ESPECIALLY FOR SENIORS – Meal prep sometimes too much

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Recently, I ran into an old friend at the grocery store. After confirming that the price of everything, especially eggs, is too high, we muttered excuses about cutting our conversation short, promising to get together soon, Neither of us had time to catch up on six months’ worth of news, as we each had an appointment later that day.

Our parting words are a familiar litany for seniors:

How did we manage to run a household, care for children and work a full-time job, before we retired?

When I think back to those days, I also wonder how I found the time to balance a career and be a single parent. The biggest reason is, we were a lot younger and had more energy. A second reason is our health. Before we retired, we didn’t have as many medical appointments. Instead of one doctor to whom we only went when we were sick, we now have regular checkups with a cardiologist, primary care physician and visits to the podiatrist, eye doctor, regular lab visits for X-rays, bone scans and all manner of medical procedures,

For 20 years we had to ferry a youngster to day care or babysitter, take them to T-ball practice, haircuts, dentist and doctor, scout meetings, the library every Wednesday, and they went with us to the laundromat, grocery store and always brook fishing. We also prepared healthy meals every day for years on end, packed lunches and baked hundreds of cookies. In those days, eating well was the cornerstone of good health. Life changes when we reach our senior years.

If you are living alone, it’s so easy to skip a good, well-balanced meal. No matter that we all learned in school about how important the right diet is, when we get older, and our appetite diminishes and we don’t move around as quickly, it’s easy to just make a half sandwich and open a can of soup. We all know an older person for whom this is routine. It just takes so much energy to think about preparing a meal – and sometimes it’s physically challenging, as well.

This may be the time for you to consider Meals on Wheels. Volunteers can deliver meals to you if you are age 60 or older (there are a limited number of spots available for people under age 60 and disabled), primarily home bound (get out with difficulty), unable to regularly prepare meals, live alone and have no help and are able to receive meals during the delivery time frame.

Do you have a short-term need? Sometimes a temporary health problem is all it takes to disrupt the normal cooking routine – just when good nutrition is necessary to heal and recover from surgery or illness. Meals on Wheels can help, even on a short-term basis.

Menus are approved by a Maine registered dietician and food is prepared in USDA inspected kitchens. Each meal meets one-third of the most recent dietary guidelines.

Meals on Wheels volunteers ensure that you, your friend or family member receives a healthy meal on a regular basis, when most needed. There is no income eligibility requirement for Meals on Wheels. A $3.50 per meal donation is recommended in order to keep the program going. No one will be turned away if unable to give at the suggested rate. Find out more by calling 800-400-6325.

I will not hesitate to make use of this great resource when the day comes that I don’t feel like preparing a good meal. For now, cooking (and of course, eating) is one of my favorite things to do.

Kay Soldier welcomes reader ideas for column topics of interest to seniors. She can be reached by email at kso48@aol.com, or write to 114 Tandberg Trail, Windham, ME 04062.

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