Food Dude: Baking on the rise as therapy for Alzheimer's patients

Food Dude by Dave Cathey: Touchmark at Coffee Creek uses baking for cognitive stimulation therapy.
by Dave Cathey Published: November 23, 2011

The countdown to Thanksgiving is coming to a fast end, so today we focus on some final details to help illuminate your family feast.

You'll find recipes for dressing; gravy; breads; wine recommendations; a festive, seasonal punch for this time of year; and a healthy option for your leftovers.

Once the feast is prepared, it'll be time to exhale, reflect and do as the holiday suggests and give thanks for all you have and those you love and reflect on how each made it to your respective feasts. Reminiscing inevitably brings laughter, and maybe even a few tears will ensue. Memories make so much of who we are and what motivates us.

Life's triumphs are impossible without tragic challenges. Among the most serious is Alzheimer's disease, and November is National Alzheimer's Disease Awareness Month and National Family Caregivers Month. The Oklahoma chapter of the Alzheimer's Association offers support at no cost to the 74,000 who struggle with the disease.

The Oklahoma chapter has a goal to raise $1 for every Oklahoman with Alzheimer's through the “74,000 Reasons to Give” campaign. The E.L. and Thelma Gaylord Foundation and the Jean I. Everest Foundation pledged a combined $74,000 as part of a matching gift campaign, so any gift is matched dollar for dollar and makes double the impact.

As part of our Thanksgiving countdown, I visited Touchmark at Coffee Creek retirement community for a lesson in bread making. Touchmark at Coffee Creek includes all levels of senior care, including a memory-care unit for those who suffer from Alzheimer's disease or dementia.

Bread making is part of the therapy for residents, and I was lucky to join six cheerful ladies for a lesson in making pumpkin bread.

Touchmark Enrichment/Wellness Director Cathy Bird said cooking is part of cognitive stimulation therapy, which is meant to exercise the brain.

“We assign different tasks to each person,” Bird said. “It can be as little as pouring or measuring ingredients, while some help others complete tasks.”

Bird said the more an activity is part of residents' lives, the better chance they have of drawing a memory. Thus, cooking is ideal as it is a part of everyday life for most.

Full list of Thanksgiving recipes
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by Dave Cathey
Food Editor
The Oklahoman's food editor, Dave Cathey, keeps his eye on culinary arts and serves up news and reviews from Oklahoma’s booming food scene.
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Text: “OKMATCH” followed by a space and the amount you wish to donate to the number 27138.

Call: (918) 481-7789.

Mail: Alzheimer's Association, Attn: Stacie Wilson, 6465 S Yale Ave., Tulsa, OK 74136 (checks payable: Alzheimer's Association).

Online: www.alz.org/alzokar. Click on the 74,000 Reasons to Give banner.

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