Sensory activities: Baking in dementia care
It can be difficult to find activities that you and your loved one in dementia care can get involved with. They may be unable to participate in their favourite hobbies and it becomes tricky to include them in large gatherings, especially, as dementia progresses. One of the options you could try is baking and here is why.
How baking with dementia patients impacts their wellbeing?
Baking encompasses both clear rules and guidelines, as well as unlimited creativity, making it the perfect activity to indulge in when looking after your loved ones. Sifting, kneading and whisking are fantastic, tactile movements that will stimulate the dementia patient’s cognitive function. Baking with dementia patients is a great way to reconnect over old memories, smells and flavours that they used to love and can enjoy once again. As you’re whipping up your creations with the dementia patient, ask them about their favourite cake or dessert, or what recipes they used to make. Depending on how comfortable they feel within a larger group, you can get the whole family involved with baking or share the activity between the two of you. Baking, and cooking in general, will help give your loved one a sense of purpose that they are still able to contribute in a meaningful way. Making and preparing food is a relaxing activity for many and it’s likely that the person in dementia care will also find it soothing and calming.
Ideas for dementia baking activities
You can get your loved one involved with every stage of the process. Start by choosing a colourful cookbook to get some recipe ideas and inspiration. Choosing your next creation together might help bring back some memories of their favourite sweets and savoury snacks. Next, make sure your loved one feels safe and confident during the process. Measuring and separating the ingredients into labelled containers might make them feel more confident to take the next steps themselves and identify the substances. Allow them to feel as independent and creative as possible, while still making sure they have the assistance if needed. Be mindful of any underlying health conditions your loved one may have. Individuals with heart problems or diabetes might need to make certain adjustments to the recipes and great alternatives can also be found online. Some people in dementia care feel more benefit from the decoration process than the baking itself, so, if this is the case, you can buy premade cookies and cupcakes and get creative with the final stage of the process. To bring family and friends together, you can organise a friendly competition where the best decorated cake wins a special prize! Keep in mind that baking with dementia patients is less about creating the perfect pastry and more about spending time together, making them feel included and allowing them to enjoy a tactile, stimulating yet calming activity within a comfortable, familiar environment. It’s about the memories you create through the delicious treats that will help invite a meaningful and positive change into both of your lives.