17th May is World Baking Day, the origins of this day may be all but lost as the website is now defunct and the Facebook page sadly no longer used. And yet, pop World Baking Day into Google search and it seems the day is still going strong. Cooking and baking in particular have always been popular, but while we all spend more time at home people are getting more adventurous and if the continuously bare shelves in the home baking section in all of the supermarkets are to be believed, everyone is giving it a go.
World Baking Day is believed to have begun as a day to celebrate baking as a gift to others. Baking and sharing is a joyful experience and the smell of home baking (particularly bread) has long been held as a useful tool to enhance nutrition due to it's amazing power to make us feel hungry. Sharing food can also encourage participants to eat a little more than they would ordinarily, as it then becomes a social activity too. These are all great tips to remember when we are looking at ways to encourage people in care homes to eat more regularly.
What’s more baking is sensory and stimulates the senses in other ways, preparing food ingredients such as, weighing, measuring, pouring, mixing, stirring, kneading and pouring mixtures into tins or shaping onto trays are all great for fine and gross motor skills. Baking is therapeutic, meaningful activities like these, often referred to as Activities of Daily Living, are really good for our mental wellbeing, helping us to find purpose in our lives during each day.
Of course there's more to baking than just bread. You could create a delicious rhubarb crumble, which involves going pick your own if you are growing it in your garden, washing, cutting before you even start preparing your crumble ready to bake. Or, you could bake a cake, a Rainbow Cake would be a really welcome sight right now!
Following a recipe or decorating a cake offers an opportunity to be mindful and to focus our energies on something fun helping to clear our heads of the worries and anxieties that we might otherwise focus on. It stands to reason then, that these are really important activities for older people living in residential care to participate in, and that we should ensure that we do not overlook these Activities of Daily Living when we plan our activities schedule.