When I hear so many wonderful stories which have arisen from the effect Happy Days social prompts and activities, it’s no wonder I continue writing, designing and developing well into the night. I feel honoured to have received so much positive feedback from a variety of clients, organisations and carers. Time to Chat conversation prompts, Themed Memory Boxes, Open Rummage Baskets and Memorabilia Wall Art are some of the products highly recommended/ [Maybe I should design an award for the most celebrated activity].
Happy Days Dementia story of the week … Based on Baking Day Memory Box ~ ‘The Rotary Whisk’ true story courtesy of Borough Care, Residential Elderly and Dementia Care, Stockport
When I presented Happy Days materials to a wonderful team of caring managers residing over eleven residential care homes in the North of England a few months ago, one of the managers showed some scepticism at a specific product: the Baking Day themed memory box activity. Always open to suggestions and happy to edit products at any stage, I welcomed comments from the manager. ‘How do we know that a rotary whisk can possibly help people with dementia? The fact is, we don’t know this for sure – each person’s age and dementia stage and symptoms can be different. Clearly, not everyone would respond to a rotary whisk. [Do you remember the type – a sturdy handle turns cogged wheels which in turn, drive the two whisks?] But what I do know is that when we prompt people with photographs, colours, music and tangible items, there is a chance that we might trigger a person’s long term memory ~ the stories may begin to unfold, providing an occasion to encourage further participation.
A few days after the meeting, the Happy Days order of themed memory boxes and conversation prompts was delivered and well-received but thoughts on Baking Day boxes continued to wash around in my mind as I interspersed one component with another and then reversed the thought. What could be changed? I knew there would be no immediate time available due to workshop training scripts and orders to oversee. Before I knew it, I was back at the care home head office, preparing for another meeting – with the managers.
The Baking Day memory box manager, Linda spoke first and here is my precis:
Linda admitted she had not really been impressed by the Baking Day memory box concept – until she tried it out with some of her residents. One particular resident, Mavis, who had withdrawn from social or physical interaction for almost two years, took an immediate liking to the rotary whisk, turning the handle at a relatively great speed – and wouldn’t return the whisk at the end of the social time. Linda, now smiling quite a lot, shared the experience with us all, that when she saw how delighted and entertained Mavis had been with the whisk, she laughed until she cried. [And now I understand, she is about to order another rotary whisk.]
But there is one more link to the story. When Mavis’s daughter visited, Linda retold the story – and was rewarded with the fact that Alice used to be … A BAKER !
Later, Mavis’s daughter wrote to Linda, expressing her gratitude but most of all – the feeling of knowing her mother could make some form of connection. So by now, everyone is crying and smiling simultaneously ~ and the Baking Day Memory Box needn’t change one bit, it’s noisy gadget for whisking eggs, batters, cakes mixtures and other imaginary delights remaining a key player in providing Happy Days for people with dementia, their carers, friends, visitors and families.
*Real names have been changed to respect privacy.
Next week – More About Bubbles
Happy Sunday everyone ~ and remember, when you go to visit, ask for activity boxes to share with your relatives and friends.
Enjoy Happy Days Youtube promo video ~ images, titles and relaxing music to browse products …