Food Activities for People with Dementia

Did you know that May is filled with holidays about food?  In fact there are at least 56  holidays this month that celebrate food.  This week alone, there are 11 of them.

11 Food Holidays Celebrated This Week

May 12, National Nutty Fudge Day

May 13, International Hummus Day; Nationals Apple Pie Day; National Fruit Cocktail Day

May 14, National Buttermilk Biscuit Day

May 15, National Chocolate Chip Day; National Slider Day

May 17 National Cherry Cobbler Day; National Pizza Day; National Walnut Day

May 18, I Love Reese’s Day

Food and Dementia

For many people food is equated with comfort.  A piping hot bowl of soup hits the spot on a cold, rainy or snowy day.  The smell of homemade cookies baking in the oven, gives us a warm feeling of home.  In addition, food stimulates our senses.  The sight of a mixed fruit bowl, the smell of baking bread, the crunch of a stalk of celery are all examples of ways food stimulates the senses.

For people with dementia,  activities that engage their senses and stimulate a feeling of comfort,  can be of great value. This is especially true for those not living in their homes and those who are losing interest in eating.  For some, opportunities to reminisce about favorite foods or family celebrations that included special foods can be a positive experience.  For others, being involved in meal preparation can give them a sense of purpose and foster social skills.  The extent, however, in which a person with dementia can help with meal preparation depends upon their ability level.  It is important to ensure their safety and increase their level of success.

Food Glorious Food—5 Activities for People with Dementia

  1. Food Preparation—washing fruits and vegetables, making sandwiches, preparing drinks
  2. Table Preparation—setting the dinner table with silverware, napkins, plates and glasses.  Helping to clear the table after the meal.
  3. Social Gatherings—themed meals (birthday parties, holidays, meals themed by international foods or events).
  4. Field Trips—going to a farmer’s market, grocery shopping, or attending a BBQ
  5. Conversations About Food—encourage self-expression and reminiscence about favorite foods and sweets, family traditions involving food or food preparation.

Food and Music

Here is a playlist I compiled of food songs for older adults.  Add these to your social events, use them in a sing along or as a springboard for reminiscing.


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