Baking is an activity we often undertake with our residents here at Fairways, and It’s not just fun; there is growing support to suggest that baking has other benefits for mental health, such as alleviating stress, anxiety and depression, making it the perfect activity for those with dementia and other care residents.
Preserves feeling of independence
Many elderly people suffer with feelings of inadequacy and lack of independence because they feel that they can no longer do everything that they used to. Baking is an excellent way of giving care residents their independence back, allowing them to create something for themselves and bringing joy to others with the results. This improves self-confidence and gives care residents a sense of purpose.
Baking is stimulating
Baking is an experience which stimulates all the senses and can inspire the recollection of fond memories for elderly care residents. Perhaps they remember baking with their own children or parents and these memories can be a relief from a sometimes-confusing present for those with dementia. Baking can also encourage those who have lost their appetite to reclaim their interest in food and eating.
Repetitive actions are an excellent way of keeping stress and anxiety levels down and baking is no exception, as it is full of repetitive actions such as weighing ingredients, sifting flour, kneading and whisking. Repetitive tasks give people a greater sense of control over things they consider unpredictable. This makes baking a wonderful way of giving care residents the feeling of control back into their lives.
Good for the mind
Research has shown that cognitive stimulation is a viable way of treating those with dementia and it is recommended by a number of NHS trusts. Cognitive therapy involves undertaking certain activities that stimulate the parts of the brain used for memory, thinking, problem solving and communication. Baking is one such activity that stimulates these cognitive parts of the brain and improves memory and thinking skills in those with dementia, helping them cope with symptoms such as memory loss.