As we grow older, everyday activities can become harder. Arthritis can make gripping small items like measuring spoons difficult, the tiny lettering of recipes can strain our eyes, and moving heavy appliances and pie plates from their spots up high or low can be hard for our bodies. But if you’re loved one has long since given up their love for baking or cooking, it might be time to entice them back into the kitchen. It turns out there are a number of benefits to spending time in the kitchen, the least of which may be all the delicious results of having a little extra help.

Whether you’re a home chef or a casual cook, Artis Senior Living has designed this handy guide to help you include your loved one in preparing your next meal or treat.

Recipe Selection

Begin by selecting a recipe together. This can be a good opportunity to reminisce about recipes your loved one grew up with. Or perhaps there was an old favorite you loved to make together when you were a child. Allowing your loved one to select the recipe they are going to help you make can give them an important boost of self worth, helping them feel like they are contributing in a way they may not usually be able to.

Recipe Supervisor

One of the easiest ways to get your loved one involved with the cooking is to arm them with a large magnifying glass and ask them to be in charge of reading the recipe and guiding your efforts. Your loved one can begin by reading out loud the necessary cookware, measuring tools, and appliances, which you can retrieve from their various storage places. Next, your loved one can read through each step, guiding you through the process.

Master of Measuring

Measuring spoons like these are specially designed for hands that have trouble gripping small objects and feature large numbers that are easier to read. After collecting all the ingredients together so they are easy to reach, take over the reading responsibility and guide your loved one through the measuring steps. Measuring can be a good cognitive exercise, making this a great opportunity for your loved one to put on their thinking cap.

Official Taste Tester

Every kitchen needs a taster. For a loved one living with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia, tastes – and smells – can be particularly powerful, possibly even stirring up forgotten memories. Ask your loved one to join you in the kitchen as you cook, and offer up any taste-ready steps for their opinion. Does it need more sugar? Or maybe some salt? These are questions for your kitchen’s official gate keeper of taste.

Table Setter

Even if there isn’t a way for your loved one to contribute directly to the cooking, they can still help by being in charge of setting the table. Tell your loved one what will be needed but encourage them to remember where everything is on their own. When dinner is served, be sure to commend your loved one for their contribution to the meal.