Autumn Ideas to Energize Aging Parents– A Focus on the 5 Senses:Taste

How often do we indulge ourselves with something that appeals to our taste buds when we’re feeling down? It brings a temporary lift and energizes us, doesn’t it?

Tasty food seems to temper the unpleasant and boost our energy. For example, I always tried to have coffee, tea and really good goodies available when I ran parent groups for parents of high school students who had problems. Members seemed to come together more eagerly–and never miss a meeting–to address serious problems. After a few meetings, parents volunteered to bring the goodies. Is it a stretch to say they sweetened the atmosphere to deal with difficult issues?

Can satisfying the sense of taste, by providing aging parents’ favorite foods, help lift parents out of the autumn doldrums ?
–it certainly can’t hurt.

While we concentrate on living-alone older parents and friends who don’t like autumn/fall and the months that follow, I’m guessing that older parents who still have their spouse, tolerate autumn doldrums better than those living alone.  Of course the goal is the same for all: lift spirits and energize by pleasing the senses–in this case, taste.

Assisted Living and Rehab Facilities

I know of no-one in assisted living or in a rehab facility who loves the food, although I believe it’s nutritious and well-balanced. So bringing in favorite food(s) should provide a “lift.”

Had Dad ever been in assisted living, I would have taken him (weekly) a corned beef sandwich on rye on one occasion and New England clam chowder on another, and I would have asked him for additional requests. I probably would have asked a family member to coordinate with me and bring another kind of soup–or even stew– on a different day. The latter microwave easily and can last for several meals.  OK…’nuff said.

When a parent lives alone being aware of nutrition and healthy diet may help dictate the selection of favorite foods. As noted elsewhere, Mother sipped water; didn’t drink enough–so I bought flavored water, which she really liked. It was easy to leave her with a dozen bottles of her favorite flavors.

She also loved sweets, but diabetes was an issue, so I carefully selected as many flavors of no-sugar ice cream as I could find and she chose her favorites which I kept replenished  for her. I never blended slurpees for her, but probably should have. She loved and could eat fruit and–from what I can tell–stevia is an OK sweetener to add to the blend.

We know our parents favorite foods. If we’re creative we can provide them in different ways.  For example, a friend, whose wife is very ill, apprised her favorite restaurant of the situation, and–on occasion–brought “carry-out” of her favorite main course (even though the restaurant doesn’t have “carry out”). Why? Is it because people in the food business realize how much something that tastes good can energize and raises spirits?

Whether it’s apple cider, flavored water, slurpees, soup, stew, sweets or a prepared meal, bringing aging parents an edible favorite should provide a “lift”–pleasing one of the senses: taste. Certainly worth a try when the days become shorter and darker.

–Until Saturday with ideas for the remaining 4 senses……

Check out “Newsworthy” (right sidebar). Links to timely information and research from top universities and respected professionals, plus practical information–to help parents age well.

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