Sunday, September 30, 2007

New York Strip and Oncovite!

We ordered the Oncovite vitamins for my Dad. I wish I had done so sooner, but we can only go forward from here. Again, I'm so amazed at Dr. Lamm's generosity of time in answering yet another letter from me! I really hope the vitamins help.
Meanwhile, my husband went grocery shopping this morning and bought my Dad a nice, big, fat, juicy New York Strip steak!!! He loves steak, but my Mom does not, so my husband thought: Why not get a steak for your Dad and your Mom can have something else? DUH! Why hadn't we thought of this before?
He's been very weak and tired and just lacking appetite. I surely hope the steak (and a lemon-meringue pie for dessert) will cheer him up!
I feel so helpless at making them happy. I wish they lived with us, instead of three miles away ... but they were quite adamant about wanting their own house when they moved here two years ago. Who knew these two years would be so full of changes in their health.
Yes, I need to take a breath. One day at a time. Today will be a good day, please God.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Crock-Pot Meals Revisited

A couple of years ago, when my three children were younger, I found the crock pot to be a real lifesaver. I certainly had more energy to chop vegetables, brown meat, etc. in the morning than I did at 4 o'clock in the afternoon. Having that warm, wonderful smell of food cooking filling up the house made me feel like I had someone in the kitchen cooking for me. It was a really great feeling.
Unfortunately for me, the kids really hated every meal I ever prepared (well, that's not entirely true. They did like the enchiladas and spaghetti and meatballs). They didn't like stews or roasts or anything else I could come up with. I even joined a wonderful e-list online: . Everybody had new and interesting dishes to prepare. They were tried and true!
Well, to make a long story short, my parents LOVE crock-pot meals! This has really been a blessing.
You see, they don't eat properly. Sometimes they just seem too tired to think about fixing anything. Even the thought of meal preparation sends them both back to bed. SO, for the past few nights, I've been throwing something into the crock pot in the morning and then bringing it to them for dinner. It's been working wonderfully!
They definitely are of the "comfort food" generation!
Here are a couple of really easy recipes that are no fail.
Chicken with Cream Sauce over Rice
2 frozen, boneless, skinless chicken breasts (still frozen)
1 can cream soup (for example, cream of chicken or cream of mushroom or cream of anything!)
That's it! Don't add anything else. No water, no nothing. Just put the lid on; set the cooker to low and walk away! The chicken will be very tender and easy to eat (especially good for the elderly with chewing difficulties) by about 5 or 6 p.m., if you've put it on by 10 a.m. Cook rice to serve along with this. I usually spoon the creamy sauce over the rice and place a piece of chicken on top. You could serve vegetables or a salad and that's all you need.

Here's another good one I got from the Slowcooker list.
Cola Roast
Potatoes (the red kind do very well)
Onion, if you like
1 small roast (like London Broil, Flank Steak, Chuck Roast, Round Roast, etc)
1 packet of either Lipton Onion Soup mix (dry) or 1 packet of brown gravy mix (dry)
1 12-ounce can of Coca-Cola. That's right. A whole can of Coke. NOT diet!!! Must be regular.

Peel several potatoes (depending on how many people like to eat. I usually peel two a piece) and wash them and place them (whole)on the bottom of the crock pot. Throw in some carrots. My parents especially like the little baby carrots. They come pre-cleaned in a bag in the produce section. I put in quite a few of these on the bottom. Slice the onion in wedges and throw it in. You can add whatever vegetables you and your parents enjoy. Put the roast on top of the vegetables. Sprinkle the gravy packet over top. Pour on one can of regular Coca-Cola. Put the lid on. Turn the pot on low and again, walk away! Before serving, add dissolve two tablespoons of corn starch in a tiny bit of water, then add this to the gravy in the pot. It will thicken in a minute or two. Then serve!

These are just two of many, many simple and easy-to-eat meals that can be prepared. If you're watching sodium, use the low-sodium soups, gravies, etc. You can tailor anything you make to suit your parents' tastes.

It makes me feel so good to see them eat something! My Dad has lost a lot of weight and doesn't seem to take any initiative when it comes to meal preparation. If I put it in front of him; however, he eats!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Samsung Jitterbug is a Huge Hit

WOW! The Samsung Jitterbug is as good as it seems! It's true! My parents have been able to use it! They love the dial-tone feature that lets them know the phone is truly "on" and ready to use. The buttons are really big and are lit up, too. Although it's a bit expensive to begin (as you have to buy the phone for $147), it's already been well worth my peace of mind.
For some reason, they always think of places they want to go about 8 o'clock at night (not 8 in the morning ... not even 2 in the afternoon)! It's always about that time they decide to head out to the pharmacy or Target or the grocery store. It makes me feel so much better when they call me to let me know where they are ... and when they've gotten back home again.
I'll take a picture of their Jitterbug in use soon!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Bathtub Support

My Mom was sure she could never use the extra-deep, luxurious garden tub in the master bathroom of their new home. It was simply too deep! She was certain she'd never be able to climb out if she ever got in ... well, I found the Harriet Carter catalog and this great bathtub support bar
Now, she starts most mornings with a hot, epsom-salts bath. She soaks a long time and it really makes her arthritis aches and pains melt away! She's so glad she has this bar. I double check it to make sure it's still attached securely. Be sure to check it at least once a week. The screws do loosen after awhile.

Commode Helper

This is a great help! My Mom is very thin and frail. She has balance issues. I found the Improvements Catalog and they have the perfect thing!
It's a toilet-seat safety support May sound weird, but believe me, it really works. She tried to steady herself once with the toilet-paper holder and it came out of the wall! (What's worse, she fell!)
Once I put this support around her toilet, she hasn't fallen since. *Sigh
This is so important! She's broken her ribs twice in falls ... and slashed her cheeks twice, too, needing stitches/glue. AAACKK! We just need to keep her from falling!

Diana Dyer's Diet Recommendations

Here is a link to a cancer survivor's diet recommendations. Her website is chock-full of interesting tidbits.
Take a look here

Swimwear for Incontinent Adults

Here's a great-looking resource for adults who would still like to be able to swim or take arthritis fitness classes, but are afraid to do so because of possible "accidents."
Take a look at this swim diaper
There are others on the market, as well. Here are a few more links.
The Netti Combo
and Discovery Trekking Outfitters has one, too.

We've not tried any of these yet, but if you have and have any comments, I'd love to hear them.

User-Friendly Cell Phone

Take a look at the Samsung Jitterbug
After another "evening of terror" when I couldn't find my parents out there ... I convinced them to purchase this cell phone.

It hasn't arrived yet, but after we've tried it out thoroughly, I'll post our findings! It's got to be better than the small cell phone they have right now. Unfortunately, too many cell phones, newer, shinier, smaller, etc., don't cut it for the elderly!

Let's take the cell phone they have right now. It's small. The screen fades to black very quickly as a battery-saving feature; however, they always think it's turned off when this happens. Most cell phones do not feature a dial tone. You simply punch in your numbers and hit "send" or "call" or whatever key word that particular style phone has. The other ill-planned feature of their current phone is the fact that the small red handle icon means: TURN ON, HANG UP FROM CALL and TURN OFF depending on when and for how long you depress it. This has been very confusing. They've often turned off the phone when only meaning to hang up, thereby not allowing any future calls to get through. YIKES!

I can't tell you how many times I've said to my son, "Get your shoes on quickly! We have to go find Grandma and Grandpa!"
"AGAIN?" He'll usually ask as he's tying up his shoes as fast as he can.

Hopefully, the Jitterbug will put an end to the lack of communication!