Try These Food-Related Dementia Activities to Spark Memories
If there’s one thing that connects all of us, it is food! Think about how many cherished memories have been made over the years that included 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 of buttery popcorn with family while watching a movie. You can even incorporate food into dementia activities to spark memories, engage the senses, and better connect with someone you love.
It is not surprising that food is not just a necessity for our physical health, but often a powerful way to engage a senior loved one with dementia. Here are several activities you can try to help spark memories while empowering the person to utilize all of the senses through food.
Storytelling. Pull out a vintage cookbook and look through the recipes together to see if any spark memories. The senior loved one may recall food rationing during wartime, or the time they tried a new recipe early in their marriage that was a total disaster. If a specific 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 as you discuss holidays past.
Preparing. Decide on a simple recipe to prepare, such as sandwiches or fruit salad. Assemble the ingredients and incorporate them into your conversation. While washing and cutting up fruit, for instance, ask the senior what kinds of fruits they enjoyed as a young child.
Think about how to engage each one of the senses during mealtimes. There is much more to food than taste! Point out the delicious scent of the chicken you are roasting for dinner, the sizzling sound of bacon frying, the cool smoothness of bread dough being kneaded. Attempt to make each plate served appetizing to the eyes as well as the palate. And as much as possible, cultivate conversations that link the senior to past memories.
Quite often, a person with Alzheimer's will experience a diminished appetite and lose interest in food. Activities such as these can be a terrific way to revive the joy we experience together through shared meals and treats.
Our dementia care experts have more tips to make life the best it can be for someone with dementia. Get in contact with The Care Company, the leading provider of dementia home care in Toronto and the surrounding areas, at 416-422-2273 to request Alzheimer's care resources and to get additional information on our personalized in-home care services.