This activity involves participants in the process of baking to allow them to reminisce and socialize with others, while making a commonly made dessert. Participants will be baking two types of cookies-- chocolate chip and snickerdoodle. They will get put into pairs based on common interests, so there will be 4 pairs total. 2 pairs will get to make chocolate chip cookies, while the other pairs will get to make snickerdoodles. Working with two people allows everyone to be involved in the process and problem-solve Through issues that may arise. Processing questions: What is your favorite part of baking? What is your favorite dessert to make? How do you feel while making these cookies? What was a memory from childhood you have where you baked with a family member? What was it?


Space/Room Recommended: ​A dining room and kitchen/kitchenette would be perfect Limitations: ​Space could be limited, some people could have a restricted diet because of a health condition. Preparation: ​Get all ingredients and supplies out and ready and preheat the oven to 350 degrees Debrief: 1. What is a memory you have from baking in the past that stands out? 2. What was an emotion that arose while you were baking? 3. What were one positive and one negative emotion you felt throughout the process? 4. Did you feel more calm and relaxed before baking or after baking? 5. What is your favorite step in the process? 6. Did this activity come naturally to you? 7. Do you remember the steps from the past or did you need to look at the recipe? 8. How did you feel working in a pair? Did you make a connection with your partner? 9. Did you feel happy while baking? 10. How often do you cook or bake by yourself? Do you feel like you enjoy it more independently or in a pair? 11. What was a memory from childhood you have where you baked with a family member?

Group Size Time of Day Duration Acuity Level
Large (8+) Any 45 Minutes Assisted Living
Independent Living
Long-term Care
Memory Care
Skilled Nursing/Rehab
Facilitator Gender
Any Coed
Wellness Domains



Recipe, 2 mixing bowls, all ingredients (flour, oil, butter, sugar, chocolate chips, cinnamon, eggs, milk/water) measuring cups, measuring spoons, whisk, small bowl, cookie sheets, oven, oven mitts, napkins, standing mixer/hand mixer

Supporting Research

This site suggests that baking can be an effective form of therapy and can aid relaxation and reduce stress. It also can decrease agitation and depression for those with dementia, often bringing them joy through reminiscing. Experiences that are involved in baking help stimulate the senses, which make food more appetizing. There is proven evidence for baking for seniors-- it calms and relaxes them, boosts moods, encourages them to create a better relationship with food, and allows them to make social connections in groups. There are many interesting things I learned from reading the article I reviewed. The first is the extent in which cooking group therapy sessions help older adults. In a way, I feel like this can also be beneficial because of the use of aromatherapy—the smell of cooking certain things brings up muscle-memory and allows older adults to recollect and reminisce on memories that aroma brings to them. The article mentions how older adults with dementia find it stressful and difficult to learn new activities or tasks. Utilizing tasks they grew up doing, is more beneficial for them because they know how to do it. Kim, H. (2015.) Effects of experience-based group therapy on cognitive and physical functions and psychological symptoms of elderly people with mild dementia. ​Journal of Physical Therapy Science, 27(7), ​2069-2071. ​


Food & Cooking

Good For



Adaptations: ​An adaptation could be using a pre-packaged mix of dough rather than mixing from scratch and pre-measuring all the ingredients out at each pair’s station.

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