Whether it’s a holiday meal that you had a hand in making or being in the kitchen with your grandmother, it’s a common belief that food brings people together in a way that nothing else can. For scores of seniors, the kitchen is a place in the home where they are familiar with and feel comfortable.
Did you know that many health professionals in the mental health field are actually using culinary capabilities as a form of therapy for various mental health and physical health issues? Cooking comes with many more benefits than just that of eating it. Cooking can be so good for you emotionally, mentally and physically. This is especially true when it comes to seniors who cook in the kitchen when they can.
Seniors often cook less than they used to because they are only cooking for themselves or it’s easier to just have food prepared for them. However, there can be great advantages when a senior cooks every once in awhile for themselves. There can be significant limitations for seniors when it comes to cooking due to various physical and cognitive setbacks, but there are certainly ways you can help them in the kitchen when it comes to cooking.
Seniors should be encouraged to stay active and engaged with being in the kitchen for its many benefits psychologically. One of the best ways to be active mentally is by working on your memory. When you cook a meal, it requires you to plan the ingredients out, get the ingredients physically at the store and actually make the recipe. This process of cooking literally helps a senior to exercise their mind, just like one would exercise their body.
Cooking is far more than just the meal you have as a finished result. In fact, cooking is definitely about the process of getting the final product done.
Some key benefits of seniors who cook in the kitchen include:
- Cooking encourages social bonding and self-expression. One great tip for having a senior cook is to include their grandchildren.
- Cooking can trigger happy memories for seniors. Along with the smells and tastes of certain meals, the actual experience of cooking can be an experience that drastically improves the mood of a senior.
- Cooking activates the senses. Smells and tastes that are familiar can be a positive experience especially for a senior who has early signs of dementia.
- Cooking can improve their appetite. It’s common knowledge that seniors tend to have a decrease in their appetite. Although this is a normal aging process, it is still important to monitor. When a senior helps prepare a meal, they are often excited about trying it out.
An important thing to remember is to take the necessary precautions to make the kitchen your senior loved one is cooking in a safe one. Some of the biggest threats to the well-being and health of seniors is the risk of falls and fires.