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Old 06-30-2016, 09:52 PM   #1
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ISO senior-friendly main dishes

I have been in MN a month. My mom had a stroke in January and also suffers from dementia. I have been preparing meals that she can eat with her fingers (much to my Dad's dismay--I just tell him to pretend we are in Ethiopia). I've done kabobs, chicken fingers, fish sticks, Reuben sandwiches, a whole bunch of different wraps, burgers, brats, tacos, cheese, crackers, fruit, and leftover chicken/roast beef for afternoon snack, and breakfast wraps. I'm running out of ideas...I've recycled tacos three times so far. I have a limited pantry in that my Dad does the shopping (I flew--no car, he is reluctant to buy things I want because they are "too expensive" grrrr.). Ideas anyone???? The wraps work well because she can hold those and feed herself. The chicken fingers and fish sticks (walleye) were a hit. I would prefer not to make stuff that she can't (a) pick up with her fingers or (b) eat with a spoon (she can manage that, the fork is sometimes tricky). I was thinking of doing some "appetizer" size calazones, baby pizza (she does like pizza), ravioli. I'm getting tired of making potato salad. The other thing, is I try to make everything count calorie-wise and nutrition-wise. I make her a milkshake a few times a week with blueberries, ice cream, Ensure, and a bit of coconut milk. I also make her a fruit smoothie a couple of times a week. I haven't done meatballs, yet. I figure I could do "cocktail" meatballs she could eat off a toothpick. She did great with the cherries I bought. Pulled the stems off and spit out the stones. So I think she could handle the toothpicks.
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Old 06-30-2016, 10:04 PM   #2
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Not sure if this fits into the budget but how about shrimp or scallops?
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Old 06-30-2016, 11:14 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CWS4322 View Post
I have been in MN a month. My mom had a stroke in January and also suffers from dementia. I have been preparing meals that she can eat with her fingers (much to my Dad's dismay--I just tell him to pretend we are in Ethiopia). I've done kabobs, chicken fingers, fish sticks, Reuben sandwiches, a whole bunch of different wraps, burgers, brats, tacos, cheese, crackers, fruit, and leftover chicken/roast beef for afternoon snack, and breakfast wraps. I'm running out of ideas...I've recycled tacos three times so far. I have a limited pantry in that my Dad does the shopping (I flew--no car, he is reluctant to buy things I want because they are "too expensive" grrrr.). Ideas anyone???? The wraps work well because she can hold those and feed herself. The chicken fingers and fish sticks (walleye) were a hit. I would prefer not to make stuff that she can't (a) pick up with her fingers or (b) eat with a spoon (she can manage that, the fork is sometimes tricky). I was thinking of doing some "appetizer" size calazones, baby pizza (she does like pizza), ravioli. I'm getting tired of making potato salad. The other thing, is I try to make everything count calorie-wise and nutrition-wise. I make her a milkshake a few times a week with blueberries, ice cream, Ensure, and a bit of coconut milk. I also make her a fruit smoothie a couple of times a week. I haven't done meatballs, yet. I figure I could do "cocktail" meatballs she could eat off a toothpick. She did great with the cherries I bought. Pulled the stems off and spit out the stones. So I think she could handle the toothpicks.
I'm so sorry you're going through this with your parents, CWS. I went through the same thing with my parents not long ago. I went through menu after menu, wracked my brain to no end to make all kinds of things that they'd like, (or used to like), taking into account ease of eating, finances, and keeping nutritional benefits in mind. There comes a time when you just have to let go and give them what they like and can easily eat without much stress - even if it's a peanut butter sandwich on whole wheat, or scrambled eggs in a tortilla.

I'm just going by what I went through, and what a long time and well respected family doctor recommended to me to help keep the stress down for everyone, including the one preparing the meals, which is you. I mean this in the best way, I hope you don't take offense to it. Hugs.
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Old 06-30-2016, 11:41 PM   #4
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ISO senior-friendly main dishes

So sorry, CWS. :hugs: I'm thinking "egg McMuffins" with a slice of Canadian bacon, an egg cooked in a ring, toasted English muffins, and presliced Kraft cheese, then frozen. Your dad would just have to nuke one for a minute.
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Old 07-01-2016, 12:46 AM   #5
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CWS, that's a tricky wicket you got there for sure.
Having gone through Alzheimer with my MIL and my own Mom, well, you know...

What about mini fritattas made in mini muffin tins that can be frozen and reheated in the micro for ease on Dad...
Cocktail wieners of any sort in anyway that they both will eat...
Mini quiches, again frozen and reheated later
Mini bagel sandwiches
My personal fav is chicken nuggets with different dippers
Mini sweet peppers stuffed with lovely goodies, crab salad, ground meats, cream cheese and diced veg, shrimp salad, the list goes on...
Stuffed mini zucchini
Arepas, Samosas, basically filled dumpings with a nice sauce for dipping
Maki sushi, we love vegetarian, ya know, carrots, cucumbers, etc, or heh a California roll, Philly Roll ...
Sliders of all manner, pulled pork, chicken, brisket, the skies the limit on that one, my fav is Kalua Pork on Hawaiian Sweet Rolls, ONO!
Veggie dippers with hummus or guacamole, MMM!

Now, let's talk about foods that are spoon worthy...
In Hawaii, we eat just about EVERYTHING with a spoon so...
Edamame spiced up a notch with garlic, sesame oil or whatever they like
Lentil Stew, nice and thick, loaded with veg and some Italian Sausage
Orzo Pasta Salad, once again LOADED
Speaking of loaded, a well loaded smashed potato, full of vitamins and minerals, with say a mild chili con carne, cheese, maybe some corn chips to spark Mom's interest

When ever I think about feeding elders, I like what would a kid want to eat.
Not to fancy or exotic
and a nice smell and eye appeal,
my head spins with TONS of ideas

btw, CWS, I would love to touch base with you, please PM me or you can email me as well
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Old 07-01-2016, 02:02 AM   #6
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CWS, I have nothing to add to the food list, since everyone before me has far better suggestions than I could ever give. However, I just want to let you know I'll keep you and your folks in my thoughts and prayers. Bless you for doing your mercy work in taking such good care of your folks in their time of need. I'm not sure I would have been a strong enough person to have done the same had my situation been like yours. Hugs and good thoughts to you.
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Old 07-01-2016, 02:55 AM   #7
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Nix on using toothpicks. With dementia she could easily forget what they are and try to eat it. Let her use her fingers for the mini meatballs.

Have you considered a lettuce wrap? One more layer of nutrition.

As their illness progresses, they will often forget how to use eating utensils. So finger foods are a lot easier for them. Chewing raw veggies can often be difficult for them if they wear dentures or their dentures no longer fit properly. So every thing should be cooked. Make the pieces big enough for them to handle. Arthritic hands make it difficult to hold small items.

Keep a supply of hard boiled eggs on hand for a quick snack for her. You know that tray of cut up raw veggies you bring to a party with the dip in the middle? Well, make one for Mom. Only cook the veggies for her and provide her with a dip for them. Are there any veggies your husband can send from the farm? It would help cut down on the cost. Or is there a border problem in doing that.

Cut up fruits such as melon, cantelope, etc. Even bananas. I know fresh fruits and veggies can be expensive, so you may want to go with frozen ones.

They both should be eligible for food stamps. As her caregiver, you can apply yourself on their behalf. Owning their own home and a car are no longer a considered asset. But the cost of any medications for both of them are taken into consideration.

While taking care of Mom, don't forget to take care of yourself.
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Old 07-01-2016, 05:38 AM   #8
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French toast sticks, sausage links and a side of syrup for dipping.
Grilled cheese
Deviled eggs
ACS
Pudding/egg custard

Try cutting a conventional pizza in half and cutting one half into sticks for your mom, the other half into wedges for your dad or go with the school lunch lady pizza burgers on half of a hamburger roll or English muffin.

Google a few assisted living facilities, meals on wheels, senior citizen nutrition sites, etc..., look at the monthly menus they post for some ideas

I would not be too concerned about coming up with a constant stream of new ideas, stick with things they enjoy. Your parents will take comfort in the routine even if it bores you to tears

Good luck!
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Old 07-01-2016, 01:41 PM   #9
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Off the top of my head, I only had two ideas, and addie mentioned one. Hard cooked eggs. The other is peanut better or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Being a former supervisor of a nursing home kitchen I had some ideas for spoon and fork meals, if you want them.
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Old 07-01-2016, 04:49 PM   #10
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Soup served in a cup. The only other thought is a wet towel for washing hands when things get messy. You are doing a fantastic job, CWS!
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