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Sharing Family Traditions: The Benefits of Baking With Seniors



Family traditions are the heart of the holidays. Whether it’s hanging handmade ornaments, wrapping gifts together, or just telling the stories of holidays passed, sharing those family traditions foster cross-generational relationships and keep memories alive. And of course, there’s the baking.

Baking is a wonderful way to get family and friends together and share the holiday spirit and maybe nibble a few cookies fresh from the oven. Plus, everyday activities like baking can be particularly beneficial for people who live with dementia.

Baking can reduce stress

Relax and unwind... baking can be very calming, which can greatly help to aid relaxation and reduce stress. Movements such as kneading bread have been shown to reduce levels of anxiety as well as help prevent and manage depression.

Improves appetite

One of the challenges of aging can be loss of appetite and subsequent weight loss. Being around all the aromatic ingredients, contributing to the process, and seeing and smelling the yummy finished products can help with that. Baking stimulates the senses, so it can be an effective tool for encouraging seniors to enjoy food more and even try new things.

Brings back old memories

Baking – and eating – holiday goodies can bring back the sights and smells of holiday celebration and family, whether it’s memories of cooking with loved ones or cooking for them. Time in the kitchen is a great opportunity for the older generation to rediscover and share family memories with children, grandchildren, and even great grandchildren.

Offers a creative outlet

Studies have shown a positive link between creative expression and well-being. Frosting cakes, decorating cookies, creating gingerbread men—all those activities create an opportunity for personal expression, as well as calming the mind and improving overall mood.

Control your ingredients

Baking typically produces the decadent and delicious snacks and desserts that grace a holiday table. But just because they’re sweets doesn’t mean they can’t be a little healthier. When you bake as a family, you can make sure everyone’s favorite ingredients are included and make the best choices regarding the type and quality. Choose natural sugar or a low-calorie sugar substitute, free range eggs, organic fruits, or nuts. It’s entirely up to you.

Improve cognitive and fine motor skills

Measuring ingredients, transferring mixtures from bowls to baking tins, and rolling or cutting cookie shapes are all great ways to engage both cognitive and fine motor skills that may diminish with age. And baking with the whole family means older family members can guide and help youngsters while sharing recipes and stories. Because seniors can sometimes start to experience memory loss, it may be helpful to assign someone to check ingredients as they go in, make sure the oven and stove top are monitored, and help with lifting heavy or hot items.

Build a sense of community

In addition to baking with family, seniors who have made the transition to independent or assisted living facilities like Crimson Village may have the opportunity to bake together. Just like the arts and crafts, movie events, and games hosted by our assisted living community, Crimson Village incorporates baking traditions like our 1-2-3 Cake Baking Day. Residents have the opportunity to bake and decorate their own “cake in a mug” for a personal treat.

If your loved one reaches a point where living independently becomes challenging or impossible, you don’t have to give up the family traditions and activities that make for healthy aging. They can still be part of your family life, and they can absolutely be part of the activity programs available at Crimson Village. Check out at Crimson Village’s plethora of helpful offerings including temporary respite care, assisted living, and memory care. You can learn more about available amenities, floor plans, and medical support by visiting their clicking here or contacting our team members via email at marketing@crimsonvillage.com or by calling 205-632-6699 to discuss your specific needs.

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