Care of Aging Parents

Parents age quickly -if you look at the last post you can see how much they have aged in a couple of years

My mom and dad have a simple request: they want to stay in their house and live together as long as they are able. With mom becoming blind to where she cannot cook, it is becoming more difficult, and especially as mom has become a bit fragile of late.

That is the difficult part for mom – she is the best cook I know- and I have eaten at some of the finest restaurants in the world, and it isn’t just home cooking, it is her ability to balance food, to season perfectly, to flavor with flare. Even the scrambled eggs I made for them in the photo above – mom chided me that I didn’t cut the fresh chives small enough.

For my dad, eating is an easy thing: he drives to a restaurant, gets some food and brings it home. But for my mom, who is often left at home,  it isn’t always easy. For her, it means the person she is usually with, the one who orients her to the world isn’t there, and sometimes when she’s waking from a deep sleep, not having healthy vision to get oriented, it’s difficult.

But food is a simple thing, and yet it is not. Eating out every day isn’t healthy, it isn’t nutritious, and often doesn’t taste that great. Most restaurants do not cook food made-to-order, they have a lot of pre-packaged and frozen foods that are re-heated. Which means the left-overs you bring home are even less palatable.

When you start looking at assisted living facilities the costs are $10,000 to $15,000 a month – and the food isn’t necessarily any better.

We discovered a unique service that brings people into the home who can do some light cleaning, grocery shopping, and fixing the meals. This means they will be fresh, they will be made-to-order, and they won’t be cold upon delivery. The cost is much less – and there is an added benefit- company. Someone to talk to besides each other. Someone they can call if they need something in a hurry.

People think that when you get older you need a lot of professional health care workers – what I’ve discovered is that you don’t. What you need is someone to help do the simple things, provide simple but delicious meals, and some great conversation. There is a large group of us getting to the age where this is what we need – and I am thankful that there are people who enjoy helping the elderly with this.

 

Dr. Terry Simpson About Dr. Terry Simpson
Dr. Terry Simpson received his undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Chicago where he spent several years in the Kovler Viral Oncology laboratories doing genetic engineering. He found he liked people more than petri dishes, and went to medical school. Dr. Simpson, a weight loss surgeon is an advocate of culinary medicine. The first surgeon to become certified in Culinary Medicine, he believes teaching people to improve their health through their food and in their kitchen. On the other side of the world, he has been a leading advocate of changing health care to make it more "relationship based," and his efforts awarded his team the Malcolm Baldrige award for healthcare in 2011 for the NUKA system of care in Alaska and in 2013 Dr Simpson won the National Indian Health Board Area Impact Award. A frequent contributor to media outlets discussing health related topics and advances in medicine, he is also a proud dad, husband, author, cook, and surgeon “in that order.” For media inquiries, please visit www.terrysimpson.com.

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  1. MonaLisa Swarm says:

    My heart goes out to you and your parents! It’s never easy being in our field and knowing what we know and not being able to fix it. Especially when it comes to our loved ones. I’m glad you found a service that will go into their home and help. I hope they do an excellent job taking care of them! It is never easy for them to give up their independence. It took 3 strokes and dementia for my mother to give up hers. I took care of her here at home for 10 years until she had 2 more strokes and a fall out of her wheelchair as she was getting too weak to do transfers on her own and was trying to do something she knew she wasn’t supposed to before I got home from work, so I could do it for her. Care centers are not always good things for them. When my mom finally had to go to one after the fall and last two strokes, they dropped her and broke her hip She died 5 weeks later. Having been in 3 different care centers in that time period. Care centers that were supposed to help her and not hurt her. No matter how well you check out a care center and no matter what the cost is.. No one should ever just put their parents in a care facility and walk away. You need to make surprise visits and observe and ask questions. Be more vigilant than if they were at home by themselves or with you. Heck I demanded to see her chart and checked her med records, etc and every day would check to see if they had cleaned her up and brushed her teeth and brushed her hair. Things still happened, that should not have! Be ever vigilant in regards to their care! I know YOU will be! Take care!! Best of luck to all of you!! xoxo

  2. Terry Simpson MD says:

    Update: my mom had to go into the hospital again – and this is an issue that we have with elderly that bounce back because the problems are not taken care of by the hospital but passed off to others. A new blog post is coming

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