Taking Care Of The Elderly - Alzheimer’s Disease Part 3 (Food)

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Healthy green vegetables

Healthy green vegetables

This is the final post about taking care of the elderly and about Alzheimer’s Disease. This post is about serving healthy, nutritious and easy-to-digest food for the elderly. They are not spicy, too. These were the food that I prepared for my parents while I was at my sister’s place. Mom and dad really liked them. These were some of the food that mom often cooked for us when we were still at home and mom was still healthy with good memory.  These food are light and low in fat, yet very nutritious. They are cooked longer so that it’s easy to digest.

As mentioned in my earlier post, Alzheimer’s Disease is a very cruel disease. A person suffering from Alzheimer’s may look normal like any other people but incapable of doing many things due to gradual memory lost even to the point of not remembering loved ones. Cooking is just out of the question. When mom was beginning to show symptoms of Alzheimer’s, she often forgot to turn off the gas stove. It frightened dad many times. She was finally banned from the cooking area!

Alzheimer’s Disease has no respect of person and there is so far no cure for it. Even Former US President, Ronald Reagan and many other famous people suffered from it. Alzheimer’s Disease is on a sharp rise and reaching an almost epidemic level in some countries. I believe it’s very important to be informed. Dr Mercola has a very informative post about it on his site which I just read a few days ago. It came on just at the right time. Click on The Best Kept Secret For Avoiding Alzheimer’s…..

Continuing from my previous post, I mentioned about my utter joy in taking my parents to my sister’s place in another town. But then I need to influence them to stay. I want them to take my sister’s place as their new home. If I can win over mom, dad will stay. That looks tough. So I planned out interesting things each day. I only concentrated on the animals and food because that’s what keep conversations going and mom can be involved and would love it. I cooked quite a few dishes there with mom’s help.

Food for the elderly must not be too oily, too salty, too hard, too spicy or too sweet. I didn’t make anything spicy at all. Here are what I cooked:

Vegetarian Dumplings In Chicken Soup

Vegetarian filling for dumplings

Vegetarian filling for dumplings

The filling consisted of big onions, coriander, eggs, carrots and tofu. They were pan fried with garlic, lightly seasoned with salt. It can even be eaten as it is. They are mixed up and used as filling for the dumplings.

Vegetarian dumplings in soup

Vegetarian dumplings in chicken soup

These dumplings are not difficult to make. My parents like to eat them. You can go wild with the filling. It’s a great way to hide vegetables. This is a very healthy meal for the elderly as the chicken soup (from free range organic chicken) is very nutritious itself, made even more nutritious with all the carrots, red dates and wolf berries which are rich in Vitamin A and good for their skin and eyes. The dumpling skin is chewy and delicious. But for the elderly, I rolled out the skin thinner and cooked it longer so that it is softer and not so chewy. To make these dumplings, you can check out my previous posts by clicking on the following posts. You can change the filling.
Simple, Easy Chinese Dumplings To Make At Home (Part 1)
Simple, Easy Chinese Dumplings To Make at Home (Part 2)
Simple, Easy Chinese Dumplings To Make At Home (Part 3)

Wantans or wontons are good for the elderly, too.
Wantans In Turkey Soup
Dry Turkey Wontons

Handmade Noodles

Fresh handmade noodles (ramen)

Fresh hand-pulled noodles (ramen)

These fresh homemade/handmade noodles, also called hand-pulled noodles or ramen, are chewy and very delicious. Cook it longer if it is for the elderly, whether in soup or fried. To learn how to make handmade, hand-pulled or egg noodles, you can click on the following:
Making Hand-pulled Noodles
How To Make Egg Noodles At Home

Fried handmade noodles

Fried hand-pulled noodles

I also used the hand-pulled noodles to make this vegetarian fried noodles. I only fried it with eggs and a lot of green leafy vegetables. Everyone liked it very much.

Handmade noodles with fish and vegetables

Handmade noodles with fish and vegetables

I really like fish cooked with bean paste. Freshly made ramen topped with this fish, the sauce and some stir fried green leafy vegetables is a very delightful meal in a plate. We enjoyed it very much.

Other noodles suitable for the elderly are:
Rice Noodles In Turkey Soup
Dry Noodles With Char Siu Chicken And Vegetables
Fish Ball Noodle Soup
Boiled Chicken And Vegetables Noodle Soup
Chinese Birthday With Longevity Noodles
Noodle Soup And Fried Noodles from Homemade Egg Noodles

Fish

Sour vegetable

Sour vegetable

I don’t know the name of this vegetable. My parents used to plant them when we were young. We always used it to cook fish. It’s a long time I had not eaten this fish dish. It was a must to try when I saw the vegetable.

Fish with sour vegetable

Fish with sour vegetable

This fish with sour vegetable is very appetising. The soup is slightly sourish and goes very well with rice. We ate fish everyday because my brother-in-law loves fishing and the freezer is full of fish.

Fish in bean sauce

Fish in bean sauce

This is another dish which is my parent’s favourite…fish cooked in bean paste with lots of ginger and big onion. It’s also my favourite. There are quite a number of fish recipes in my Recipes section, under Seafood. I like salmon so there are a lot of salmon recipes. You can use other fish, too. A few of my best favourite ones that are not spicy are:
Teriyaki Salmon
Salmon And Asparagus Stir Fry
Salmon And Rice Noodles Fry
Sweet And Sour Fish

Dried fish air bladder

Dried fish air bladder

This is dried fish bladder. It costs about RM450 (about 90 pounds) per kg! It is reputed to have curative power. I remember my mom used to say its good for backache. There are more health benefits but mom couldn’t remember.

Nutritious fish bladder soup

Nutritious fish bladder soup

I cut it up into smaller pieces and deep fried it. Then I added to chicken soup and cooked until it is soft. It is very delicious.

Sweet Purple Potato

Purple sweet potato

Purple sweet potato

I am so happy that at last I got to eat purple sweet potato! I was totally excited and happy when my sister bought these. See the beautiful bright colour, similar to blueberries and purple majesty potatoes. These are Okinawan Potatoes, also called Hawaiian Purple Sweet Potatoes. They are native to the Japanese native island, Okinawa.

These potatoes are highly nutritious and like the blueberries and purple majesty potatoes, they are loaded with antioxidants. Unlike other potatoes, they are even suitable for the diabetics. These Okinawan potatoes have even been used in Japan to treat diabetes and other diseases.

I baked them and also use them in rice porridge. It’s more dry when baked. I think it’s more delicious in rice porridge or made into desserts, or maybe boiled. Mom and dad liked it very much. We grew up eating lots of sweet potatoes. Mom and dad used to plant them when we were young. There were several types and all are very delicious.

Sweet potatoes are very nutritious and high in fibre. I have a whole section of sweet potato recipes in my Recipes. I know mom and dad would love these:
Sweet Potato Balls For Dessert
Sweet Potato Tortoise-shaped Chinese Dessert (Angku)
Sweet Potato Donuts
Sweet Potato Cake
Steamed Sweet Potato Jam Pudding
Condensed Milk Sweet Potato Cake
Sweet Potato Scones With Condensed Milk For Mother’s Day
Sweet Potato Carrot Cake
Sweet Potato And Chicken Stir Fry

Rice Porridge (Congee)

Rice porridge or congee is very easy to digest. My sister only eats this special brown rice which was grown locally. It tastes very delicious and has higher nutrients. Mom and dad love this type of rice.

I think rice porridge is quite like risotto but less creamy. Maybe I can call it Chinese risotto!

Vegetable rice porridge

Vegetable rice porridge

This rice porridge with lots of bitter leafy vegetable is my family favourite. I made the stock with lots of fried anchovies, big onions and garlic. Then add the rice. The vegetables were added later so that they don’t turn yellow. This is a very delicious porridge. We love it with lots of the vegetables.

Sweet purple potato rice porridge

Purple sweet potato rice porridge

I also cooked the rice porridge with the purple sweet potatoes. It gave the rice porridge beautiful colour and taste. That was my plate of porridge here. I was just very happy with some omelette and mixed vegetable. Of course there was always fish and chicken soup, too.

Sweet potato and yam rice porridge

Sweet potato and yam rice porridge

I also used the orange sweet potatoes and yam to add to the rice porridge. This is also very delicious. Mom and dad also liked it very much.

Other rice porridge (congee) suitable for the elderly are:
Best Turkey Rice Porridge
Meat Balls Rice Porridge
Salted Fish And Chicken Rice Porridge
Char Siu Chicken Rice Porridge
Rice Pancakes (Chee Cheong Fun Or Churng Fun)
Healthy Thunder Tea Rice (Lei Cha)

Gifts From Sister

Good quality wok

Good quality wok

Pineapple-pattern shawl

Pineapple-pattern shawl

When my trip came to an end and I had to return to cold Aberdeen, Scotland, my sister gave me a real big surprise. She gave me a beautifully knitted shawl and a very good quality wok. It took her 2 weeks to knit the shawl despite her very busy life. I love both gifts. I’m going to have more fun cooking. I really love my sister. She is always very motherly, loving and encouraging. I feel so pampered. I think I feel that I’m never grown up when I’m with her…haha.

Conclusion

What have I learned after my 2 weeks stay at home with my parents. I have not only learned so much about Alzheimer’s Disease and about taking care of my parents who are both 80 years old. I have learned the most important issue and essence of life…the beautiful tapestry of love and marriage until old age. Mom and dad live out the marriage vow in their life….“To love, to hold and to cherish, in sickness and in health, for better or for worse till death do us part.” On top of that, dad’s simple faith in God is just beautiful and inspiring. He prays early every morning for all his children and grandchildren. He always asks mom to pray along with him. Mom and dad have inspired me to enjoy a loving marriage and to set an example to our children, believing God to continue to bless my family and loved ones.

Latest Update

Dad has finally pulled through! He is off from the oxygen and drips. He is still very weak and needs to gain back strength slowly before being allowed home. Thanks very much to all who have been praying for him. God is good and He answers prayers. During this troubled time, I have been much encouraged by all the comments and emails. Thanks very much for what you have done! I’m going back again soon to see them.

Sad News

It had been a tough couple of weeks. I was really concerned about dad’s condition. Adding on to that, my cousin brother passed away last week. It was devastating. He was only 32. He left behind a beautiful young daughter!

Life is very fragile. Let’s treasure our lives and treasure all those around us.

Quote of the day……

“It doesn’t matter who you are, where you come from. The ability to triumph begins with you. Always.”

Oprah

Other articles related to taking care of the elderly:

Taking Care Of The Elderly - Simple And Easy Natural Cure
Taking Care Of The Elderly - Alzheimer’s Disease Part 1
Taking Care Of The Elderly - Alzheimer’s Disease Part 2

There are a lot of recipes in my Recipes that are suitable for the elderly. Other good and healthy food for them are tofu, soup, fish, sweet potatoes, smoothies, juices and vegetables.

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24 Comments

makcikmanggis  on November 23rd, 2010

Thanks Marry kerana sudi berkongsi pengalaman yang cukup bermakna ini.Bila baca n3 ni rasa sebak hampir menitisksn air mata.Kita tak boleh jangka apa yang akan berlaku pada kita 10 atau 20 tahun akan datang jika masih ada hayat…..semoga your dad akan pulih seperti sedia kala…

Belinda @zomppa  on November 23rd, 2010

I am so sorry to hear about your cousin brother. I am glad to hear your father doing well. You are an amazing person with an amazing family. Those dumplings look so hearty and healthy, and I am siply blown away by the ramen.

suituapui  on November 23rd, 2010

Wow…your parents must miss you a lot now that you’ve gone back - all that nice cooking you did while you were here. The sour vegetable - terung Dayak (Dayak brinjal) or sour brinjal… I had a post on that here:
http://suituapui.wordpress.com/2010/09/09/jungle-love/
Sorry to hear about your cousin brother - my condolence.

suituapui  on November 23rd, 2010

P.S. The fish swim bladder (hu phio) is called fish maw at restaurants here…and your shawl - I had a maid once and she crocheted that pineapple pattern - for our round tablecloth. LOL!!!

Biren @ Roti n Rice  on November 23rd, 2010

Mary, so glad to hear that your dad pulled through. Sorry about your cousin brother. Life is fragile and we have to trust God to meet our needs.

All the food you cook are so nutritious and comforting. I wish I could have some of that purple sweet potatoes.

busygran  on November 23rd, 2010

Mary, you are a fantastic person to share your food knowledge with all. Sorry to hear about your cousin brother. Thank God for your Dad! Keep the faith, God is always good. He works in ways we cannot see! Will pray for you and your family.

lena  on November 23rd, 2010

this is a very valuable lesson i learnt from your post. You take care too!

lequan  on November 23rd, 2010

Mary,

I’m so glad to hear about the good news regarding your Dad, but at the same time sad to hear about your cousin brother. I’m so sorry for your family’s loss. Life IS very short and we humans are so fragile. After having kids, it made me appreciate life so much more. I want to enjoy life to it’s fullest with my kids while I’m still “young” and cherish all the family time we get to spend together. I’m sure your parents are very happy that you will be back again soon.

You have such a warm and loving family. I love the shawl your sister knitted for you. You must feel so warm and loved everytime you wear it. It’s the perfect gift as I would imagine it’s like having her close to you when you wear it. Love the wok too, but the shawl is such a warm gift in every way.

You are making me drool with all those dishes. I must go have lunch now :-P. Warm wishes and prayers to you and your family.

momgateway  on November 23rd, 2010

So sorry to hear about your loss and your dad’s health trials. It’s a reality we experience with aging parents. My mom was in the pink of health last year but slipped in the bathroom and had a massive head injury that was life threatening. She made it through yet it left her with speech and motor disabilities. I truly feel for you.

Velva  on November 23rd, 2010

Wow, look at all of these fabulous dishes. These dishes are soul satisfying and no doubt much pleasure was gained from preparing these dishes for your parents, and your mother’s help.

Cheers.
Velva

zurin  on November 23rd, 2010

This is a wonderful post with so many lovely dishes. All out of love for your parents. I respect that. Im glad your dad is pulling through but Im sorry to hear about your cousin. Life is fragile indeed.

your parents have brought up a wonderful daughter. You.

Little Inbox  on November 23rd, 2010

Life is fragile. Since last year, I have quite a number of loved ones passed away. First was my grandma in law, followed by my uncle, then aunt, then ex-colleague, then uncle…
:(

Sushma Mallya  on November 24th, 2010

so sorry to hear abt your cousin bro…May his soul rest in peace,…

Nasifriet  on November 24th, 2010

Mary,

What a lovely and honest write-up. Some of the foods you have there, are reminiscence of my childhood days in KCH. Fish cooked with sour brinjals (terong dayak or terong assam) has always been one of my favourites!

I love your fresh hand-pulled noodles. Looks like “kway teow”, also one of my favourite variation of chinese pastas :-) BTW, what is the equivalent in grams to your cup measurement? Sorry, I’m so into metric..

Love your dumplings, too and all the ideas of a good and wholesome vegetarian dishes.

Good to know that your dad is pulling through but sad to hear of the demise of your cousin brother.

Thanks for sharing and God bless xxx

peteformation  on November 24th, 2010

Sorry to hear the sad news.

Jeannie  on November 24th, 2010

Just done reading all your posts, I didnt realise there are new posts because the headings are the same…glad your dad is better now though sorry to hear the sad news about your cousin. Life is indeed very fragile and we do not know when it will end. Love all the healthy food you’d cooked for your parents, I am sure they enjoyed them very much because they are cooked with lots of love:D

Ananda Rajashekar  on November 24th, 2010

sorry about family loss Mary, my payers and strength for your family and glad that you dad has improved his health condition. Take care Hugs to you dear!

Angie's Recipes  on November 24th, 2010

Mary, I am really sorry to hear about your family loss. Life is so unpredictable and fragile. Take really good care of yourself!
Angie

Peggy  on November 24th, 2010

Thank you for posting this! It was very informational and the recipes sounds quite delicious! It’s so true that life can be taken at any moment and we should never take it for granted!

Mary  on November 25th, 2010

@makcikmanggis - Ribuan terima kasih, makcik untuk sokongan emosi makcik. Masa risau and sedih tentang ayah dah berlalu. Ayah baru di benarkan balik rumah. Saya sugguh gembira. Betul kata makcik, kita tak boleh jangka apa yang akan berlaku pada kita 10 atau 20 tahun akan datang jika masih ada hayat. Mungkin yang penting, kita jaga sendiri supaya masih sihat bila tua lah! :D

@Belinda @zomppa - Ya, so sad about my cousin :( But I’m really glad that dad is finally discharged from the hospital! :D You can try the ramen, Belinda. It’s very delicious…mmm. I must wear and shawl and stand next to your table then…we match…..LOL

@suituapui - Awww…thanks very much for giving me the right name for the sour vegetable and also the fish air bladder! I should wear my shawl and stand next to your table….we match!…LOL :D

@Biren @ Roti n Rice - Yes, so glad my dad pulled through. He has just been discharged. Thanks very much for your prayers. I had fun cooking all those food…some of the ingredients that I can’t get here. Will be cooking more soon :D

@busygran - Thanks very much for your prayers and lovely comment! :D Yes, so sad for my cousin brother. Yes, you are very right…God works in ways we can’t see but He is always there.

@lena - Thanks very much, Lena! :D

@lequan - Yes, I’m really glad that my dad has just been discharged from hospital. It’s a huge relief! :D But of course still very sad about my cousin brother. I’m always very encouraged to see how to spend time with your family especially your children. They need all your attention, teaching and nurturing as they grow up so that they can be successful in all areas of their life. You and your hubby are wonderful parents and I’m very sure your children will grow up well and successful. Have fun in parenting! :D Time passes very fast and soon your kids will be grown ups!

Yes, I love the gifts. My sister is just awesome!

@momgateway - Yes, I’m still very sad about my cousin’s death but very gald to say that my dad has just been discharged from hospital. That’s a huge relief!

So sorry to hear that your mom fell in the bathroom that affected her speech and motor abilities :( That must be so tough for her and those around here. My mom fell once and suffered from a hip fracture. It was a very painful experience for her and my family. With the Alzheimer, she just doesn’t know what she was doing. She struggled with the nurses and doctors, so much so they had to tie her to the bed! That was so sad. So glad it’s over. Now we are always on a close look out. Can’t afford another fall. Let’s all take good care of ourselves as we take care of our loved ones.

@Velva - Thanks very much, Velva! :D I was amazed at myself for cooking some of mom’s favourite dishes. Couldn’t cook as delicious like hers but happy enough :D Yes, a pleasure to cook for my parents!

@zurin - Thanks very much, Zurin, for your compliment! :D Really glad to say that my dad has just been discharged from hospital. Yes, still very sad about my cousin brother. Life is just so fragile!

@Little Inbox - It’s so sad to hear a number of your loved ones passed away since last year. That must be so hard to cope! Please stay strong!

@Sushma Mallya - Thanks very much for condolence, Sushma!

@Nasifriet - Thanks very much for sharing, Naifriet! We share same favourite…fish cooked with terong dayak! :D It’s really appetising….mmmm. 1c flour is about 150g. I find it’s a lot easier and quicker to use those measuring cups. Maybe you can try. They usually sell a few in a pack….different sizes. Really gald to say that my dad has just been discharged from hospital! :D

@peteformation - Yes, I’m still very sad! :(

@Jeannie - Wow…you did! I didn’t expect anyone to read through all cos they are very long. It’s actually quite like my own journal and a reference for my children. I’m really glad to say that my dad has just been discharged from hospital! :D That’s a huge relief. But still very sad about my cousin brother :(

@Ananda Rajashekar - Thanks very much for your prayers, Ananda! You are always very sweet! :D Very gald to say that my dad has just been discharged from hospital! :D That’s huge relief!

@Angie’s Recipes - Yes, I’m still very sad :( But thanks very much for your support, Angie!

@Peggy - Thanks very much, Peggy! :D Indeed, we must all take good care and not take life for granted. It’s so fragile!

Cheah  on November 25th, 2010

No wonder your parents miss you because you cooked them so much good, nutritous food. So glad to hear that your dad’s condition has improved. God hears your prayers!

Sharon  on November 25th, 2010

The ramen looks so good! Have to try and cook that one day.

Conor @ HoldtheBeef  on November 26th, 2010

So very sorry to hear about your cousin Mary, but it is very good news to hear you Dad is doing better.
xx

The Kitchen Masochist  on November 28th, 2010

Great to hear the good news about your Dad. You must be relieved! And, I’m sorry to hear about your cousin. 32 is indeed too young to leave this place.

Good to see you’re holding you head high and above water. :)

KM

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