Having a family meal has been proven to help families thrive. This time together builds bonds, provides a safe place, and helps family members eat healthier. September is National Family Meals month, an event to serve as a reminder of how important even sharing just one meal a week can build up those family ties. Shared meals can improve the quality of life for seniors and their families.
So, as September is here, why not take a bit of time to discover how you can have family meals with your aging loved one? Even if she doesn’t live in your home, if your aging loved one lives close enough for a short drive, you can begin to incorporate a family meal night once a week. Here are some tips to get started.
- Pick a day. It’s usually easiest to pick a day of the week and stick to it. For many families, this is a Friday or Sunday night, but the important thing is to pick a day of the week when everyone’s schedule is generally free. Your aging loved one may not have a lot of evening activities on her schedule but making sure other family members are also free is important to connect those generations together regularly.
- Pick a place. You can choose one place or rotate places. If you have a lot of adults in your family, each person may want it at their place on a rotating basis. If your aging loved ones live on their own, they might even want to try it at their home occasionally. To make sure that’s not too overwhelming, alerting their home care assistance team when a family meal is coming up can help them prepare. Their home care assistance provider can help shop for the meal and do the prep. If your loved ones are especially close to their home care assistance provider, they may even want to invite them.
- Plan the meals. What works best for your family is the best way to go. Does your family want this to be a more formal meal with all of the accouterments and fine china? Or would they prefer a more casual meal made up of comfort food and game playing? Maybe you have an adventurous family, who would like each meal to represent another part of the world in food choices as well as fun facts to learn about other cultures and locations in the world. Whatever you choose, if your family loves the concept, you’re more likely to continue it consistently as family members look forward to family meal nights.
- Plan the cleanup. Don’t always leave all the cleaning to one person. With your elderly loved ones, their home care assistance team can help with cleaning up but also, if you’re the one providing family meal night, you should enlist help from someone else with cleaning up after so it doesn’t become too overwhelming.
Family meals are a wonderful way to keep your elderly loved ones connected to their family. Why not start this September as a way to celebrate family meal month?