Oakstone’s Memory Care Residents Reminisce Through the Power of Food

November 13, 2023

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Hearing a favorite song, seeing a family photo, or smelling food on the stove can transport people back in time, allowing them to relive fond memories and happy moments. This is the power of the senses.

Nourishment Through the Senses

Registered dietician Gisela Bouvier helped memory care residents tap into this type of nostalgia by creating and baking bread rolls at “Nourishment Through the Senses,” an event hosted at Oakstone, the memory care residences at Moorings Park at Grey Oaks.

With a nutritional approach and a focus on mindful eating, this event was designed to provide residents with a hands-on sensory activity that encouraged them to be present, while also enhancing their long-term memory.

“Food is highly connected to memory and our goal was to help residents remember a fond memory through the power of food,” said Bouvier.

The Sensory Experience We Knead

Participants selected a variety of toppings to knead into two raw bread rolls. Having various savory and sweet toppings to choose from was significant, as the residents were directed to select toppings based on their food preferences, taste, and a fond memory. 

The rolls were then baked in the Memory Care residence’s open kitchen, and the aroma of baking bread filled the room. Soon after, the participants enjoyed their personally prepared rolls with their choice of coffee or tea.

“The scent of baking bread, the feeling of dough between their hands and fingers, and incorporating flavors into the bread are all sensory experiences that can awaken the memory centers of the brain and engage residents in responses that are both emotional and physical,” Bouvier stated. 

A Trip Down Memory Lane

The residents were enthusiastic about the event and were delighted to explain why they chose the ingredients they did. 

One resident used pieces of a Heath bar, because it reminded him of growing up in New Jersey and buying the treat at a neighborhood drugstore. Another chose to recreate a pizza using cheese and garlic, because he grew up in a family-owned Italian bakery where he worked and cooked with his father.

When asked if they’d like to participate in another bread-baking session in the future, one memory care resident responded without hesitation.

“Yes, this has been so fun!”

Research has shown that sensory and memory stimulation therapies have the potential to improve dementia-related memory decline by strengthening communication skills, promoting better sleep, and improving mood, among many other benefits. Moorings Park Communities is committed to offering such engaging sensory programs throughout the year, such as pet therapy, gardening, and specially curated art classes. 

Compassionate Memory Care

When needs arise, individuals from the greater Naples area are discovering Oakstone’s Memory Care residences at Moorings Park Grey Oaks, which are offered on a month-to-month basis at a daily rate with no entrance fees. Life at Oakstone offers fulfilling, compassionate services that are dedicated to improving your loved one’s quality of life and enhancing their physical, intellectual, and spiritual wellness.

For additional information about Oakstone’s Memory Care residences, call (239) 919-1732, visit our website, or schedule a private tour. 

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