One of your most important priorities as a family caregiver is making sure that your parent eats a healthy, balanced diet.
This protects their body, boosts their health and quality of life, and helps them to manage any health challenges that they might have. Unfortunately for many elderly adults, getting adequate nutrition can become harder as they get older. Mobility issues, lack of transportation, cognitive functioning decline, and other factors can make it harder for your parent to access and prepare the healthy foods that they need. One way that you can resolve this is by preparing meals for them that they can heat up easily.
If you are like many family caregivers, you are in the sandwich generation. This means that you are caring for your parent but also your children. A busy schedule can make it seem impossible to add preparing these meals into your routine. Preparing them along with the meals that you prepare for your family, however, can make it simpler and more accessible.
Use these tips to prepare meals for your family and your senior to encourage better nutrition for your senior:
Take advantage of meal planning. Taking some time each week to plan out the meals that you will prepare makes your shopping and your preparation simpler. Plan meals that are nutritionally diverse but that might use some overlapping ingredients to simplify both shopping and cooking
Prepare simultaneously. Rather than making one batch of a meal and then another, prepare them simultaneously. If you can, double the recipe. If you cannot do this, simply set up two sets of the same process and go through both at the same time
Divide theirs up. Divide your parent’s batch of the meal into individual portions for storage so that it is easier for your parent to heat each. Additional servings can be kept in the freezer for later eating
Think leftovers. Consider the meals that could be made from the leftovers for your aging parent. Use individual servings of the food you have prepared already to create new meals for greater diversity. For example, if you have prepared spaghetti sauce, use some to prepare an individual serving of lasagna or a pizza on a pita
Partially prepare. If you know that your parent can handle some of the tasks of preparing a meal, allow them to. Assemble a casserole or macaroni and cheese up to the point of baking and then cover it so that they can then bake it themselves. This not only saves you time, but allows your parent to feel more independent
When it comes to helping your senior live their best life, starting home care for them can be one of the best steps that you can take. An in-home senior care services provider can be with your parent when it is right for them and for you to ensure that they get the level of care, support, assistance, and companionship that they need to manage their needs and challenges in the way that are right for them while also ensuring that you remain in control of their care and routine.
This can help your parent to feel more independent and autonomous, offering them more control over their lives and opportunities to be active and engaged in the world around them. Home care helps your parent to stay healthy, safe, and comfortable as they age in place, and reduce your stress by taking on care tasks for you so that you can focus your energy and attention in the most effective and meaningful ways.