It is interesting to note that, while cognition is impaired with Alzheimer’s disease, some memories and abilities can and do remain. Remembering the words to a favorite song or recognizing an old photograph are a few of them. Skills acquired in youth, like playing the piano, knitting, or gardening can also remain intact.
One of the skills that all of us at Anthem Memory communities enjoy unlocking are those of our resident family bakers and chefs. Old recipes are often brought into our communities by family members who encourage their mom (or dad!) to throw on an apron, roll up their sleeves and start mixing and baking a family favorite that once brought so much joy to their families.
Numerous studies have shown that engaging in activities such as baking has many potential benefits including healthy sensory stimulation as well as reduced stress and agitation levels for those living with dementia.
We agree. In addition to the purposeful nature of baking and cooking, re-connecting our residents to these past pleasures has proven to have a wonderful ripple effect, igniting treasured memories and forging new connections with those around them.
Here are a few wonderful moments of baking pride and joy captured by our communities…
wonderful moments of baking pride and joy captured by our communities…
These residents of Cascade Creek Memory Care in Rochester, Minnesota pose with a tray of their delicious banana cream parfaits. A few minutes after this picture was taken, they were all gone!
This Porter Place Memory Care (in Tinley Park, Illinois) resident chops carrots, just one of the savory ingredients in her fresh, made-from-scratch vegetable soup.
…and here’s the soup!
When the resident cooks of Emerald Place Memory Care in Glenview, Illinois take over the kitchen delicious things happen.
For these residents of Highline Place Memory Care in Littleton, Colorado, half the fun is sharing recipes with local girl scouts eager to start baking.
Then there are the competitive residents of Willowbrook Place Memory Care, also in Littleton, Colorado, who hosted a recent cookie contest, an event that attracted the greater community and was covered by local media. We still don’t know who won. But we’re told all the entries were “delicious”.
Do you have a loved one with dementia who used to enjoy baking or cooking? Find a simple recipe, put the ingredients out on your tabletop and make something delicious together. Of course, it’s important to be mindful of his or her abilities and make sure your environment is safe and easy to navigate. But carving out some time to stir, mix, bake and cook together is time well spent. Relax, take your time and it may become a new pastime you can both enjoy and look forward to.
(Our header image shows residents of Chelsea Place Memory Care in Aurora, Colorado in the process of making their famous chocolate chip cupcakes.)