Interactive Activities for Cognitive Health: Food

Food for Thought

Over time, people with dementia may find their appetite declines or food doesn’t taste quite like it did before, resulting in a loss of interest in food and eating. Here are some activities that could encourage them to enjoy food again. 

Let Them Prepare!

There is no better reward than smelling a delicious meal and knowing you had a hand in its creation. Encourage a loved one with dementia to be part of the process, through simple tasks such as washing or peeling vegetables, mixing previously measured ingredients into a bowl, or spooning out cookie dough. Providing a sense of purpose boosts self-esteem, and encourages a desire to eat the meal they prepared.

A Life’s Story through Food

Old recipe books can be a tool to encourage your loved one to talk about family meals when they were younger, and a way to provide insight into their food preferences today. Buy a cookbook with beautiful pictures and stories from their country of origin to stimulate memories, and transport a person with dementia to a different place and time in their lives.

Host a Themed Dinner

Create a family dinner where the food is specific to an event or culture. Trying foods from different cultures helps make meals fun and enjoyable. For example, create a Spanish night with tapas, sombreros and Spanish music. 

Enjoy the Outdoors

Gardening is a multi-sensory way to improve the quality of life for seniors with memory loss. Help them plant and care for a container garden, to be used in preparing family meals. A regular picnic meal outdoors, in the backyard or the park, can stimulate the senses and encourage appetite.

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