Sunday, February 28, 2010

Life As a Personal Aide: Bigger Food

Reviewing my posts about being a personal aide, I'm surprised food hasn't appeared as a topic more often. Food is an ongoing challenge in our world.

Our world = the one Ruth and I share. Food = buying it, preparing it, serving it, eating it, and cleaning up after it.

Over the years, we've tried every available option. Meals on Wheels: great to have food delivered, except I had to toss most of it out for various good reasons. Take-out: great to have food delivered, except it still has to be cut up. Personal chef: with what money?

Mostly, we rely on frozen microwaveable dinners, which are convenient, relatively inexpensive, and surprisingly tasty. One tragic flaw: packaging has to be opened by someone. If I'm not around, Ruth has choices: 1) go hungry; 2) risk laceration; or 3) bribe a passerby. Yep, Ruth has paid as much as $20 to get someone to open a can of soup, unwrap a slice of cheese, or cut into plastic containers of cold cuts. Suburban pedestrians and joggers don't like to be interrupted.

Tempted as I am, I'm not going to take this opportunity to rant about how awful people can be. I'm trying to give up such rants for Lent. Instead, I'm going to share this slice of life as a personal aide: yesterday, Ruth opened a frozen dinner without ending up in the ER.

"I used that accessibility thing that doesn't really work, but I was able to get my knuckle into an opening."

Took me a while to realize she was talking about the Boston Market Meatloaf dinner packaging, possibly because I busy trying to open a vacuum sealed package of Trader Joe's Punjab Eggplant. Turns out Ruth's latest exercise in independent living took 2.5 hours. She had to start and stop because of pain.

"I could open some packages in advance, you know."
I seriously doubt freezer burn happens within 36 hours, but I could be wrong. Anyway, Ruth has a solution.

"I think they just need to make the food bigger."

Truly, I never cease to marvel at her eternal optimism and ponder this as I cut up apples for snacks.

"Could you slice those smaller?"


  1. As for opening the box- even after the box was opened, I wasn't able to deal with either the plastic wrap or cutting up the food and had to get help anyway.

    Of course if everything was just BIGGER, you never know...

  2. I'm thinking bigger hearts and brains...

  3. I am a part-time caregiver for a woman in her 90's. Food is a central theme of my time with her. She REFUSES with a capital R to eat anything that's been frozen, and has some digestive *issues* as well. I am her personal chef twice a week. I love to cook (cleaning up, not so much, but I digress...), but coming up with new ways to serve the 4 food items she can tolerate have maxed out my culinary imagination. Good thing we can both laugh about it!


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