Cooking Safely with Alzheimer’s Disease

January 20, 2016

Many people love cooking. Making wonderful culinary creations for the ones you love is a fulfilling hobby.

But what happens when you have Alzheimer’s disease and your memory isn’t great anymore? Diseases like Alzheimer’s can make kitchen tasks difficult and even dangerous.

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Here are some tips to allow you to continue cooking despite memory loss:

kitchen timer, Alzheimer's, dementia, memorycareSet a kitchen timer to remind yourself when baked goods and other dishes are done.

 

Use a timer
There are a lot of excellent tools that can help you stay on track in the kitchen. A timer is a key resource.

 

Setting one will allow you to continue doing other tasks without completely forgetting about a dish in the oven. Get a kitchen timer that you can wind; it will tick down the minutes before making a shrill sound or ring to alert you that your food is done. Or, set an alarm on your phone if you are more likely to hear it because you have it near you. If you have ever left your house without turning off the oven or stove and removing what you were cooking, consider writing yourself a reminder and taping it to the inside of the door. This way, if you go to leave, you’ll see the note and return to the kitchen to turn off your appliances.

Create a Routine

The Alzheimer’s Association notes that one way to use your memory to your advantage is to stick to a routine. Doing the same thing every day at a specific time will make you more likely to recall important information. Consider getting up and making breakfast at a certain time every day. This way, you’ll know it will take two minutes to cook a sunny-side-up egg, and then you’ll turn off the stove immediately after the egg is done. Have a similar approach to lunch and dinner, too.

Many people with memory trouble also find it’s important that they approach one task at a time. Instead of putting bacon in a skillet on the stove and then walking into the other room to watch TV, stay in the kitchen with your mind on your cooking. Make this a part of your routine, and you’ll feel less confused about what you’re doing and have fewer cooking-related accidents.

Rely on Outside Help

Plenty of people check their ovens and stoves repeatedly to make sure they are turned off. If this concerns you and you do not want to face the fear of burning your home, look to outside help for your meals.

“Plenty of people check their ovens and stoves repeatedly.”

Assisted living and memory care communities both offer excellent dining options. Instead of gathering and mixing ingredients and cooking food, you can just go down to the dining room and enjoy a tasty meal. You won’t have to worry about leaving any appliances on, and you won’t have any dishes to take care of. This is also a great option if you have arthritis, and the hands-on needs involved in cooking are too painful to bear.

Go raw
If you are trying to improve your health, you may have done some research into different kinds of diets. One trendy nutrition choice that many people try is the raw diet. This means eating mostly produce, seeds and nuts. The very basis of the diet is that you don’t cook anything, which means the chemical composition of each food isn’t altered. Instead, the foods offer the most nutritional value possible because they are completely raw. This diet has been touted as helpful for people who are looking to amp up their nutrient value, get more antioxidants and lose weight. Plus, you won’t have to use the oven or stove to enjoy tasty salads or awesome vegetable medleys topped with seeds and fruits. Always check with your doctor before trying a new diet.

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