Having a Successful Summer Barbecue with an Aging Loved One
Senior Care in Millstone NJ
Who doesn’t love a cookout? And this could be the perfect opportunity for the person for whom you’re providing senior care to get together with other family or close friends. How do you make it successful? Here are some tips to make your simpler, less stressful and tastier.
- First and foremost, make sure your loved one is in good enough health to attend a cookout where there will be heat, smoke from the grill, noise, bugs, possibly even small or rambunctious children.
- Ideally, another family member can look after your loved one while you’re cooking or socializing to make guests feel welcome (if a larger gathering). You need to be able to relax and have a good time, giving yourself time to recharge your caregiver batteries.
- Determine what food you are going to provide. If it’s a very small cookout with just your loved one and your family, you may provide everything, but if you’re inviting others, it’s fine to ask them to bring something. Maybe everyone brings whatever they want to eat or drink.
- Avoid foods that are too spicy, fatty or hard to chew. Include comfort foods like macaroni or low-fat cheese.
- Don’t serve your loved one alcohol, and if they do want a drop or too, make sure it is in moderation. Alcohol is dehydrating, which can cause serious health issues, or even death, in someone elderly.
- Backless benches can be difficult for seniors so provide a folding chair or plastic lawn chair for them. If there’s no natural shade in the yard, provide a beach umbrella. Sit them away from the heat and smoke of the grill and away from where kids may be running around or playing. If they have mobility issues or need to use the restroom often, sit them close to the house or public restroom, if at a park.
- If your loved one can’t get around easily, bring others over to them for brief visits. If they have trouble communicating, provide them with headphones and music so they can have fun and not feel obligated to talk.
- Clean the grill’s grate with a crumbled up piece of aluminum foil, then rub it with half an onion to disinfect and add flavor to the food. Clean it in advance of people arriving.
- Cook meat halfway done so it appeals to everyone, unless someone make a specific request. If you’re cooking a turkey, brisket or other larger meat on the grill, cook it halfway in the oven before people arrive to save time on the grill.
- If you must cut some meat off a bone or corn from a cob for your loved one, do it in the kitchen, then bring the plate to them, so they’re not embarrassed in front of others.
- Watch your loved one for signs of restlessness, overheating, or other distress.
- If outdoors, have a back-up plan in the event of inclement weather, like doing it inside a garage or under a tent.