I used to be a weight lifter, so I've been familiar with meal prepping all my meals on one day for quite some time.

Fast forward 6 years and with caregiving and constantly working overtime at my paying job, I do not have TIME for shopping, preparing, cooking, cleaning, and doing it all over again.

I get one day off from paying job per week, and the rest of my time is absolutely CONSUMED.

I found an online company that will send me vacuum sealed, wholesome, barely salted, fully cooked meals. I order enough for my entire household to get 2 meals/day 6 days a week.

It can be pretty pricey, but I was able to get the cost to $190-$230 for a family of 3 humans. YES, EXPENSIVE- but not too much more than groceries cost for my area, with no preparing and very little dishes or kitchen cleaning.

Do you guys have anything that has made such a POSITIVE impact in your care giving x life balance?

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When it came to meals..
I made a lot of soup and or stew. Easy to portion into 2 cup serving sizes in the little Ball Jars and put in the freezer. Easily thawed in the microwave. (When it was necessary I would puree prior to freezing)
Because it was soups and stews I shopped a lot of the close out produce, little bruises don't show up in a soup! so meals were pretty inexpensive done that way.

This sounds real strange but it worked.
When he started using tab briefs rather than the pull up type i would have him stand by the sink after toileting and put the brief on "backwards" so I was using his body to get the tabs fastened as tight as I could. Then another oddity..In the morning after his shower when dressing him I would put a pair of regular boxer brief on him OVER the tab brief. This held it in place better and he was less likely to have the tabs pop open. (It did help that the tabs were in the back though.)

Another strange thing I discovered.
When he sat on the toilet the barrier cream I used would sort of make him stick to the seat. I replaced the oblong toilet seat with one of the U shaped ones. I then placed a Tube sock on each side. He would sit down,. the sock would prevent the sticking and I could pull off the sock when he was done and wash it, I no longer had to scrub waterproof cream off the toilet seat.!

Pool noodles made great bumpers at the edge of the table so he would not bump his knees into the table if I pushed him in too close. The also padded the back bar on the wheelchair so it was not as hard. They also added padding on the arm and edge of the wheelchair so when he started leaning to one side I could prop him easily.
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anonymous828521 Jul 2019
You're a genius! 😅 Grandma1954
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I was a senior helping my very senior parents [90's] and grocery shopping was exhausting. I was still working full time, and doing volunteer work.

Just didn't want to take a whole Sunday being in grocery stores... yes, plural, because Mom would read the grocery ads and this store had a sale on can soup, another store a sale on bread, another on cereal. Target had the best price on cookies, etc. Mom was just use to doing that with my Dad once he had retired decades ago... it kept them busy.

Along came on-line grocery shopping. YES !! I set up an account for my parents, and a separate account for me. I could shop in my pj's. I could shop at midnight.

I had a choice of curb-side pick-up at the grocery store, or home delivery.

Of course, my Mom could claim the "food taste funny" even though it was the same identical product she would buy in the brick & mortar store. And heaven forbid if a brand name changed their packaging.... [rolling eyes].
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Eloise1943 Jul 2019
Online shopping has been so great. Now I have everything I need to put meals together
Great life hack ideas above. Thanks for sharing.
Right before I moved my mother into Assisted Living apartment, I did two simple things that still helps her 3 years later. 1) I noticed that lots of apartments had things on the door. I found on Etsy a very large, bright pink, beautiful burlap sunflower wreath. She loved it, but more importantly, she uses it to help her find her way back from activities. She sees that bright pink and feels relief. 2) I had individual vinyl stickers made (Etsy) and placed them on outside of all the kitchen, bathroom, bedroom drawers. Towels, wash rags, silverware, panties, pajamas, socks, etc... Such a simple thing that helps her so much.
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two saving graces: Walmart and amazon
i know there are other places where you can order things but I like these two. I start an online order with Walmart and add to it as I see things I need. When I have an order ready I complete it pick a day and time to go get it. They also deliver for a nominal fee. Amazon is great and stand by all there items. I order quite a lot and return some. Just drop it at UPS. I am a 24/7 caregiver but can get to Walmart or ups and be back in 15 min.
Not-sure what I would do without these services
also I finally took my husband to Council on Agings retreat (adult day care center) He enjoyed the socializing and I was able to have a few hours to myself. He is actually looking forward to going again. I never thought this would work but it has thank God
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TiredSue Jul 2019
Yes - these have both been lifesavers for me too! I can't leave my husband alone so grocery shopping is out. Walmart grocery pick up has been great for us because it can be an activity to get him out of the house for a bit, and even get a treat (from a drive through) if he's feeling like it. He also feels like he's contributing since he can have input when I make the list online. We tried the meals from Freshly when they had their new customer discount but he didn't care for them and he has specific dietary needs that they couldn't address so we only used them for two weeks.

Another hack I used when my Mom lived with us was to put a diaper genie in her bathroom for wipes and Depends. It definitely helped with the smell situation!
Since so much time is taken up with my mom (laundry, bills, errands, etc) I’ve hired someone to come & do my vacuuming & cleaning the bathrooms for me. I try not to worry about a bit more dust & as long as we’re fed & kitchen is tidy I’m ok. I used to be a “clean freak” but had to learn I just can’t do everything anymore.
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Before my MIL moved in with us, she used a traditional pharmacy for the multiple prescriptions she needed. Mostly, we would stop by the pharmacy after a doctor's appointment so I could run in and get what she needed. Once or twice a month, she would mess up and I would get The Call. I would have to stop what I was doing to run to the pharmacy, get her meds and take them to her because her life saving medicine ran out that afternoon/the next day. Arghh...

When we were talking about her living with us, I told her I would not be driving to her pharmacy for her since it is 20 miles from the new house. She argued that the pharmacist knows her and her needs but I held firm that I wasn't driving past three other pharmacies to get to the one she used for years.

Luckily, we have a pharmacy in the area with a delivery service that accepted her insurance. She was reluctant to change but found that having her prescriptions delivered was a Godsend. She also enjoyed the company of the person who dropped off the meds even if it was only for a few minutes.
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Frances73 Jul 2019
Have you considered a pill pack pharmacy? Mom uses that at her assisted living, her meds are prepackaged and labeled with the time of day when they are to be taken. Saves a LOT of arguments!
A lot of seniors might enjoy having an Amazon Alexa device for music, turning lights on/off, ask questions, get news, etc. Note: It does not call 911.
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Gabbygirl Jul 2019
I use the Alexa with my mom. I set it up to remind her when to take medications, when to do breathing treatments, to make sure she is using her oxygen. She said it’s been helpful because she forgets. I can manage the reminders from my phone, and I have cameras in her place to check in without being intrusive. This was requested by several of her doctors as they felt she needed some supervision.
My stepdad had swallowing issues, so we had to puree most things. Found a machine called a Baby Brezza that steams on a timer, then purees. It was handy because if I forgot it for a few minutes because of some other "adventure," food didn't get burned on the stove. Also, I could prepare batches, freeze them in silicon "ice cube" trays (2 ounce, cute little round "cubes"--brand is Baby Bliss, but other brands are out there too), pop those out and put them in a freezer bag labelled with description and date, and just drop one or two in a custard cup, microwave a couple of minutes as needed. We also found that Hormel makes already pureed entrees that store on the pantry shelf (not freezer) and microwave in one minute. Most were not too salty. Ordered these online from a place called Healthy Kin, I think. Easy little cups such as custard cups, and/or a plate with compartments made it easier for him to eat (blind) without trying to chase mush around on the plate. The goal was to have prep-intensive food available without it being obvious that it was prep intensive, so we could have a family meal and have him not be embarrassed by a bunch of scurrying around and noisy blenders (an "ouch" for him and Mom, with hearing aids) all the time), yet have safe swallowing. A little, quick food chopper was handy for salad.
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Rather than pre-packaged meals, I purchased an Instant Pot, the large, 8qt version. I can control what goes into the food for my husband who is on a cardiac, low-salt meal plan. I make enough different meals to freeze and we eat well for a week. Cooking in the Instant Pot is very quick and I can usually make all my meals in a few hours.
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shb1964 Jul 2019
Ahmijoy, do you have website or cookbook info on low-salt meals for the Instant Pot you could share. Thank you.
I buy the big Stouffer and Marie Calendar frozen dinners for my Step Dad at Walmart. Stouffers Chicken,Rice and Vegetable dinner; Cheesy Chicken and Rice; Chicken Parmesan. Marie Calendars Meatloaf and Potatoes.

I am only caregiver for my bed-ridden mom who has a feeding tube and vascular dementia.

My Step Dad has Alzheimers Stage 4. I mow lawn. I made it simple for myself. I am getting things organized in each room again. I dont stress over things that have to get done. No family members come over to help. I had bad help in the past with housekeeping and caregiving. Had my own business. I have to take care of them. Not going on Medicaid. Would just be bad care all over again. Property is involved and not giving up the house. I do errands once a week. They have social security and pension. I have gotten much stronger going through this. Learning a lot. I have Visiting Physicians Association come to the house once a month for mom. I also have a pharmacy that delivers for free and is 5 minutes from my house. I have a beautician that comes to the house to cut hair. I go to Walgreens, Walnart and Jewel. And sometimes WholeFood and Tradef Joe's. I use to workout caregiving gives you a good workout. I drink protein powder.
I give my Step Dad Max Protein and Enlive to drink. He can still walk and do things for himself.
I do laundry everyday. Housekeeping not done as much.
I keep it as simple as possible now. I am going to sleep at midnight and getting up by 8:30am. I don't stress about anything any more.
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Ellaella Jul 2019
How do you help bedridden mom..any tips on how to give bath, change clothes etc. I have a bad back and I am finding this task difficult with my LO.
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