Residents at our residential and dementia care home, RNNH in Bournemouth, Dorset, got their Christmas activities off to a ‘Reindeer Flying’ start. They took part in a festive Christmas Mince Pie baking afternoon which would have received a special handshake from a certain, well-known, ‘Hollywood’ Baker.
Just like the iconic television baking show, residents put on their pinnies, rolled up their sleeves and got creative with their Yuletide mince pie bakes. “Instead of competing against each other, our residents decided to work together on their culinary masterpieces,” said Rob Paton, the Activities Coordinator at RNNH.
“Six of our residents – Barbara Barry, Pauline Kenny, Elsie Ballett, Peggy Davies Maureen Brook and Thelma McCarthy – were our Prue Leiths and Mary Berry’s for the afternoon and created three wonderful Christmas bakes.
“We had three different, delicious, RNNH Mince Pies – a Festive Mince Pie, a Ruby Port Mince Pie and a Rum Mince Pie,” Rob continued.
Talking about her holly, jolly mince pie creations, RNNH resident, 79-year-old Pauline Kenny said: “We’ve all had a great afternoon making and baking the different mince pies, and we especially enjoyed a well-deserved cup of tea to wash down the yummy treats.”
“Making the Mince Pies and getting everyone involved was a good conversation starter,” added 93-year-old resident Barbara Barry. “Whilst we were enjoying the merry fruits of our labour, we chatted and reminisced about how our relatives used to make the Christmas Mince Pies and Christmas Puddings. Back then it was always a race to see who would find the lucky Sixpence in the pudding.”
Judging was tough, but in the end everyone agreed that the rum mince pie was the best. “There wasn’t a soggy bottom in sight,” continued Rob. “Each of the pies was scrumptious, but the Rum ones had the edge, they were totally mouth-watering.”
Baking has many benefits, especially for older people. Not only is it creative, but it can also be calming which helps with relaxation and reducing stress. It stimulates the senses – feeling the flour, rubbing in the butter, the smell of bakes in the oven, tasting the delicious end results all help to stimulate the senses – and it’s great for keeping the brain active, as it involves weighing and measuring.
“Baking can evoke memories, whether it’s a memory of cooking with loved ones, enjoying a special birthday cake, eating an éclair at a picnic with friends or enjoying a Yuletide Mince Pie – the smell of a freshly baked cake or loaf of bread can trigger these happy memories,” added Caroline Gulen, the Registered Care Home Manager at RNNH.
“We have a wide and varied activities calendar at RNNH which is tailored to all our residents likes and preferences. It is important for us to ensure that our residents are engaged and enjoy our activities and baking is always a firm favourite,” Caroline continued.
“The RNNH Christmas Mince Pie afternoon was a big success. The only difference was that instead of being in an instantly recognisable white tent, we were in our warm and cosy lounge. Our six Bakers thoroughly enjoyed creating the tasty festive treats for everyone and all the residents and care team enjoyed tasting them. It was a lovely way to get the Christmas activities underway,” concluded Rob.