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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

Dr. Robert Winningham, of Western Oregon University, wrote in the Journal of Mental Health and Aging, “If older adults can maintain their cognitive ability, they will require less care and possibly delay or even eliminate the need to go to a nursing home. Cognitively stimulating activities may also postpone symptoms of dementia, which could also delay the need for more intensive care.”

Winningham gave these examples of cognitive stimulation:

Reading a book.

Looking at a magazine.

Working a Sudoku.


Visiting with friends.

Developing a new hobby.

Taking different routes to frequent destinations.

Going dancing or taking a dance class.

Learning a foreign language.

Cooking new recipes.

Watching Emily Gardner, Naomi Rother, Sue Smith, Betty Jones and Florence Clary in action was inspiring but also bittersweet. My father died with virtually no memory thanks to Alzheimer's disease. It's an incredibly tough road for family but nothing compared with what it must be like for the victim. I watched as my father's memory gradually slipped away over several years, leaving him finally with nothing.

It's a reminder without sentiment to be thankful for your health most of all. It's also a reminder to be thankful for those such as the folks at Touchmark who have dedicated their careers to caring for our loved ones in need. And for doctors who've dedicated their careers to finding ways to combat memory-loss diseases.

What is life without challenge and failure? Heaven. But heaven can wait as we've all got some living to do. From the most helpful to the most helpless, our experiences — positive and negative — serve to inform the future.

Be thankful you've got a part in this ongoing narrative, even if you're still trying to refine your role. We've all been there or will be someday.

No matter where in the world you are Thanksgiving Day, whether you're eating white meat, dark meat or dim sum at The Grand House, remember we're all in this together.

How to Help

Four ways to give

Full list of Thanksgiving recipes
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: Click on the 74,000 Reasons to Give banner.


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