A lot of our articles have focused on helping people living with dementia to feel better through activities such as art, music and gardening.
These are all fun activities, but as a carer, making this extra time in the day to set them up can feel overwhelming.
How about if you can entertain your loved ones while also getting on with a critical household task?
We all have to eat, so cooking is an ideal chore for your loved one to get involved with.
It may seem counterintuitive. After all, you don’t want to put them in the way of danger with knives, stoves and slippery surfaces. We’re not suggesting you don’t keep them safe, but that you adapt these everyday jobs to instil a sense of purpose and joy.
Here are a few ways to involve your loved ones in the kitchen routine.
Choose simple recipes to cook with your loved ones
Recipes that don’t involve complicated methods or lots of ingredients are perfect. Easy food preparation such as making a fruit salad, decorating pre-prepared cakes or putting the toppings on a pizza are all fun ways to interact with food.
Depending on their level of cognitive impairment, you can get them to wash vegetables, peel them or stir the food in the pan.
Think of other jobs that go with eating
Setting the table and clearing away the dishes are helpful jobs that are always appreciated. Letting your loved one help with these chores can give them a feeling of importance. It will also help them remain active and independent for longer.
Use the food as a reminiscence activity
Smell and taste evoke powerful memories. Talking about the food is a great way to connect and remind your loved one of the positive associations with food. Ask them questions about what they used to enjoy eating when they were younger so they can share their memories.
Why is cooking with dementia so important?
There are many benefits to this kind of activity. Here are just a few.
- It keeps their mind active for longer
- They can remember these essential skills for longer
- It’s a great stress-buster
- Gives a sense of dignity
- They feel important
- If they used to love cooking, it helps them feel more like their old selves
- It helps them reconnect with food if they’ve started to go off it.
We hope you found these suggestions helpful. If you want to know how we can assist in balancing your caring duties with other aspects of your life, please get in touch with Rosie and the team.