Many people with dementia enjoy cooking and baking, but there are other benefits to cooking and baking as well, both for caretakers and the person living with dementia.
Cooking is a fun activity that can be enjoyed by the whole family.
Caretakers may also find it comforting to share in this activity as they work alongside their loved ones.
Creating a recipe together can be an opportunity to reminisce together about old memories of dining at favorite restaurants or making treats in their own kitchen.
Health Benefits of Cooking and Baking for People with Dementia
Cooking and baking for people with dementia can be an enjoyable and stress-free experience that results in healthier eating habits.
Staff at signature care homes also report that communal eating will also help to reduce feelings of loneliness, cause less stress, and improve social interaction.
Cooking and baking recipes are a great way to teach the person with dementia how to prepare foods safely, which can in turn decrease the risk of them choking on food, or falling while trying to reach a high shelf.
Many recipes contain many nutrients that are beneficial for brain function.
Just adding some oil to your meals will provide you with some essential fatty acids, vitamins B6, B12 & folic acid, protein, iron, and calcium.
Cooking & Baking as a Health Practice that Promotes Cognitive Function
Although it may not be the most convenient way to get these nutrients, some people will choose to cook their own meals instead of going out to eat.
Many places that offer care for people with dementia include “meals on wheels” as part of their service.
Recipes do not have to be complicated, and they don’t have to contain many ingredients.
Even simple recipes can have a significant effect on both the person’s body and brain function.
In addition to being a healthy pastime, cooking and baking can also promote brain function and increase memory ability.
How Can I Make Baking & Cooking Easier for People with Dementia?
People with dementia may experience changes in their vision, hearing, and motor skills as a result of the disease.
To make cooking easier for them, you’ll want to start by making sure they’re safe.
This includes replacing potentially dangerous tools like knives or other utensils with simpler tools that are easier to hold, like wooden spoons.
For baking, you’ll want to use simple ingredients and focus on recipes that do not require a lot of complicated steps.
However, people with dementia may still enjoy the social experience that comes with cooking, so you may want to invite some friends over for dinner.
If you’re planning on inviting friends and family members over for a meal, it’s a good idea to have someone help you who lives outside of the facility.
Inviting friends and family members from outside of the facility can help to keep their spirits up in addition to their health and wellbeing. They will feel more connected to your resident even if they do not live in your home.