Sharing a family meal can help those with dementia connect

Health

This image released by Netflix shows Tim Hollingsworth, chef and owner of Otium in Los Angeles appears in a scene from the cooking competition series “The Final Table.” Hollingsworth, who earned the James Beard Foundation’s Rising Star Chef of the Year award and served as chef de cuisine at French Laundry, learned to cook at home by his mother’s side. His mother, now struggling with memory loss, is not able to participate in the cooking, but being present for the preparation and eating of familiar dishes with her son helps bridge the distance that dementia can create. (Adam Rose/Netflix via AP)

Making and sharing familiar meals with relatives who have dementia can be a great way to connect and boost their spirits.

Experts say favorite dishes and family-dinner traditions can be bridges to those with memory problems.

The menu is less important than the time together and the feel of belonging.

Ruth Drew is director of information and support services at the Alzheimer’s Association. She encourages families over the holiday season to embrace the sometimes challenging experience of sharing meals with relatives who are dealing with dementia. 

Experts recommend including them in even the smallest ways in meal prep and table setting. 

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