Did you know every May is National Older Americans Month? In fact, National Older Americans Month was established in 1963. This coming month we will take time to honor and celebrate senior adults, and recognize the many ways they contribute to the lives of others.
As the adult child of an Older American, you may ask what you can do to take care of your aging parents. One way adult children of aging parents can give back is to help them meal plan. This core caregiving responsibility ensures nutritious food options and safety in the kitchen, which can be increasingly hard to maintain as you age. Let us share a few tips here that both you and your loved ones can use.
1. Helping out with the shopping. Whether buying food from a grocery store, specialty store, or take-out from a restaurant, food shopping can take a lot of energy for an aging parent. Purchasing and delivering food can be a simple way for an adult child, or even grandchild, to help out. If it is too much based on your schedule right now, however, or if an aging parent lives far away, there may be options available to order food online and have it delivered. Other family members who live closer or have more flexible schedules might also be able to help, as well as local senior care services.
2. Preparing recipes ahead of time. Whether cooking an elder parent’s favorite food or making meals designed to meet their specific health needs, thinking through some tasty ideas ahead of time will almost certainly lead to better results. Make sure to pick healthy recipes with the elder parent’s input. Together, you can develop a meal plan, as well as meals that your loved one will eat.
3. Freeze and Refrigerate. Cooking can be a great way to spend quality time with an aging loved one, but it is also important to prep meals for when family members are not around. Making additional servings and freezing or refrigerating pre-cooked food items sets them up for success when he or she is alone. Ideally, your loved one could take a casserole out of the fridge, for example, put it in a microwave or conventional oven, and eat it when ready. Another tip is to freeze or refrigerate single servings. If you plan to freeze the food you prepare, make sure the senior understands how to prepare the food when it comes out of the freezer.
4. Senior Care Assistance. Unfortunately, most adult family members simply cannot do it all. Be sure to identify areas where you need help in assisting your loved one. Hiring a senior care provider to assist with the food shopping, cooking, and clean-up can be an efficient way to provide healthy meals for an aging loved one and reduce the workload for everyone involved.
This upcoming National Older Americans Month provides a wide range of resources to bolster eldercare items like meal preparation. We encourage you to take this time to determine how you can best support your aging loved ones. Do not wait to contact us and schedule a meeting to get the elder care assistance you need now or in the future.