My elderly mother is going on 8 weeks now of needing 24/7 care. I still can't get over how one can go from total independence
to needing help bathing, dressing, walking even. I am convinced more than ever that exercise is a must, even into old age. My mother lost the ability to walk independently and even the ability to chew and swallow easily. Home Health physical therapy has really
helped her regain strength. The speech therapist has helped by assigning exercises that will strengthen her tongue and throat muscles. And the spine doctor had her fitted for a back brace that really relieves the back pain. We have an appointment next week
with a gastro doctor, so I am hoping he will give a lot of answers to the swallowing and other problems she is having as well. My sister and I are seeing improvement in her and are very grateful for that.
Since my husband comes every night for dinner, I try to fix something that will be good for her, yet will feed him and
me as well. The speech therapist recommends we puree her food, not to a liquid, but small enough so that she doesn't have to chew forever in order to get it down. I had asked on The Buzz for suggestions, so I am working my way through those that many of you
made. The first meal I fixed was SLOW COOKER BEEF STROGANOFF I. It was very tender and quite delicious, even if her pureed portion did look like dog food. I had such
a difficult time giving it to her looking like it did. But she very sweetly took the first bite and said, "Mmmm. That's good."
The next meal I made was SLOW
COOKER CHICKEN AND DRESSING along with a baked sweet potato. I knew this would be soft enough to serve "as is" and not have to puree it. I had served it the last time I had stayed with her, but she thoroughly enjoyed having it again.
I made SLOW
COOKER HAM AND SCALLOPED POTATOES along with steamed carrots seasoned with Greek seasoning. While the potato dish tasted good, I didn't like the fact that the sauce separated. Again, it was so tender that all I had to do was mash it with a fork to make
it easy enough for her to swallow.
At this point, I realized that while slow cooker recipes are perfect for my mother because the foods (particularly meats)
come out extremely soft and tender, getting the food IN the slow cooker was almost impossible! My mornings were totally used for her care and home health appointments. I never had any down time until about 2:00. So the next recipe I tried was CHEESY
STUFFED SHELLS. This might have been her favorite. She has trouble eating pasta for some reason, so I just separated the shell for her and let her eat the center filling. She loved the cheesy spinach and ricotta.
In the beginning my mother was eating very little. She just filled up quickly. She needs more calories, so finding a way
to get them in her has been really difficult. She really likes soup at lunchtime, so I finally figured out a way to get some extra calories in. I make chicken salad, ham salad, and egg salad as I always have and then puree them with my immersion blender. They
end up being more like a "spread" than a salad, but the flavor is still the same. So this week I made her favorite CREAM OF PIMIENTO SOUP and served
it along with a small bowl of the spread. She ate every bite!
I'm continuing this blog about my mother mainly because so many of you have expressed that you are caring for elderly
parents, too, and appreciate hearing what I am serving my mother. I would love to hear of your ideas for meals as well. It's hard enough but with so many limitations that my mother has, it becomes quite a challenge to serve meals for her (not spicy, really
really tender meats, able to smush with a fork or puree). Feel free to leave me suggestions for meals. And thanks for stopping by and reading.