Posts Tagged activities for reminiscing

Keepsake Cookbook

Do you and your loved one love cooking? Maybe baking is what makes you feel at home. In either case, there is something to be said about the feeling you get when taking your first bite of a home cooked/baked treat.

Keepsake Cookbook_2.jpg

 

Creating a cookbook with your care partner can be a fun way to reminisce and leave a legacy for generations to come. It can be as simple as compiling old recipe cards or as intricate as creating a recipe book online complete with pictures. Keep in mind that this project doesn’t have to be finished overnight. It can simmer for days, weeks, or months to come!

Step 1: Choose your recipes

What are your family’s trademark recipes? Is there anything that has become a traditional birthday dinner, holiday dish, or rainy day snack?

Step 2: Choose your Methods

You might want to talk with your loved one and decide on a type of cookbook that will best combine your creative style with your skill set. You could write out individual recipes on index cards to insert in a scrapbook, create a larger more intricate scrapbook, or use online websites (e.g. Shurtterfly.com) to make one digitally. Feel free to exercise creative freedom, engage others in the process, and make changes based on skills and abilities.

Step 3: Write your book

Try making the dishes as you go! Talk about the smells, colors, and textures of different foods. Use this time to reminisce and identify fun memories associated with your recipes. Feel free to include these stories in your book! Additionally, if your loved one needs more assistance in the kitchen, be sure to break down each task into clear simple steps.

Step 4: Share your book with others

A cookbook made with you and your loved one is a beautiful representation of your family’s traditions, history, and relationships. You can use this book and its recipes to share your story with other family members and friends.

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Please join us for our Spring Conference in Troy!

5th annual Spring Conference

Please join us for our 5th Annual Spring Conference “Safe and Secure: Approaching Safety in Dementia Care” in collaboration with the Michigan Alzheimer’s Disease Center. We invite healthcare professionals, caregivers, family members, and individuals living in the early stages of memory loss to be our guests at this educational conference taking place on Tuesday, March 29th from 8:00am-3:45pm at the Somerset Inn in Troy. Breakfast and lunch will be provided. Five Continuing Education Credits will be awarded to professionals.

As Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia progress, one’s ability to make good decisions, exercise appropriate judgement, and maintain safety become impaired. Eventually, family and professional caregivers will assume responsibility for ensuring safety and promoting well-being. This conference will discuss various safety-related topics, such as managing medications, financial exploitation, and knowing when it is no longer safe to drive.

To learn more and to register, please visit http://www.alz.org/gmc. We hope to see you on March 29th! 🙂

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Enjoy A Cool Glass of Delicious Lemonade or Iced Tea

lemonade

It’s July. For most of us, this time of year is filled with sunshine, beaches, barbecues, and the like. In fact, what would summer be if it lacked the many traditions that have become so ingrained in our culture? However, many individuals with Alzheimer’s disease might be excluded from such activities. If it has become difficult to go on outings, for instance, or to leave the home for extended periods of time, our traditional ideas of ‘summer fun’ may be out of the question for our family member with dementia.

iced tea

Bring summer indoors by enjoying a cool, crisp, delicious glass of ice-cold lemonade or freshly brewed iced tea. These summer staples are not only refreshing and oh-so-good, but they may bring back memories and feelings from summers long ago. Sip on these cool beverages with your loved one while encouraging them to reminisce about the past. Or just chit-chat while you sit in your most comfortable chairs. Even individuals that are no longer verbal will likely enjoy this special treat and companionship. Another bonus: fluids are extremely important to physical health and cognitive function, and yet many elders do not get enough. Use this activity to encourage your loved one to stay hydrated through the hot summer months.

strawberry lemonade

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Below is a recipe taken from foodnetwork.com, which boasts the Perfect Homemade Lemonade. Try this or another recipe for you and your loved one to enjoy. If your person is able, they might like to help you by juicing the lemons. If sugar is a concern, consider using a sugar alternative or swap the lemonade for ice water with a wedge of lemon. Have fun, and stay cool! 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups sugar
  • 4 cups fresh lemon juice
  • 2 lemons, sliced
  • Ice for serving

Directions:

In a large saucepan, heat the sugar and 4 cups water until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is hot. Allow to cool, and then place into a large drink dispenser or jug. Add 2 gallons cold water, the lemon juice and lemon slices and stir to combine. Refrigerate and allow to chill completely.

 

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Alzheimer’s Chicken

Measure of the Heart

This activity idea comes from Measure of the Heart, a novel by Mary Ellen Geist, recounting her personal experience of returning home to Michigan to help care for her father who is diagnosed with dementia. Her father, Woody Geist, also appears in the HBO documentary “The Alzheimer’s Project”. The Geist’s resilience and candor in the face of this devastating disease is truly inspirational.

The following excerpt is taken directly from the book:

Alzheimer’s Chicken

  • whole chicken, about 4 pounds
  • 1 green apple, washed and cored
  • 3 stalks of celery, rinsed
  • 1 yellow or white onion, skin removed
  • several sprigs of fresh rosemary, sage, and thyme, rinsed
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 3 tbs olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Rinse a 4-pound roasting chicken, removing and discarding the giblets from the cavity.

Place the green apple, celery, onion, and herbs on a large chopping board. Hand a not-so-sharp knife to the Alzheimer’s patient, depending of course on how far the disease has progressed. It may not be wise to do this for Alzheimer’s patients who’ve been living with the disease for more than ten years, but my father can still safely use a knife if I stand next to him and make sure he isn’t holding it upside down.

Let the patient chop up the fruit, vegetables, and herbs however the hell he or she wants to, without hovering and explaining how to do it! Don’t say: “No! Do it like this!” Remember: It doesn’t matter what the chunks look like or how big or small they are. The process can be liberating not only for the patient but also for you.

Open the cavity of the chicken and have the Alzheimer’s patient help you stuff the bird with a big wooden spoon. Put the chicken in a 9×13 inch baking dish or pan. Pour the red wine, olive oil, and a little water over the stuffed bird. Cook it in the oven at 350 degrees F for at least two hours, until the temperature of the thigh reaches 180 degrees F. Have the Alzheimer’s patient help you baste the bird often. Let it sit a bit after you’ve taken it out of the oven; then slice and serve.

 

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Make No-Bake Cookies

CL9455_no-bake-cookies_s4x3.jpg.rend.sni12col.landscape

No-bakes can be whipped up in less time and with fewer ingredients than most traditional cookies. In fact, you probably have everything you need right in your pantry. Low maintenance recipes (like this one) are ideal, as this may prevent confusion and frustration from occurring. Simple AND scrumptious? How deliciously perfect! 🙂

As the person’s dementia progresses, certain abilities will fade. Therefore, it is important to provide the right amount of supervision and hands on assistance in order for the person to be successful. For instance, someone who is in the early stages of dementia may be able to manage several steps of the recipe without a lot of help. However, someone else that has progressed to the middle stages of the disease, may do better with a 1-2 or single step task, such as dropping spoonfuls of the cookie mixture onto a prepared baking sheet.

Each person is different. Be observant to how YOUR person is reacting to what he/she is bring asked to do. If we notice confusion or anxiety, that may be our cue to simplify instructions and/or slow down the pace of the activity.

The recipe below was taken from a foodnetwork.com entry. I’ve seen other recipes that include shredded coconut, candy pieces, or other little surprises mixed in. You could also try ‘lightening up’ the recipe will fat free peanut butter or sugar alternatives. Hope you enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 stick (8 tbs) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 1 tbs pure vanilla extract
  • Large pinch of kosher salt

Directions

Line a baking sheet with wax paper or parchment.

Bring the sugar, milk, butter and cocoa to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, then let boil for 1 minute. Remove from the heat. Add the oats, peanut butter, vanilla, and salt, and stir to combine.

Drop teaspoonfuls of the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet, and let sit at room temperature until cooled and hardened, about 30 minutes. Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchens/peanut-butter-chocolate-no-bake-cookies-recipe.html?vty=recipes/chocolate-peanut-butter-no-bake-cookies-recipe.html&oc=linkback

 

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Make Homemade Pesto

BasilPesto

“BasilPesto” by Ɱ – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:BasilPesto.JPG#/media/File:BasilPesto.JPG

Pesto is an easy and delicious sauce featured in many flavorful dishes. Traditionally, pesto consists of basil (lots of it) olive oil, Parmesan cheese, garlic, and pine nuts. However, many variations exist. Pesto originates from Northern Italy, but other cultures and styles of cuisine have taken their own spin on it. For instance, rather than basil, you might consider using another herb, such as cilantro, for a Mexican flair. Add seeded and finely chopped jalapenos for a spicy kick. Substitute almonds or walnuts for pine nuts. Get creative!

Already thinking about chowing down? Pesto is frequently used as a pasta sauce, but it can also be added to minestrone or mashed potatoes, drizzled on grilled chicken or steak, or used as a pizza sauce or sandwich condiment  — the options are only limited by your imagination!

Perhaps the best part? Pesto is so easy to make! Follow the traditional recipe below (adapted from simplyrecipes.com) or mastermind your own riff on a classic. If you do not own a food processor, the recipe can also be made in a blender.

  • 2 Cups Fresh Basil Leaves, Packed
  • 1/2 Cup Freshly Grated Romano or Parmesan-Reggiano Cheese (about 2 oz)
  • 1/2 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/3 Cup Pine Nuts
  • 3 Garlic Cloves, Minced
  • Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper To Taste
  • Place washed and dried basil leaves, then all other ingredients (except for oil), in food processor or blender.
  • Pulse several times until well combined. Use a rubber spatula to scrape sides.
  • Add a steady stream of oil to mixture and continue blending. Continue until all ingredients are well combined into a homogeneous mixture.

Your person may enjoy smelling the aromatic ingredients (e.g. herbs, garlic) and will love eating the finished product with you. Ask your person to wash and pat dry the herbs, grate the cheese, or encourage him/her to sit nearby and watch as you go through the preparations. Be alert to the possibility of frustration or boredom. Be prepared to modify or end the activity, if your person is becoming too agitated or overwhelmed.

Mangia! Mangia! 🙂

 

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Paint Rocks

lady bug rocks

 

Painting can be a relaxing activity that captures your person’s attention and keeps them focused. By keeping your person with dementia zeroed in on an activity, he/she is more likely to feel content, and behavioral concerns are less likely to appear. Recent research suggests that artistic activities may help individuals with dementia to express complex emotions, particularly when language ability fades. Art also provides intellectual stimulation for the person, which may help to keep cognitive powers sharp (although nothing can prevent dementia from progressing).

Furthermore, painting or (in this case) painting rocks is an activity that can be easily adjusted depending on the person’s remaining strengths and abilities. For instance, someone in the early stages of the disease may be able to execute a multi-step project over the course of a couple of sessions. The first session could consist of cleaning and sanding stones. The next session may involve painting a base color on a couple of rocks. The last session may include finer details (such as those seen in the ladybug picture).

Someone who is further progressed may do better with a shorter-term project with fewer steps, such as only painting rocks in solid colors or arranging (already painted) rocks in a decorative way. Even watching you paint or admiring your finished handiwork, might be pleasurable activities for someone in the later stages of the disease.

garden markers 2 garden markers

Materials you will need:

  • Smooth rocks (either found outdoors or purchased from a craft store)
  • Assorted acrylic paints
  • Paint brushes (various types)
  • Palette or mixing tray (e.g. paper plate, tin foil, styrofoam cup)

Helpful Hints:

  • As dementia progresses, the individual will need more supervision and guidance.
  • Consider using simple patterns for your design. Or you could add in more intricate details yourself, if desired.
  • Wear a painting smock or old set of clothing that is ok to get dirty.
  • Check out library books (such as those by Lin Wellford) for inspiration and step-by-step instruction.
  • Be alert to signs of frustration or boredom. Adjust the activity, so that it is a good match for the person based on their remaining strengths.
  • If the activity goes awry or causes the person to become agitated, be prepared to stop.
  • Your finished rocks can be used as decoration, such as on a countertop or in a garden. A functional use for painted rocks is to use them as garden markers for various plants/herbs (pictured above).

 

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