Written by Active Minds on Friday the 18th of October 2019.
Baking is a great activity which you can enjoy with your loved one, and can be adapted to suit their ability level. Some people living with dementia may be able to follow a recipe entirely and bake a cake, whereas others may only be able to get involved with certain steps, but its important to remember that it is not about the finished product but rather about the process.
An enjoyable hobby for many, baking has many benefits for those living with dementia, including helping to provide a feeling of accomplishment, and explore the senses. Here we will cover five baking activities which are suitable for those living with dementia.
Who doesn’t love a slice of fresh bread? Not only is fresh bread delicious, but the process of making it can actually be very therapeutic and stress reducing. The repetitive action of kneading dough can help to reduce anxiety, whilst the sensory benefits also help to reduce stress and boost mood.
Decorate Cookies or Cakes with Icing
Another baking activity which can be great for those living with dementia is decorating cakes and cookies with icing. Similar to partaking in arts and crafts activities, it can help to stimulate the brain and is a great way to encourage creativity; providing your loved one with a sense of accomplishment at their creation.
Baking Something Familiar
Although your loved one may not be a keen baker anymore, baking something familiar can help to spark feelings of reminiscence. Keep the recipe simple, but going through the same motions and the entire sensory experience of baking something familiar can help to bring back memories; be sure to carry on the conversation if they are willing, by asking gentle questions.
Making meringues is another relatively simple baking activity which can be beneficial to those with dementia. As with kneading dough, the repetitive nature of whisking egg whites can be really therapeutic and stress reducing. Or the slow motions of gently folding in the sugar after the eggs are whipped. The good thing about meringues is they are relatively easy to eat as well so can be appreciated and enjoyed by all.
Mixing Cake Batter
Making a simple sponge cake is a great baking activity for all, there are various stages to it where everyone can get involved and then to make it even better the cake will be soft enough to be enjoyed by everyone. The mixing of the ingredients and watching the cake rise in the oven can help to reduce stress and give those involved a feeling of accomplishment when they enjoy their finished creation.
For those living with dementia, it is common to stop participating in activities they once enjoyed, however this doesn’t have to be the case. There are plenty of ways to incorporate these activities into their life, with some adjustments they can enjoy the same things they always have.