons and cups, grasp knives, spoons and forks. It is a nice social time for residents. They tend to like to reminisce about the past to one another. Talk about whose mother baked the best and what they baked during Christmas and other holidays, birthdays and special occasions. The reminiscing part is good for everyone's cognitive state, as well as following the recipe and knowing what they are using (ie: what is a spoon vs. a fork). It is also emotional for some residents. Some cry or are sad because they miss their mother or father. We all try to stay up beat and say< "well they'd be proud that we are still making their cookies/cake".
We schedule "Baking Bunch" once a month. We remind residents at resident council about it, so we get a good turnout. the usual residents show, and we always go around and ask others. The day before I make sure we have all the ingredients. If not, I go to the store and purchase them. The residents are reminded and/or escorted to the therapy kitchen a little before we get started. Everyone takes turns mixing, adding, tasting and baking. Once the item is in the oven we all get started on cleaning up, while someone gets the coffee going or lemonade made. the best part is when the cake or cookies are done and we all get to eat. It gets quiet and smiles grow. After they are done with their treat, residents are escorted to where ever they want to be.