Our elderly loved ones sometimes find it difficult to cook home-made meals. So they unfortunately often resort to takeout, fast foods and unhealthy snacks. Senior citizens are especially sensitive to highly-processed food, but luckily, we have come up with ways you can help them enjoy a cooked meal every day.
A good way to make cooking more enjoyable for an elderly person is to help them with the dishes after you are done eating. A lot of senior citizens find it difficult to stand slouched over the sink for a longer period of time, so they avoid cooking altogether. You can even keep them company in the kitchen and listen to their stories, and make washing up a fun little ritual you can do together and bond over. Even when you are in a hurry and do not have time for chit chat, your loved one will appreciate all the help they can get.
Prep ingredients in advance
Prep work is something that even a Michelin star chef detests, so have some sympathy for your elders. Cutting, washing, peeling, dicing and slicing may be even more difficult and time-consuming if your loved one suffers from arthritis or poor eyesight. It would be very helpful if all the prep work is done in advance, and you can help them with it. Peel and slice vegetables, put them in a Tupperware and store them in the fridge.
The elderly often avoid eating fruits that require a bit of work, like pineapple or watermelon, and they miss out on all the important nutrients. Help them out by destoning, peeling, slicing the more difficult fruits, so that they are more easily accessible to your loved one.
Get them excited
Another thing that might put off your senior loved ones is probably the fact that they see no point in cooking just for themselves, especially if they live alone. Well, you can help by stopping by from time to time, making dinner together, and sharing the meal. You can even make theme nights, like Taco Tuesday, or BBQ on Sundays and call their friends and family to join you. Get them excited about meal time and spending time together. You can make bigger batches and freeze portions, so they have a cooked meal at least for a few days. And you will see their attitude change for the better.
Order delivery from restaurants
Sometimes life gets busy and we as caregivers simply do not have time to cook. This does not mean that you have to resort to ordering fast food. There are chef prepared food delivery services that deliver meals from your favorite restaurant, ensuring that you and your loved one can eat freshly made gourmet meals every day. You can even schedule weekly deliveries, and that will make your life a little easier, if you know that you will not be able to cook at home on certain days. And the best part? No washing up afterwards.
Stock up on healthy snacks
It is important to always keep an eye out for foods that could harm your loved one, especially if they have a medical condition. They can sometimes even misread the label or not even be aware that they are not supposed to eat that product. Diabetics have a hard time avoiding sugary foods, especially when the cravings kick in, or seniors with high blood pressure that are still eating snacks loaded with sodium.
You can make sure that they have enough healthy snacks stocked up, that provide them with beneficial nutrients, without all the harmful ingredients that are health risks. Once they see that these healthy snacks make them feel better, give them energy and help digestion, they will automatically prefer them over highly-processed foods.
Use your freezer
Sometimes even with all your hard work, fresh food can spoil. Seniors often have a hard time noticing when food goes off, since their sense of taste and smell is altered, especially if they are on medication. In this case, the freezer is your best friend. If you are unsure whether the prepped food will keep, you can always put it in the freezer, and use it frozen while cooking. Trust us, the freezer is your best friend, especially in summer.
It does not take much to assist our elders with their daily chores, particularly when making sure they eat a freshly cooked meal every day. We should all be highly aware of their particular needs and abilities, and help accordingly. Assist them with the clean-up, do all the prep work that might be too difficult for them, and make sure they have the ingredients they need. All it takes is a little effort and good company.
About the author: Robert Clayton is a seasoned and experienced freelance blogger, copywriter, and editor. His interests and passions include home decor, DIY, family life, and sustainable living. He also travels a lot, enjoys good food and music, and loves to spend time at the beach.