Sometimes, slight variations in your activities can make them more productive. Nowhere is this truer than when you are helping out an elderly relative. They might require that things are done just a bit differently than you would naturally do things. Some of these things might be deliberate, others might be so subtle that they are unaware of their particular quirks. Here’s a few tips that might help things run just a bit more smoothly at mealtimes. Having some tricks up your sleeve can help make meals fun and more enjoyable for everyone involved.
Try making meals an important priority. So often do we rush through meals and thus pay little attention to them. My grandmother is a prime example of this. She will often forget to eat just because it isn’t convenient for her to get up. One strategy that my family has tried is to make meals stand out. Dressing up and looking presentable is mandatory for one meal once or twice a week. This puts an obligation in your loved one’s lap and forces them to get dressed, even if they don’t want to right away. Usually, these become the most enjoyable meals of the week and eventually your relative will begin to look forward to their fancy meal. Schedule these ahead of time in order to have the most impact upon your loved one.
Other, less formal, methods of motivation also work. Sticking with the eating theme, some people have reported success by having a virtual meal with their elderly loved one. If you are away at work, you can call your parent or other relative and encourage them to eat while you are on the phone together. This might sound silly, but it can work. Having company to eat with is always more enjoyable than eating alone. If your family member is a bit more technological, you can even have a video chat with them over the computer while you eat together. This is something that they will look forward to in the middle of every day, especially if they skip meals because they have no one to eat with.
Another method is to pay your parent to eat with you. That’s right, a small bribe might work. This doesn’t need to be a lot by any means, just a dime or a quarter each meal will be an amusing way for them to eat their meal. This might sound silly, but it works. Encourage your loved one to save their mealtime reward coins in a jar and buy something indulgent for themselves. If they save for long enough they can get something that they might otherwise have never bought for themselves. This will be sure to make them happy to eat with you on a more regular basis.
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