Baking with Dementia

Community Member

Baking with the assistance of my partner, Dementia, is a big challenge-one that I attempted in a big way last week. I rarely bake anymore...a box mix here and there...

The first bake sale of the year was coming up. I poured over the internet looking for good recipes and finally found four that I liked. After printing them out, I looked over each one carefully to make sure that ALL ingredients and steps were listed. (Never take for granted that they have been) I had chosen a chocolate cupcake recipe, a Hershey cake recipe, chocolate icing recipe, Royal icing recipe, and Bird's Nests no bake cookie recipe. I suppose that makes FIVE recipes, not four...more ambitious than I remembered! It took me a few trips to the grocery store (over a week's time) to finally get all the ingredients I had been lacking.

Why three trips? Didn't I have a list? Yes. Sometimes items can be overlooked on a list...

Having the recipes PRINTED from the computer was a big help. I found that crossing off each ingredient as I added it helped me to get everything in the bowl that was necessary. Then, as I completed each step in the directions, I checked it off. For once, I didn't get confused or lost...and each baked item came out perfectly done.

I learned a couple of other things while baking, too. First, when frosting cupcakes, DO NOT put on coconut before decorating the top! It was almost funny how the decorative flowers would not stick... I don't think I would have ever done that before my dementia. The second thing I learned was to take short breaks whenever it was opportune to do so. I was able to remain totally focused on my baking if I did it in smaller spurts of time. For instance, after taking the cupcakes from the oven, I would go outside, get on my golf cart, and ride around the neighborhood.

After assembling all the items for the cake, I sat on my back deck for a few minutes, soaking in the sunshine and breezes.

One final thing I learned from the whole experience: Even though it wore me out (after all, it took me two whole days to do this little amount of baking), I discovered that I AM able to do whatever I set my mind to-as long as I space it out with short breaks and am methodical in my approach! So, my ol' partner Dementia-you're still there, but you'll not get the best of me yet!!!