Supporting our service users to live healthier, better and more independent lives in their own homes is so important to us at Cera. Part of ensuring this is empowering and supporting individuals to complete tasks that matter to them.
This week is National Baking Week and we wanted to share some of the benefits of baking for the elderly.
Baking requires a person's full attention focusing on the task at hand, which can provide a fantastic distraction from outside concerns and worries. The logical following of a recipe can be very soothing to those who are anxious and familiar, repetitive techniques can create a feeling of calm.
All someone's senses come into play when they are baking. Sight to read the recipe and see it come together. Sound to hear the ingredients react or listen for the timer. The smell of each element and the final product. Touch to knead, stir and decorate whatever they make. Then each of these leads to the final one of taste!
By involving all the senses in the activity, the learning someone gets from the task is more useful and meaningful. Children naturally learn through their senses and it is important to continue using them where possible when we are older too, to keep our minds sharp!
Many people will have memories of friends or family cooking and baking, as well as memories of doing it themselves too. The smells, tastes and actions of baking can stimulate recall of special times and create positive connections with those memories.
It can also test their short term memory as they need to remember steps, which ingredients to mix and how long to cook things for. This in turn promotes better cognitive health and wellbeing.
The act of baking something in itself is creative, however they can take it a step further with decorating cakes and biscuits using icing, fondant and more to create more elaborate pieces. You can also encourage them to try new recipes or amend favourite ones with other ingredients to create something new.
As well as giving people a task to do which results in something tangible they can use, gift or eat, it also promotes motor skills. The movements needed to produce the final product helps toward better physical health which aids a service users independence. In addition they feel in greater control of their lives when they are cooking and consuming something they created themselves.
Accepting home care can be a difficult thing for some service users to accept, but encouraging them to continue or restart doing tasks like this, can make all the difference to their feeling of control over their own lives.
If you care about giving the elderly opportunities to create these memories and improve their physical, mental and emotional health, then click here to find out more about what it takes to be a Cera Care Assistant.
Alternatively, click here to see if we have opportunities available near you.