Make a Gingerbread House

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Gingerbread houses are a super fun way to celebrate the season, and their emphasis on creativity and fun, rather than perfect results, makes their construction a great activity for those with memory loss.  Even better, if you do make something you just can’t stand to look at, you get to eat it!  You can make the sides of the  gingerbread house yourself or do what I do and start with a kit.  That way, you can get right to the fun part-decorating! (you can always add extra candy or frosting colors to what’s provided).

Depending on the person’s skill level, they may or may not need help assembling the house itself, then be able to decorate it once it’s together.  For those with shakey hands or an extra-firm candy-placement style, you can always decorate the sides first and assemble the house at the end.  For those in the more moderate stages of the disease, too many choices can be overwhelming, so you may want to limit the number of candy to make things easier.  You may find that it’s best to work as a pair, with either the person with memory loss pointing where they want things to go, then you laying down the frosting “glue” for them.  Or, conversely, it might be easier if you put the frosting down first then have them add the decoration on top. 

Of course, those in the early stages of the disease should be able to decorate a house fairly independently, so get a big group together and make a gingerbread village!   Those in the severe stages of the disease may not be able to decorate much, but can certainly enjoy smelling the gingerbread, feeling the texture (and taste!) of the candies, and watching the process of assembly.

Of course, no matter what the person’s cognitive level, be sure to reminisce about Christmases past.  Maybe place some holiday music (if it’s not too distracting) and pour yourself a mug of hot cocoa. It doesn’t get much more Christmas-y than that!





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