If there is one thing that connects us all, it’s food! Think about how many precious memories have been made through the years that incorporated food at the center of them all: holiday meals, birthday parties, wedding celebrations. Even ordinary days include routines that become ingrained in us around food, from that first aromatic cup of coffee in the morning to a shared bowl full of buttery popcorn with family while watching a movie. And, there are even enriching Alzheimer’s activities we can incorporate as an effective way to connect through food.
Food can be a highly effective way to connect with someone with dementia. Here are a few activities you can try to help spark memories while appealing to all of the senses through food.
- Take out an old cookbook and look through the recipes together to see if any spark memories. The senior loved one may recall food rationing during wartime, or perhaps the time they tried a brand new recipe at the beginning of their marriage that was a total disaster. If a specific recipe is of interest, make it together!
- Frost cupcakes while reminiscing about the treats Mom would prepare for school birthday parties. Roll out cookie dough and use cookie cutters and sprinkles to make them specific to an upcoming holiday as you discuss holidays past.
- Choose a simple recipe to prepare, such as sandwiches or fruit salad. Gather together the ingredients and incorporate them into your conversation. While washing and cutting up fruit, for instance, ask the older adult what kinds of fruits they enjoyed as a young child.
Think about how to incorporate each of the senses into mealtimes. There’s so much more to food than taste! Point out the delectable scent of the chicken you’re roasting for dinner, the sizzling sound of sausage frying, the cool smoothness of bread dough being kneaded. Try to make each plate served appetizing to the eyes as well as the palate. And whenever possible, foster conversations that link the senior to past memories.
In many cases, someone with Alzheimer’s will encounter a diminished appetite and lose interest in food. Enriching Alzheimer’s activities such as these can be a terrific way to revive the joy we experience together through shared meals and treats.
Our Alzheimer’s care experts have lots more ideas to make life the very best it can be for someone with Alzheimer’s disease. Get in touch with Serenity Home Care, the experts in respite care in Victoria, BC and nearby areas, at 250.590.8098 to request dementia care resources or to find out more about our personalized home care services.