Growing up in my grandparents' home, family meals weren't reserved for special occasions; they were an every night event. I could count on aunts, uncles and cousins joining us at least a few times a week as well. My grandma was always prepared with an abundance of food; after all, she raised eight children and knew how to cook for a crowd.
Once Grandma was widowed, and the masses once seen around the dinner table had diluted and spread around the country, cooking became a challenge for her. For a woman who was accustomed to doubling or even tripling recipes, preparing a meal for one has definite challenges. In recent years, Grandma's freezer went from always holding treats for the grandkids, to overflowing with leftovers.
As the aging process continued to march on, Grandma's sweet tooth seemed to become more ravenous. I didn't think much of it until she quietly confessed to me that she could no longer smell. She could still taste the sweets, so that's what she craved. Candy became a staple on her grocery list. Then I reminded her of the favorite snack she let me have every night before bed as a little girl. One evening, just before bed, I came over with milk and a box of Lucky Charms. I poured us both a bowl and we talked about my memories growing up in her house. Candy is no longer a staple on her grocery list, our favorite cereal, however is.
It's easy to get busy with work and family and forget to make time for a senior loved one at meal time. It happens to the best of us. When a study by Home Instead Senior Care showed that 44% of seniors who live alone have four or more warning signs of poor nutrition, I was determined not to let my grandmother be a part of that statistic.
Now, my husband and I bring the kids to dinner with Grandma twice a week. While I do most of the cooking these days, it's the time with Grandma in the kitchen that means the most to me—and I think her too. When we gather around the table to eat and share stories and the events of the week, no one even notices that the chicken is a little over-done, or that the rice is a bit sticky. We are all blinded by the fact that we are simply together.
Learn more about the importance of senior nutrition and become aware of the signs that your loved one may need help at http://www.CravingCompanionship.com. Then be sure to schedule some time to share a meal and make memories with a senior in your own life.
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