Elders Living Alone – Making Sure They Eat



UPDATE: I’ve made a couple of corrections below, where I mangled Debi’s intent on her suggestions. Sorry about that. Also, an addition at the bottom.


Since my mother is in a skilled nursing facility, I don’t have to worry about meals. But for many adult children of older parents, a big concern is making sure Mom  or Dad is eating enough of the right foods. If you live nearby – close enough to visit at least a couple of times a month – there are steps you can take to help.

The following suggestions come from Debi Boggs (Thanks, Debi!):

While visiting, cook in large batches – enough for a meal and at least two servings of leftovers. Freeze the leftovers in single-serving portions. Use resealable bags if washing dishes is a hardship, or something your older relative just doesn’t want to deal with. You can be extra green in your own home to make up for this.

Pizza “kits” make an easy meal. Buy one or two balls of pizza dough at the store, quarter them, stretch them into pizza rounds, and place each round on a sheet of parchment paper. Each quarter will fit into a gallon-sized resealable bag. Take two small bags for each large, pouring the correct amount of sauce in one and the correct amount of shredded cheese in the other. Place these in the larger bags. With a marker, write assembly and baking instructions on the outside of the gallon bags. These kits will stack easily in the freezer.

Roasted vegetables also freeze well and are easy to microwave.

Make a grocery trip and stock the kitchen with a significant inventory of low-prep or no-prep food items: oatmeal, fruit cups (look for the ones packed in real fruit juice), low-sodium soups, coffee, tea, yogurt with the latest possible expiration date, pre-chopped salad, frozen brown rice, canned vegetables. Of course, fresh is healthier, but canned veggies keep for a long time and are a much better option than going hungry.

Whether Mom or Dad is doing the grocery shopping, or having someone else do it for them, a standard grocery list is a good idea. Print and laminate a list of items they consume on a weekly basis. This way, the list can be carried in a purse and re-used.

For those on a budget, check out Aldi’s if there’s one in your area. They usually have the best prices on plain yogurt, canned goods and oatmeal.

The idea is to make it as easy as possible to get good nutrition.

Anyone else have handy tips? Feel free to share in the comments.

Geekster Eggs

Embracing a case of deliberate amnesia about last year’s Easter egg dying fiasco, I boiled eggs and set up dye cups last night, inviting my teenaged kids to join me. And…it went okay. I would say we had fun, even. They’re both so creative. I love seeing how our traditions take on a new flavor as they become young adults. Once the decorating was done, I looked at the results and dubbed them Geekster Eggs.

Iron Man
Iron Man                                     
Thor's hammer
Thor’s hammer
An Avengers representative set: Captain America, Hawkeye, Thor, Iron Man, Black Widow, Hulk
An Avengers representative set: Captain America, Hawkeye, Thor, Iron Man, Black Widow, Hulk                               
I have a kid who loves music and physics.
I have a kid who loves music and physics.
The other side of the prism egg.
The other side of the prism egg.

Medicaid Eligibility Review

For my mom in today’s mail: “We are required to complete an annual review of eligibility. In order to determine continued eligibility, we are asking you to complete all questions on the enclosed form.”

I glance at the form – “Page 1 of 6.” Okay then. I know how I’m spending my evening.

I know they need to make sure everything is up-to-date and accurate. It’s just…sigh. Can’t they simply ask if anything has changed instead of making me filling out everything from scratch? Again?

Welp, better stop typing on my blog and start filling in boxes on the paperwork.


We Drove Away and Left the Kids



Practicing for our eventual empty nest, Mr. GenBLT and I took our first ever road trip without our kids this past Saturday. So we were only going to a city two hours away, and not staying overnight, and they are now 15 & 18 years old. But still – we left town without them! It felt momentous.

I called my mom to make sure everything was okay with her, threw a few dollars in the direction my children, and then split town, baby. On a date. The mister works loooong hours, and I, of course, have my day job plus the kids and my mom and the house…so we don’t get out much.

The occasion was a Kansas City Royals game. My hometown team. Neither of my children shares my enthusiasm for baseball. They opted to stay behind and go to a movie together instead.

I had a wonderful day. The Royals won in an exciting 4-3 finish, scoring the winning run in the 8th inning. We were additionally entertained by the guy behind us with a Walter Winchell voice, who kept a running commentary going, but was often trying to play catch-up on what happened while he was talking about the previous play. The hubster and I stopped on the way home to have dinner together. Just the two of us, at a restaurant, trying to recall the last time this happened.

My mom’s okay. My kids are okay, and even managed to feed themselves, plus the pets. The house is still standing. No disaster happened due to our adventure. We might have to try something like this again, in another 6 months to a year.