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with Dignity Even When it Seems Impossible! /
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Dining with Dignity Even When it
By Jo-Anne S. Kelly
The phone is ringing off the hook
while you, the caregiver, have your hands full: tying
the bib around Dad's neck; stirring the pot on the
stove; wiping the tears from your toddler's cheeks while
trying to bandage his skinned knee. You grab a quick
snack of candy. Meanwhile, Dad is sagging in his chair,
hungry, angry and perhaps, unaware of the turmoil
surrounding him. As you attempt to feed him, Dad grabs
the spoon and spills the pureed baby food all over
himself and onto the floor.
Anyone who is a caregiver could easily see herself in
this picture. How can you ensure that Dad and the rest
of the family get the proper nutrition they need, while
simplifying your life at the same time?
Food is more than just something to eat. Of course, most
of us eat for pleasure and enjoyment, even Dad, bib and
all. Food is love, security, and comfort. Food carries
with it positive (happy times, holidays, hospitality)
and negative (pureed food is for babies not older
persons) associations. Other considerations include
religious, ethnic and cultural habits. Convenience,
availability and cost are important too. It is said, "We
eat with our eyes," so appearance and aroma are
important. Let's not forget nutritional value! Sometimes
a diet is modified for medical reasons such as low fat,
high fiber or a tube feeding of a special formula. These
modifications may impact negatively on the dining
experience. Consider for a moment the person who must
eat pureed foods.
Pureeing foods at home can be fraught with problems.
Proper texture is difficult to determine and doesn't
always turn out right. Contamination can be a serious
problem. Are your hands really clean? Are all
preparation surfaces (including the blender) bacteria
free? Food is handled several times. Did you keep hot
foods hot and cold foods cold? Was the final appearance
of the product visually appealing? If not, you may want
to inquire about the new frozen, molded, pureed products
on the market. These items offer a consistent
consistency, are safe, delicious, and have great aroma
and eye appeal. They are timesaving, convenient, and may
be heated on demand. Because the items are flash frozen,
nutritional value is preserved. Best of all, the food
looks like “real food," not baby food.
What about when friends and family ask, “Is there
anything I can do?”
1) Come for dinner Wednesday night...BRING DINNER.
2) Make us a pot of homemade soup (low salt, no cream,
3) Check with me before you go to the grocery store so I
can add a few items.
4) Give the gift of home-delivered meals.
5) If you go out to eat, bring me a "people" bag.
6) Give a gift basket of staples such as tuna, peanut
butter, pasta and sauces, cheese and crackers, dried
fruit, herbal teas, bottled sparkling water.
7) Give gift certificates from local grocery store.
8) Take the kids out for an afternoon snack or early
9) Come "sit" while I go out for lunch.