Itís a reality in our culture that women grow up in the kitchen. As young girls, we are taught to help out our mothers in the kitchen, as teens we begin to learn how to prepare simple meals, by the time women reached adulthood preparing meals is something that women are often tasked with for their growing family. As women with Alzheimerís progress more and more into the disease process we often discourage working in the kitchen. This is a responsible decision as there are many safety issues that can happen in the kitchen. However, for many women and even some men this was their family role. Cooking was their way of caring for their family. The idea of not being able to cook can cause mild depression due to the challenge this poses with the personís dignity and independence. For some this loss of independence can be as debilitating as not being able to drive. You can help your loved one regain some of their independence by involving them in other appropriate parts of the cooking process. Here are some ideas to help get you started:
Have your loved one help in the preparation of making salads, ice cream, Jell-O, pudding (try a hand mixer), no-bake cookies and pies, popcorn balls and other simple recipes.
Have your loved one wash fresh produce and put it into bags.
Have them help to grind nuts to use for baking.
Get their help peeling easy fruits and vegetables such as oranges
Get their help copying recipes from magazines onto cards.
Get their help to make a grocery list of items needed for recipes.
Have your loved one sort recipes and find pictures to illustrate them.
Get their help to empty the dishwasher (use melamine or plastic dinnerware).
Get their help setting the table or folding/ rolling silverware into napkins.
Have them assemble shish-kabobs with fruit or vegetables (use wooden ones with blunt ends).