The first health promotion I chose to do with the clients at the Adult Day Care was to assist them in baking cookies. Majority of the clients we have at the day care all have a history of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. However, they are not all at the same stages, some are in the early stages, while others are in the middle to late stages. According to the Perry and Potter text, dementia is defined as “a generalized impairment of intellectual functioning that interferes with social and occupational functioning,” an important concept to think of when creating a health promotion for people with dementia/Alzheimer’s disease (Perry & Potter, p 256).
Common symptoms of the disorder involve difficulty handling complex tasks that require completion of a series of steps, loss of interest in usual activities, operating routine equipment (such as stove, and cooking utilities), and loss of initiative.
Other symptoms of dementia include changes in gross motor skills, fine motor skills, and dexterity. A study performed by the FGCU, Florida Gulf Coast University, showed that recreation such as games, music, art, and cooking provides beneficial factors to people with dementia. Not only does these activities exercise the person’s motor skills and dexterity, but also improved the quality of life of demented patients. Dr. Buettner, a researcher in the study, quotes, “Keeping the mind active is the key to preserving mental health…
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it enables a higher quality of life,” which is why I felt an activity like baking cookies would help to preserve the clients mental health and create higher quality of life to the clients by increasing their inner self-worth and self-accomplishment (Elliot, p 1).
After proposing this idea of baking cookies to the staff members and the clients, three people chose to participate in the activity. Margarita, Josie, and Art partook in our health promotion. The participant’s ages ranged from 74 to 85 years old.
The participant’s abilities varied. Margarita still has gross and fine motor skills, and dexterity intact, but she lacks socialization and interest in doing group activities. Josie has minimal gross and fine motor skills, and exhibits a strong desire to contribute in a group activity. Art has a reduced and limited ability in displaying gross and fine motor skill, and dexterity overall. All three participants are highly motivated and ready to take on the activity. However, Art requires more encouragement than the others in performing the task due to his limitations and abilities.
Once the participant’s abilities, motivation, and readiness were assessed I came up with a list of behavioral objectives for the activity. Behaviorally, what I hoped to accomplish through this activity was to promote socialization, group bonding, sense of accomplishment, creativity, and the idea of sparking interest in the group to reminisce about past memories dealing with food, home, and family through the process of cooking, the sense of smell to the cookies, and the sense of taste. In order to achieve these objectives, the appropriate content selected to carry out the task was a bag of sugar cookie mix, all-purpose flour, eggs, butter, a large mixing bowl, a rolling pin, two baking trays, various cookie cutters in different shapes and sizes, and frosting and sprinkles. The steps we used to baking the cookies, we got off from the back of the cookie mix. As we presented these materials to the participants, we enabled everyone to help out by taking turns in adding the ingredients, mixing the ingredients together, cutting the cookies, and placing them onto the cooking tray.
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Margarita started off the activity by measuring the amount of the cookie mix to place in the bowl, then she added it into the bowl. I assisted Art in measuring the all-purpose flour and handed him the measuring cup as he attempted to pour it into the mixing bowl. Art struggled a little with this task, but he refused to let me help. I was nervous that he wouldn’t be able to do it, and afraid he was going to get frustrated and not want to participate anymore. Art as I mentioned earlier, is very limited in his dexterity and fine motor skills. He’s able to grasp materials in his hand, but has trouble lifting his arm up.
For example when he eats he’s able to hold onto the spoon, but has the tendency to lean forward to bring the food into his mouth instead of raising his arm. After several attempts Art finally was able to pour the ingredients. We were all so proud of him. We made sure we encouraged and supported him all the way through the task. Josie then added the butter and two egg into the bowl. She was the first to stir the ingredients together, and then Margarita took her turn in mixing the batter.
After the ingredients were well mixed, we dumped the dough onto a large cookie sheet in order to cut the dough into different shapes and sizes. We didn’t have wax paper, so we took foil and covered half of the table with it. Margarita, Josie, and Art added flour onto the foil before we dumped the dough onto it. Then both Margarita, and Josie took turn rolling the dough with the rolling pin. This action was good for both because it exercised their fine motor skill in flattening the dough. They also used their hand and eye coordination while performing the task.
Once the dough was flat, they all began cutting out the shapes of the cookies. This is where their creative side came into the picture. They also got to exercise their dexterity by grasping and holding onto the cookie cutters while imprinting them onto the dough. I assisted Art in cutting a portion of the dough. I got his hand oriented to holding the cutter and guided his hand in pushing it onto the dough. After we filled the cooking tray with cookies, we placed the tray into the stove and allowed it to cook.
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After the group finished their lunch, they got to eat the cookies for their dessert. We spread the frosting onto the cookies, and allowed the clients to sprinkle their own cookies. After observing everyone enjoying his or her cookies, we knew our objective was met. Everyone who participated express his or her feeling of accomplishment and joy of making the cookies. Josie stated that it reminded her of when she helped her mother bake when she was little. She said every Sunday afternoon her and her mother would get together and bake the evening’s desert for dinner.
She looked like she really missed those days. She said that she hasn’t thought about her mother in a long time and it was nice to revisit those memories. The other clients, who didn’t partake in the activity, expressed their thoughts on the taste of the cookies. This help to spark conversations between the clients who made the cookies and the clients who didn’t. Today’s lunch hour was very different from all the other days because everyone was actually talking to one another, thus the idea of socialization was met. The only thing that I would do differently is that I wish we had more time, because of the time constraint Allison and I had to spread the frostings for the clients, instead of having them do it for themselves but other than that everything else ended up working out.
We made enough cookies for everyone. For those who couldn’t eat the sugar cookies, Allison and I had bought sugar-free Snack Well cookies. I thought that this was a worthwhile activity to do with the clients. I had a lot of fun assisting the clients with baking. I would do it all again, if I had the chance.