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Alzheimer’s Patients Don’t Have To Quit Cooking

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Lionel Seim in his kitchen (credit: CBS)

Lionel Seim in his kitchen (credit: CBS)

DENVER (CBS4) – It’s something most people take for granted — cooking up a meal in the kitchen. But for people with Alzheimer’s, cooking becomes increasingly difficult, but not impossible.

“My passion has always been cooking,” Lionel Seim said.

Seim has cooked for 300 people at one time.

“I love Mexican food, ha,” he said.

Seim was diagnosed with early onset of Alzheimer’s at 58. Since then he’s had to make changes in the kitchen.

“There are certain things I’m not allowed into anymore, and that is the knives.”

So Seim has a drawer with tools he can use.

“Spatulas and spoons, and a can opener,” he said. “I can’t use a whole bunch of different tools. I’ve figured out how to use a few of them well.”

He uses a food processor to cut, instead of knives. And he relies on a crock-pot instead of the stove top.

“It limits the ways in which I can make mistakes.”

Mistakes like forgetting to turn off the stove.

“It’s those kind of things I’m trying to protect myself from and protect my family from.”

Seim was recently the guest speaker at the Alzheimer’s Association’s “Eat Well, Live Well” series. He gave other people with Alzheimer’s cooking tips and some crock-pot recipes.

He says Alzheimer’s affects different people in different ways.

“My ability to remember a name, my ability to remember an address — it’s gone.”

The disease forced him to cut short a sales career.

“If you walk in and you don’t remember a name, it’s pretty tough to do a sale.”

But cooking, he remembers.

“Since I was a little kid I enjoy doing it and I enjoy serving people.”

Because cooking is his passion.

CBS4 is a proud sponsor of the Walk to End Alzheimer’s this Saturday at City Park at 9 a.m. Check-in starts at 7 a.m. The money raised will go to Alzheimer’s research as well as special programs. Visit a special section of the Alzheimer’s Association’s website for more information.

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