cooking with Alzheimer’s – maple syrup


usually twice a week the residents have oatmeal, toast, and some fresh fruits for breakfast. I often put in some cinnamon and raisins in the oatmeal and top it with a spoonful of brown sugar.

anyway, one morning I was prepping things in the kitchen when I heard a knock at the door. it was Lily, one of our residents. she got around in a wheelchair, but she was quite frail, so it must have taken quite some effort for her to wheel herself over to the kitchen.

I quickly went over to the door to see what she needed. her voice was very soft though, so I had to lean over and ask her to repeat herself. “I hate maple syrup!” she whispered.

in my mind, I was thinking, dang, she must really detest that stuff! I explained, “Oh actually that’s brown sugar.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yeah, it just melted a bit so it looks like that.”

“Okay then. Thank you.”

A nurse came by to help her back to her seat, and she enjoyed the rest of her breakfast.

Lily was a very intelligent lady and a great cook too. her daughter visited almost every week, and often told us about the great things her mom used to cook. one time she saw me making dinner rolls, and fondly remembered how her mom made fresh bread for their family every week.

whenever I remember this story, it makes me smile. it’s funny! sometimes as our residents deteriorate, you might not be sure how much they are still aware of, but a lot of times they still have strong opinions about the foods they like and dislike. we try our best to make them happy.

disclaimer: names and other details have been changed in these stories.