Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Practical Life with the Elderly - Coffee Work (Updated)

Coffee grinding is now available at the Bridge. When I put the tray together, I paid particular attention that each of the pieces on the tray where familiar items to coffee making. The 1950's sugar and creamer set were a 50 cent find at the local thrift. The creamer was still going to be used for pouring and the sugar bowl was going to be used for holding the coffee beans. A metal, measuring cup was also placed on the tray, as well as a small pair of tongs. The tongs are to be used for picking up split coffee beans one at a time - a point of interest component of the work, as well as for strengthening the prehensile grip.

The first senior to use the work completed an entire Montessori work cycle: removed the work from the shelf, did the work, returned the work to the shelf. This is the first time this particular senior engaged any material for such a long period of time and put the work away without assistance.

In the photo below, the senior has taken the coffee grinding tray from the shelf and brought it to the table. He then removed each object from the tray, one at a time. As noted in a prior post, the red, paper place mat is used like an underlay. It designates a work space.

He then returned the empty tray to the shelf.

Coffee beans were poured into the small bowl from the glass container that holds them. He used the metal measuring cup to scoop up some of the beans.

 He poured the whole beans into the grinder.

Before he started to grind the coffee beans, he used the small tongs to pick up individual beans that had been split onto the table and returned them to the bowl.

He had difficulty turning the handle of the grinder while he was seated, so he stood up.

After working for several minutes, he sat back down and then opened the grinder to view the ground beans.

He poured the ground beans into the pitcher/creamer.

Next he poured the beans he ground into the can that holds the coffee used to make coffee for all of the clients at the Bridge. 

When he was finished with his work, he went and retrieved the empty tray from the shelf. He then returned all of the items to the tray. 

He returned the full tray to its designated place on the shelf.

There were some split grounds on the place mat. He asked me how he was going to clean those up. I then guided him through the steps for folding the paper place mat. I told him to carefully fold the paper in half. I asked him to note how the grounds moved toward the center crease when he made that first fold. 

After it was folded in half once, I asked him to fold it a second time. 

 "Corner to corner," I said and he did.

Then he rub the side of his hand down the paper to flatten it slightly.

He then carried the folded paper with its contents to the garbage.

He looked at me afterwards and said with a big smile, "People are going to be drinking coffee made from the beans I ground today! I think it will taste good!" I had a cup and it was excellent.


A few days later, a second senior engaged the material. After attempting to turn the handle of the grinder sitting down, she made an adjustment. She lifted the grinder and placed it down between her thighs. She did a wonderful job grinding the beans. She spoke to me while she worked. She said the following: "I just love the way fresh ground coffee beans smell. I just wish coffee tasted the way it smells, but it doesn't and that's why I am a tea drinker." Here are a few pictures of her working with the coffee grinding materials and a short video of her also do just that.

Let me point out first though, that she likes to do things her way, which is totally fine, so she "skips" a lot of the steps noted in the work by the first senior. She has explained her "skipping" of steps to me by stating the following, "I just don't have time for all that, dear. I have much to do and not much time to do it in." 

She started grinding away.

She checked to see if the grinding was working. She didn't think it felt right when she turned its handle.

Next she felt the coffee with her fingers and thought that it wasn't fine enough.

She then repositioned the grinder between her thighs. She felt this position was much more suitable.

She was quite pleased with the coffee that she had ground. She added it to the canister of decaf. coffee used to make coffee for all the seniors attending the Bridge. Do you think she looks like she enjoyed doing the work? I do!


Cynthia Dyer said...

Susan, this is absolutely brilliant! My 84 year old Father-in-law is battling Parkinson's and, after a tour of our school, thought Montessori would be 'just the thing' for his Parkies group. I am sending him a link to your blog right after this.
Keep up the GREAT work.

Susan Y. Dyer said...

Thanks Cynthia. If I wasn't so utterly exhausted at the end of the day I would have finished writing that post on coffee grinding. It was wonderful to witness two of the seniors fully engaged in the work. Thanks for the support and for passing my blog on. And, of course, great last name : )

Susan Dyer
The Moveable Alphabet