Kūpuna living with dementia often find cooking to be a familiar and engaging activity. Cooking offers many therapeutic benefits and can stimulate the senses, triggering happy memories. It is an activity caregivers should consider adding to their everyday caregiving toolkit.
Some of the benefits include:
• Engaging the senses: Feel the textures of ingredients, hear food bubbling, see colors, taste and smell the prepared food.
• Bringing people together: Everyone can remember coming together to eat a meal, and preparing it can offer a chance to reminisce while building new memories.
• Adding nutrition to the diet: Delicious smells can encourage appetite, and choosing healthy recipes can be a way to sneak more nutrients into the diet.
• Allowing for exercise: Both fine and gross motor skills come into play when chopping, scooping, mixing, lifting, and plating food.
• Pride and purpose: The beauty of cooking is that the result can be tasted and admired. Filling familiar roles reminds loved ones how they have provided for themselves and others.
For safety and success, tailor the steps to the individual, prep some ingredients in advance, and give instructions one step at a time.