If there’s one thing that connects us all, it is food! Think about how many precious memories have been made over the years that incorporated food at the center of them all: wedding celebrations, holiday meals, birthday parties. Even average 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. The power of the senses can be used in food-based activities for people with dementia to help awaken memories of moments like these.
It’s no surprise that food is not just a necessity for our physical health, but often a highly effective way to connect with a senior with dementia. Golden Harmony, provider of home care assistance in Raleigh and the nearby communities, shares several activities you can try to help spark memories while appealing to all of the senses through food.
- Storytelling. Take out a vintage cookbook and look through the recipes together to determine if any spark memories. The senior loved one may recall food rationing during wartime, or perhaps the time they tried a new recipe at the beginning of their marriage which was a total disaster. If a particular recipe is of interest, make it together!
- Decorating. Frost cupcakes while reminiscing about the goodies 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 while you discuss holidays past.
- Preparing. Choose an easy recipe to prepare, like sandwiches or fruit salad. Gather together the ingredients and incorporate them into your conversation. While washing and cutting up fruit, for example, ask the older adult what kinds of fruits they enjoyed as a child.
Think about how to incorporate each one of the senses into mealtimes when planning food-based activities for people with dementia. There’s much more to food than taste! Point out the delightful scent associated with meat you are roasting for dinner, the sizzling sound of eggs frying, or the cool smoothness of bread dough being kneaded. Try to make each plate served appetizing to the eyes as well as the palate. And as much as possible, foster discussions that link the person to past memories.
Quite often, someone with dementia will experience a diminished appetite and lose interest in food. Activities such as these can be a great way to revive the joy we experience together through shared meals and treats.
Our dementia care experts have many more tips to make life the best it can be for someone with Alzheimer’s disease. Get in contact with Golden Harmony any time at 919-426-7522 to request Alzheimer’s care resources and to learn more about our personalized home care assistance in Raleigh and the surrounding area.