The goal of Aging Parents Management is to help make you better prepared and aware for this stage in your parent's life. You have your own family to worry about, but now there is the added responsibility of worrying about your Parent who may be living on their own. Which brings up the question, what is Mom or Dad going to about mealtime?
The are two major concerns when it comes to mealtime - Safety and Logistics. It is important at any age to have a safe cooking environment and now even more. Secondly, how do we make sure that our parents are eating enough and have a way of getting groceries? All of this is much easier to manage while our parents are still in good health. They will be more eager to prepare their own meals and able to visit the grocery store. But what happens when this all becomes too much for them? Moreover, how will you know when it does?
It is important to keep a look out for signs. Over time, you will notice signs that your parents may need help with this task. Are they eating properly or are they eating at all! Here are some things to watch for: are there dishes in the sink or dishwasher, is there food in the fridge, are there any containers in the trash, and are items in the pantry being consumed? All of this will tell you that they may be struggling with mealtimes.
One step you can take is to talk to their primary healthcare provider. It is important that your parent is receiving proper nutrition. Many medications react to the foods we eat or do not eat. There may be adverse affects if your parent is not eating enough or the wrong types of foods.
There are other things that you can do to help manage Mealtime challenges:
Many factors fall under this topic from food preparation to getting around in the kitchen. Some of the biggest fears while cooking are: forgetting to turn off the stove, leaving something on it, or dozing off. Here are some ways to go about it:
Appropriate Utensils and cookware- Having the right tools to complete a task can make all the difference in the world. While your parents still enjoy making their own meals, make sure they have what they need to do it, such as knives with sturdy handles, light weight cookware, etc.
Use a microwave - Thanks to the microwave, there is a wider and better selection of prepared frozen dinners. It is easy to use and it is a great appliance for someone with mobility issues.
Toaster ovens - If your parent likes using an oven, toaster ovens with a time are an alternative. They work well for single portions and have the benefit of a timer.
Portable Induction Cooktops - Portable cooktops, as the one seen on TV, are a great appliance. It comes with a timer, an auto shut off feature plus It only gets hot when there is a pot or pan on it. Click here for more information about this product.
There are different levels of logistical related challenges; supply and transportation. They will range from grocery shopping to coordinating ready made meal deliveries. Thankfully, there are many options available to help with all of this:
Online Grocery Services
Purchasing groceries online has been around for several years now. Some grocery chains have perfected it to offer a delivery serivce, in addition to, a grocery pick up service. In the Philadelphia region, Giant Food Store has the Peapod where you can use your coupons and bonus cards to get the best deals. Its easy to use, place place your order online, select a delivery time or pick up time. if your parents are comfortable with Online purchasing, this is something that they can do own their own or with the help of their Home Care Aide. The best part about this is it provides the Care Manager an easy and convenient way to coordinate grocery deliveries.
Meal preparation requires time which many of us do not have. Fortunately, companies such as Blue Apron and balance by bistromd, have websites where you are able to choose from a wide variety of pre- packed meal kits. The kits include all of the ingredients and an easy to follow recipes. These online service usually require monthly commitments. Your parents will make the purchases online if they have computer or with help from the Care Manager. SCHWAN'S is another option offering frozen prepared meals which can be ordered online or through a catalog.
Take Out Delivery Services
Ready made meal delivery service is a growing industry. There are so many options available today. UBEREATS makes food delivery service just a click away. SLICE and GRUBHUB are other APPs where food is ordered online from local pizza shops.
Meals on Wheels
Meals on Wheels is a meal delivery service that is subsided by the government. It is a program offered by your local department of Area Agencies on Aging. The recipient pays between $7-$12 per day for 3 meals. The price is determined on their income and requires a application. The meal is delivered once a day that includes: a breakfast item - oatmeal, cereal, coffee, a lunch item- sandwich, and a soup for dinner.
Home Made Meals
Let's face it. There is nothing like a home cooked meal which is what most Care Managers end up doing. But what do you do when you have to prepare dinners for both your household and your parents? Since we cannot be in two places at once, the best option is to pack up and freeze your homemade meals. Once a month, dedicate a single day to do all of the grocery shopping and cooking. The meals can be frozen in portion size containers that can be easily warmed up by your parents in a microwave. This could also be an opportunity for some quality time with your parents by doing the grocery shopping and cooking at your parents home. By using their kitchen, you will not have to deal with transporting it all and making a mess in your kitchen.
"Looking back, had we known about business like Home Helpers, we would have hired them to help our Mom."
Visit our Marketplace to find businesses and professional services who are ready to help you on this Journey with your aging parents.
Join our Online Community so you won't have to go through this process alone and if you need more help.