Smart Ways to Plan Meals for the Elderly

People in our society are living longer. It can be a blessing as well as a new responsibility for some family members. As people live into their 80’s, 90’s and longer, their children who are in their 50’s or 60’s, often become a caretaker.

As we try to preserve the independence of the elder and keep them in their home longer, so that they do not require a nursing home, more responsibilities will fall to their children.

Having easy to make or prepared foods in the home, makes good sense to do.

For a family of limited financial resources, call philanthropic agencies in your town or county to inquire about a “Meals on Wheels” program. These can often deliver a hot meal, on Monday to Friday of each week, that is completely nutritious. For many people who do not meet the financial criteria, they can pay for the meals to be delivered. As government budgets have been cut, more of these services may have been moved over to the non-profit community. It could require the payment of a small fee; but the convenience and ability for the caregiver to have to worry a little less, is worth it.

Inquire with the agency if there are any special dietary needs. Perhaps the person is a vegetarian or follows a kosher diet due to religious obligations. Often times, they can serve these special needs if they have enough people with the same need. It may be at a small charge.

If there is no public agency that can serve your needs, supermarkets are filled with pre-packaged items that only require a microwave to heat.

Breakfast meals such as pancakes, french toast, waffles can supplement cold cereal for variety. They even have fruits in them so that it is more than just a breakfast of carbohydrates and starches.

Besides the diet conscious companies of LeanLine and Weight Watchers, there are many companies that offer frozen foods in individual portion sizes that only require a microwave to heat. Be careful if the person you are shopping for is on a low salt diet. Many prepackaged foods use salt as a preservative. Look for the companies that provide their products in containers that can go from freezer to microwave to table. This will minimize the clean up as well.

Many supermarkets or specialty grocery stores offer custom made prepared complete meals. These are made daily, and if frozen can still have a reasonably long storage life.

As the caretaker, the more that can be bought & kept frozen in the house the better. That will minimize the shopping to fresh bread, cheese and milk.

As a caregiver, there is nothing better than a ‘home cooked meal’. So when you are making something that you take care of enjoy, make twice as much as you need and bring it to them. They will love the extra thought you put into what you do.