If your mom or dad (or a senior close to you) lives alone and is having to cook for themselves, you may be concerned about them getting the proper nutrition they need. The fact is, although their caloric intake can be lower, elderly people critically need the right nutrients to combat heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, anemia, and bone loss, not to mention anxiety and depression.
But cooking for one, particularly for the aging among us, can be challenging It can be more expensive (having to buy bulk packaging, for example, when single servings aren’t available); there are often mobility issues, whether it’s tough getting to and from the market, or having to stand for long periods at the stove; and there can simply be lack of interest when there’s no one else to cook for or share a meal with.
Here are ways you can help:
- If you and your sibling(s) live nearby, work together to create a dinner schedule so that mom has a place to go for dinner on regular weeknights. Look into local programs that host dinners for seniors in their community – like a senior center, or your dad’s church.
- Help dad with a weekly meal plan that includes non-perishable foods, meats/fish you can help him freeze in single portions, and fresh fruit and produce he can buy in small quantities. Or put together some recipes for one or two servings that mom can cook easily and use for leftovers.
- Other than Meals on Wheels there are private companies out there that deliver pre-cooked, healthy meals to seniors. Dinewise and Magic Kitchen are two worth checking out. You also could consider hiring a home health aid to shop for groceries or prepare meals, or having a visiting nurse or dietitian to visit and offer nutritional guidance.
- Or why not give yourself and your parent a break, and look into which local restaurants might offer senior discounts. Dinner out a few nights a month could break up the routine a little, and get your mom out of the house and eating a yummy meal that neither of you has to cook!
If none of these are viable options, you may be at the point to give serious thought to consider senior housing. Aside from serious nutritional concerns, there’s a lot to be said for knowing your parent is being regularly fed healthy meals in a caring and nurturing setting.
Questions? We’re here to help!