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Mar 1, 2010 10:55 AM

Elder Food


I am trying to think of things to make for an elderly friend with some coordination issues.

Any ideas on foods that are easy to eat and nutritious?

Thanks for the assist.


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  1. I was sorry this thread didn't get more action but perhaps you can get a couple of ideas

    I'm making stuffed jumbo pasta shells to take to her tomorrow. I'm putting Hazan's tomato sauce with onion and butter on the top.

    My MIL had a minor stroke and is actually doing quite well but the knife isn't her favorite implement :) So I lean towards things that either need no cutting or where she can just use the edge of her fork.

    Can't remember if I mentioned this in my reply, but I've been putting things in ovenproof containers (she won't us a MW). I put foil on the top and tape reheating instructions on them.

    1 Reply
    1. re: c oliver

      Good comment C.Oliver - My parents still believe in the radiation from the micro.

      Mom loves mashed potatoes and she has tremors. She'll eat them with no problem. Dad loves meat and sweets and he has diabetes. I'll make lo-fat meat, ground turkey, chicken,etc. and a fruit smoothie.

      It's a challenge - I'll find a common ground, but neither will eat what hasn't been approved beforehand. I can't just pull out "This is what's for dinner" and get an acceptance.

    2. any aversion to finger foods? chewing issues? dietary restrictions?

      3 Replies
      1. re: hill food

        Mostly hard time using a utensil very well. Lot of spillage.

        1. re: ers_jean

          When MIL was in rehab, she got her soup in a mug. Even a stew could be served that way. She could get the mug closer to her mouth than with a bowl probably.

          I like the idea of finger food. Chicken fingers? You could make ahead and she could reheat.

          1. re: ers_jean

            frozen spanakopita can be found in a sort of tartlet preparation at Trader Joe's and Costco. Vietnamese fresh spring rolls are really easy and healthy once you get the knack of how long to soak the rice paper. empanadas are easy to find in your general area. Yakitori or any of the grilled-on-a-stick family. sushi is considered hand food in Japan and if you have the bamboo mat is actually easy after a few tries (Nori on the outside variety). and even Miss Manners says asparagus can be eaten with the fingers.

        2. What is the nature of his/her difficulty? I'd think that the issues that one faced with a significant tremor would be different that someone with arthritis. For instance, someone with a tremor might have a hard time eating soup from a spoon but would have an easier time with something that could be speared securely on a fork. Vice versa with someone who might have generalized weakness.

          Very kind of you to consider the abilities of your friend! Super double bonus karma points to you.

          1. I have a friend with very serious Parkinson's Disease and his shaking is quite severe. Meals are a challenge but I've found a couple of helpful ideas:
            Eliminate ANYTHING requiring cutting with a knife, spaghetti is "out", rotini etc are "in"
            Thick soups are better than thin and using a wide-based mug is best
            Make the flavor zing, there's enough bland stuff available
            Non-drippy finger foods work well, he loves deviled eggs and 1" pieces of cold chicken
            Use a large bowl spoon and smal (salad) fork when utensils are required
            If serving salad, make the pieces small and use a binding (thick) dressing
            Chili is a particular favorite, red or white, with lots of grated cheese
            He loves lemon bars or lemon meringue pie pieces
            Meatloaf and scalloped or mashed potatoes work well, peas = not so much
            Pudding has been successful

            If your friend is eating with others, in a social setting, try to steer attention away from the person with difficulty and make no mention of the special requirements or lengths to which you've gone. We almost had WWIII here the night a kindly neighbor offered to cut his meat. It's demeaning for an adult to be treated like a child and my friend was mortified by what was, in truth, simply a kind-hearted offer. From that day forward, I made certain that everything was as user-friendly as possible. Yes, it is difficult to overlook the elephant in the dining room but the benefits far outweigh the added work.

            1. My mom is starting to have problems getting food to her mouth with utensils but she has no trouble eating burritos, schwerma that literally go from hand to mouth.

              1 Reply
              1. re: chocolatetartguy

                Let me add croque monsieur, ham and cheese sandwich dipped in egg and fried in butter. They hang together better than the average sandwich. My mother loved them. She also loved baked open face sandwiches served in a individual crock like the famous Hot Browns of Kentucky Derby fame. Welch rabbit or Staufer's chipped cream beef on toast points work well in a crock and bacon is finger food!