The joy and health benefits of baking in retirement
The Great British Bake-Off is back on our screens this autumn for the 11th successful year in a row, and it’s a show that is so popular that only England football matches have been known to compete with it for viewing figures! This year, one of the more notable contestants is a retired 70-year-old midwife from Dorset, called Maggie which only goes to highlight how popular baking is for those at retirement age. Not forgetting the inimitable and glamorous octogenarian judge, Prue Leith of course. Additionally, it’s important to note that baking isn’t merely an enjoyable hobby to indulge in during retirement either alone or with friends and family, there are many added health benefits to boot. ‘More time for personal activities’ is often cited in polls of over 70-year-olds as one of the biggest benefits of growing old. Taking up a hobby or interest such as baking which gives life routine, colour and achievement contributes greatly towards a greater sense of wellbeing in later life.
The UK retirement communities operated by LifeCare Residences provide residents with a vibrant place to live, offering a full-spectrum of five-star amenities and services that not only make day-to-day living smoother, but they also help to free up time. The teams at Battersea Place in London, Somerleigh Court in Dorchester, Dorset and Grove Place in Hampshire are dedicated to helping facilitate a wide array of clubs, activities and classes to get involved in. For example, following a lifetime dedicated to a career, many now have the luxury of time to appreciate the pastimes and hobbies they’ve longed to enjoy, such as turning their hand to baking! The following support services come as standard across all LifeCare Residences’ communities: housekeeping, laundry, room service, maintenance support, domiciliary care allowing retirees to relish a more active old age with fewer chores. Moreover, a dedicated 24-hour concierge service can also take the hassle out of organising daily tasks by helping with dry-cleaning, post, tickets to events, taxis and travel- leaving more time for baking!
In addition, there is evidence to suggest that taking up baking in retirement has numerous health benefits such as reducing stress and aiding relaxation. Baking can be a very calming hobby with movements such as kneading dough, for example shown to reduce levels of anxiety and can help prevent and manage depression. The ageing process has been shown to have a detrimental effect on the appetite with some retirees losing their appetite for certain foods as they age. However, baking can stimulate the senses and help to build up a healthy appetite – whether it be through the smell of delicious fresh bread rising in the oven or through the sensation of icing a cake. Food can also trigger wonderful memories – of a family celebration or treasured memories of cooking with or for loved ones. Many studies have proven that there is a definite connection between creative expression and well-being. The importance of maintaining meaningful engagement with the world around you in later life can’t be underestimated, with creative participation in a pastime like baking being widely considered as the single factor that contributes most to wellbeing. Most baking activities can include some form of decorating which encourages freedom of expression, which in turn calms the mind and improves mood. Those who enjoy cooking and baking are also more likely to enjoy using the freshest and most local ingredients, which also contributes to greater health and well-being. At the heart of Grove Place in Hampshire are the kitchen gardens and orchards where many residents enjoy tending to the fruit and vegetables. This also provides an ideal place for meeting and interacting with others with the satisfaction of digging in and growing nutritious food. The Executive Chef at Grove Place, Jasson Bradley,adds, “I have always enjoyed working with fine, fresh, local ingredients. Having access to homegrown, seasonal and organic produce is fantastic, not only for me but for the residents too. Working closely with Robin Collins, our senior gardener, we aim to have a homegrown ingredient on offer every day. ”For those with dementia, an everyday activity like baking is both stimulating and calming as well as keeping the brain active by using weights and measures etc. Those who enjoy baking are also much more in control of the ingredients used, a case in point being Mrs.Newboult, a resident at Somerleigh Court in Dorchester. She is able to stay on top of her husband’s diabetic condition, who is a taster for all her recipes. She has developed a delicious lemon cake recipe that is sugar, fat, flour and gluten free using eggs, almond flour, lemon and natural sweetener xylitol.
For many, moving to a retirement community involves downsizing, but at LifeCare Residences there is always room to accommodate family in the guest apartments which are ideal for visiting family, including grandchildren. A wonderful way to entertain visiting grandchildren is through baking and it is a fantastic way for grandparents to build bonds, share skills and spend valuable time with their little loved ones. Cooking a dish, or even a whole meal, from scratch with grandchildren offers benefits beyond just the tasty results. It imparts all sorts of important knowledge (about maths, science and basic cooking techniques); it teaches them about good food, it fuels creativity and builds their confidence in and out of the kitchen – it gives them lifetime values. Mrs Newboult of Somerleigh Court loves cooking for, and with, her grandchildren when they come to stay. In fact, her chocolate mousse recipe is so popular that her granddaughter requested a bucket of the delicious chocolate desert. Mrs. Newboult took her at her word and bought a seaside bucket and presented the chocolate mousse in that, which delighted her grandchildren no end!
A love of baking and pleasure in good food is an all-encompassing passion across all LifeCare Residences’ communities; integral to their five-star amenities is the access to delicious and nutritious food. Battersea Place boasts a high-class restaurant as well as a dining room for special occasions. An ever-changing menu can be delivered straight to the residents’ apartments too. Both SomerleighCourt in Dorchester, Dorset and Grove Place in Hampshire pride themselves on sourcing locally produced food. Recently, the team at Battersea Place in London held an open day event on site, the highlight of which was a delicious homemade afternoon tea where all the sweet treats and baked goods were lovingly made in-house, complemented with dainty cucumber and smoked salmon sandwiches. Residents and staff at Grove Place celebrated a recent ‘Freedom from Lockdown’ party with a sumptuous Mad Hatter’s Tea Party. Talented in-house chef, Jasson, produced a wealth of baked delicacies including delicious traditional shortcakes that were stamped with a cute ‘Eat Me’ in reference to the Lewis Caroll story. The residents at Grove Place also recently rolled up their sleeves and got their rolling pins out to bake cakes and sweet treats for a coffee morning on behalf of MacMillan where they raised £451 for the cancer support charity.
If you would like to learn more about LifeCare Residences’ offering and how we can enhance the ‘every day’ please call T. 0800 009 6950 or visit
For those who are unable to visit in person, we are also able to offer virtual tours of our communities at your convenience.