Mar 16, 2015 - 07:42 AM
I'm shooting in the dark on an answer here, but I'll try to explain a few principles that may give you an idea why cooking activity is important in memory care. Before going into that, though, you may want to ask the specific community you are talking about why they choose baking bread as an activity.
When considering activity within a memory care community, we have to be very aware of catering to the current ability of residents while also maintaining their dignity. A good example of this is in something like painting. While we are more likely to have a finger-painting type of activity because residents may be unable to wield a paint brush, we try to paint in a way that is still artful and dignified.
When it comes to baking or cooking activities, there are several aspects that are helpful to look at. First, cooking is an activity that is taught to us at an early age and is something that most individuals have been involved with most of their lives, even from childhood. As such, performing tasks like mixing and kneading are less taxing. Second, making something from scratch respects the individual dignity of residents. There is a sense of achievement when accomplishing a task like baking bread.
Third, and very very importantly, bread is one of the greatest olfactory items to cook in memory care. Many residents with Alzheimer's or other dementia have a very difficult time eating, especially near the later stages of the diseases. In order to stimulate the appetite, it is a common practice for the communities to regularly "flood" the living spaces with enticing aromas. Few aromas are as effective as baked bread. At The Fremont, we cook at the kitchen in memory care for just this reason and another effective aroma we use is the smell of bacon in the morning.