You don’t have to have a serious sweet tooth to enjoy the art of baking. (There’s a whole bunch of savoury treats you can bake too!) It’s truly a hobby that everyone can enjoy which is just one of the reasons why it’s such a great hobby for seniors.
Baking can have an effect of calm and can be great for stress and anxiety management. Because of this, it is sometimes used as a form of therapy for patients with dementia. The act of baking (for example, kneading dough with your hands) can calm patients when they’re stressed. It is also sometimes used as a way to encourage patients who don’t have much of an appetite to eat more. Baking stimulates all the senses and can get people more interested in eating, especially when they’ve had a hand in making it. In general, baking is a wonderful way to get seniors engaged and can be part of a treatment plan for mental health conditions.
Beyond the health benefits, baking is also a fantastic creative outlet for seniors. It gives them the chance to create something from scratch and add their own personal touch to each recipe. It can really boost confidence levels and allow seniors to feel independent. At Bria Communities, two of our communities have a communal kitchen that is often used by recreation for making special treats with residents, so those who want to try their hand at baking have the opportunity to join in.
Intergenerational Baking with Seniors
Food is a very important part of every culture. The preparation of food and eating together are an important shared experience and is a central activity in most families and communities. Often, mealtime is the only time during the day when you get to sit down and connect with people. As you cook and eat together, you share stories and find common ground. This is what makes baking such a valuable skill for seniors to share with younger generations.
Sharing old family recipes is an incredible way to bond while also sharing parts of your culture. Baking together is just one way for seniors to pass on valued family traditions with their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. However, it’s important for kids to learn about other cultures too, and activities that include food are a wonderful way to teach them about the world beyond where they live. This extends beyond just family members as well. Intergenerational activities are a great way for people of all ages in the community to get to know each other.
For seniors, interaction with younger generations is an opportunity for them to share their knowledge and life experience with someone who can truly benefit from it. It can be quite empowering for everyone involved, but particularly for the seniors. It’s a way for them to show independence and provides an opportunity for social interaction with new people which can excite and energize them. This type of social activity can also stimulate brain activity in seniors, which is always important and valuable when it comes to aging.
For the younger generations, it can be a great way for them to connect with seniors and learn from them. In a digital world, seniors can show kids the importance of face to face connection with others and let them discover the satisfaction of not only creating something of your own, but also the reward that comes from sharing it with others.