Meal preparation is one challenge shared by many elderly people still living in their own homes and relying on in home nursing care assistance. As people's physical abilities decline, they often gravitate towards less healthy food options because they are faster and easier to cook. However, in order to maintain optimal health, this is never the best path to take.
If your parent is living at home and yet doesn't seem to be getting the best nutrition because of their lack of ability to cook or limited cooking skills of their caregivers, then there are many things you can do to improve the situation, including:
Make Extra When You Cook Meals for Your Family
If your parent likes the same foods you cook at home for your family, then you can save a lot of food preparation time by cooking extra and stocking up their freezer when you visit. For example, if you baked a large pan of lasagna tonight for dinner, then portion up some of it and freeze it in individual microwavable containers. Next time you visit your parent, you can bring along some home cooked nutritious foods that can be easily heated and served by any caregiver.
Tip: Use a Daily Menu You and Your Parent Have Created
When you visit your parent, take some time to sit down and write up a tentative menu for the next week. Just as a written budget gives you a roadmap for how you will spend your money, a written menu will give you a list for grocery shopping and will make everyone's life easier. While your parent's menu isn't set in stone and they can easily change their mind about what they feel like eating, the menu will make grocery shopping and food preparation times shorter and easier for caregivers.
Tip: Talk with Caregivers and Home Health Aides About Food Preparation and Cooking
Finally, it is important to note that each of your parent's caregivers has their own cooking and food preparation habits and skills. You can tap into their knowledge and skills by sitting down and asking them what they like to cook. For example, if the caregiver is from a traditional Italian family, then they may make an award-winning pasta. Find foods the caregiver likes to cook and that your parent likes to eat, and you can easily fill up some meal slots on your menu that will be a hit with everyone.