Sometimes Mom, Mike, and I sit around the table and reminisce. We’ll all start laughing so hard our eyes water. I cherish those times. I realize I’m not just my mother’s caregiver; I’m still her daughter, and I like the dual role.
Jesus spent the last night of his life having supper with his twelve closest friends; it was an intimate time of fellowship around the table. That same type of fellowship can be seen in churches when members provide meals for families when needed. Giving the physical nourishment of food often communicates love—which nourishes the soul.
When our son was undergoing chemo treatments at seventeen, one friend said, “I will bring your family a meal every Tuesday until he’s finished.” Twenty years later, I still remember what a blessing it was to come home from the hospital and find dinner waiting on my back porch.
When Mike or I cook dinner for the three of us, we meet more than just my mother’s physical need of food. She looks forward to the social contact our nightly meal offers, even if we make a dish she doesn’t like. It’s important to view a shared meal with your parents as a social event. And while you’re at your parents’ home, it doesn’t hurt to check the pantry and fridge for expired food, encourage healthy snacking, and bring along foods packed with nutrients. Remember, too, that taste buds change as our loved ones age. This can be a result of hormonal changes, illness, or medications, so be sensitive to this as you prepare meals.
As you dine together, avoid difficult conversations. Instead, ask your parents about their favorite childhood memories. Talk about your day and ask for advice when appropriate. Make some new memories over lunch or dinner, and enjoy this season of providing physical, social, and spiritual nourishment for your parents.
How can you provide physical and spiritual nourishment for your aging parent?