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Ways to Stay Engaged: Turn Senior Recipes into a Cherished Cookbook

As of the beginning of this month, Montgomery, Delaware, Bucks and Philadelphia counties entered the slightly less restrictive yellow phase of COVID-19 prevention. As we slowly “open up,” it’s important to remember that our senior population is still at a higher risk of contracting the highly contagious coronavirus. Staying home is one surefire way to reduce risk. But how can you help senior parents or grandparents stay engaged?

Calling grandma, sending notes in the mail, or, for more tech-savvy families, FaceTime, Zoom and similar video communications, are still helping us stay connected. But how about a longer-term project to keep the family in touch? Why not ask your senior loved one to spearhead a family heirloom cookbook project?

The First Course

Asking the seniors in your family to help create a cookbook is a great way to keep minds sharp, help thwart isolation and preserve family traditions. A family cookbook championed by senior members of the family offers a way of passing down a “flavor” of personality for generations to come. If grandma has great handwriting, ask her to write down recipes which someone can scan. If not, a phone call with someone transcribing works just as well.

Tech-savvy family members can step in to help create digital books. Many software companies help you compile booklets for less than $5 each. Sites like Shutterfly, Heritage Cookbook, and Etsy offer step-by-step instructions. Many of these programs are very user-friendly and automatically generate a table of contents, indexes and more. You’ll find downloadable templates, graphics and recipe cards.

Combine Ingredients

Photos make great additions to family heirloom cookbooks. Ask everyone participating to hunt for meal photos to add to the mix. Questions to ask all participants could include:

  • Do you have any special memory associated with a particular recipe/family meal?

  • Where did the recipe originate?

  • What was everyday life like when first cooking this recipe decades ago?

  • Was the recipe a favorite of a particular child or grandchild?

  • Can you describe the smell/taste?

  • Is the recipe a part of a holiday tradition?

Recipe for Success

Regardless of what “phase” we find ourselves in during this unprecedented health event, remember that older adults, especially those with chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease, need to be extra vigilant. This means that visiting grandma or suggesting she go to the store herself might still not be in her best interest. Helping parents or grandparents stock up on groceries, household supplies and making sure they have all the medications they need is still good advice as we navigate our way through social distancing in outside environments.

From the Comfort of Home

If your loved one needs extra help, Reliance Home Health Care provides home health personal care and specialized health services to step in when families can’t. We can be there for you on a regular basis, daily, weekly or as needed. For shopping, companion services, light housekeeping and much more call us at 610-896-6030 and find out how you can try out our services for FREE!

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