You can’t always be there. But we can.
Alzheimer’s disease is a life-changing experience for your elderly adult, but for you as their family caregiver as well. It is important that you continue to perceive your care efforts as not just addressing the symptoms of the disease, but as a way for your elderly parent to continue enjoying the highest quality of life possible as they progress through the condition. Part of this is encouraging them to continue to do activities that they have always done, such as getting in the kitchen and preparing meals and snacks. This is a way to stimulate their mind, trigger memories, and support a greater sense of independence, relevance, and motivation.
Use these tips to help encourage your elder with Alzheimer’s disease to help you in the kitchen:
• Choose simple recipes. When you want to enjoy cooking with your elderly parent, select recipes that are simple, straightforward, and familiar to your parent. This helps to prevent the process from becoming overwhelming or frustrating for your elderly loved one and for you. If you want to prepare something that might be more complicated than you would like to approach with your parent, consider handling some of the steps on your own and then modifying the rest of the recipe so that your parent can help you. For example, if the recipe calls for browning beef with seasonings, do this ahead of time and just skip ahead to the next step so that your parent can be involved.
• Give them frequent tasks. Having your parent simply sitting in the kitchen with you can make them feel even more disconnected than not being involved at all. Rather than having them watch you with most of the tasks, get them involved frequently. Tasks such as tearing up lettuce for a salad or bread for stuffing, or measuring out ingredients can take time and keep your parent’s hands and mind busy so they feel relevant and involved.
• Keep them talking. One of the best benefits of cooking with your parent is the mental stimulation that they can gain from it. This helps to keep their cognitive functioning and their memory sharper and more responsive even as they progress through the condition. Keep them talking throughout the experience, sharing memories, asking questions, talking through the steps in the recipe, and just enjoying conversation. You will find that this makes the experience even more meaningful for you as well.
If your elderly loved one has recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or they have progressed in their symptoms to the point that you think they could benefit from additional support, now may be the ideal time for you to consider elderly care. The highly personalized services of an elderly home care services provider are designed to specifically address your elderly parent’s individual needs, challenges, and limitations, but also to prepare them for future symptoms, provide proactive care and support, and encourage them to maintain their mental and emotional health and well-being throughout their later years.
This can mean that they enjoy more independence, activity, and engagement, while still staying safe, healthy, and comfortable. Through these efforts your parent can maintain more cognitive functioning and experience a more fulfilling and meaningful lifestyle even as they progress through their condition.
When it comes to encouraging your aging parent to enjoy getting in the kitchen and preparing meals and snacks, this care provider can supervise your parent, help them with challenging or dangerous tasks, guide them in modifying tasks so that they can handle them on their own, and engage them in conversation that stimulates their mind and keeps them active no matter how simple the meal or snack they are preparing.