A few details first: My mother is 70, celiac, with RH, and spinal fusion. She is mentally sharp, and she is physically capable of cooking for herself. She lives with us but has her own section (in-law suite) with her own kitchen.

Problem - Mom hates to cook for herself and gets angry at us for not catering to her dietary needs all the time when we cook.

We cook a few times per week (usually Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday) we order out once, and then often visit friends on the weekend in the evenings or eat leftovers.

My husband and I have 2 kids that live with us, and 1 grown kid who is married with a child and often needs our help (they are moving and doing renovations). We both work full-time and have very busy lives, so cooking is pushed to the wayside and we do what we must to get through the days. And we have time, we try to enjoy ourselves a bit and not stress.

Mom has special dietary restrictions, no gluten, and low-fodmap foods, everything makes her poop..literally everything. This makes her list of foods that she actually eats super small. We don't eat that way (it's unhealthy), we enjoy a variety of foods and vegetables and we don't have time to prepare something special for her all the time.

She has all these rules on how to cook the food, etc. It's exhausting. So we typically cook our dinner and let her eat whatever she wants from it. Often times she will take none of it, and then complains and slams her door shut and mutters that she has to cook again.

This is draining for us, as we are not her special food restaurant service/chef, etc. and we don't have the energy to constantly make multiple food items, which end up not getting eaten!

Plus she is capable of cooking! What do we do? How do you handle an expectant mother that thinks we are supposed to cater to her when she is totally capable?

She may be capable physically but not capable mentally.

She demonstrates anger, unrealistic expectations, OCD about rules for cooking, irrationality, and these are all concerning mental behaviors. It will only get worse.

It's time for her to live somewhere else where she can be managed by professional caregivers and her diet will be served to her by chefs trained in such matters.
Helpful Answer (10)
Reply to Fawnby
Beatty Jun 1, 2023
Except the cealiac meals will probably be trucked in, pre-made & tasteless. Or if made on site, often contain hidden gluten in the sauces when the Chef forgets.

Such is life.
I am going on 76, live alone, not nuts about cooking either, so my choices are to order in, go out to eat or cook.

Because she doesn't want to cook does not give her a pass go card.

I would sit her down give her options: Order In at her expense, move to AL or cook herself. Time to set some boundaries and stick to them.

Good Luck!
Helpful Answer (7)
Reply to MeDolly

Sandwich chat? 🥪💩 🥪

I'd like to help you with your meal planning Mom.

I'll point out that this is not a restaurant & I am not your personal chef.

Now let's start trialing these healthier choice gluten-free pre-made meal delivery seevices. Starting with *insert company name* this week.
Helpful Answer (7)
Reply to Beatty

Have food delivered with your mother’s credit or debit card.

Green Chef

Hello Fresh


Home Chef


Martha Stewart & Marley Spoon

Fresh and Easy

Every Plate

They all offer gluten free options. If mom can no longer prepare the food or doesn’t want to she can hire someone to help her in the kitchen.

All of these companies have convenient, easy to prepare meals. They also offer discounts and coupons for your first order.

My daughters have ordered from some of these companies and have been pleased.

Best wishes to you.
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Reply to NeedHelpWithMom
TopsailJanet Jun 1, 2023
Most of these sources provide ingredients with a recipe card that you have to follow -chopping, mixing and cooking. This is still a lot of work and may be hard to follow for a senior with dementia. Many also are a minimum of 2 portions per meal. It would be better to explore heat and eat meals, which usually come in single plate choices. I haven't tried any of those companies, so I'm afraid I can't list any for you.
Is there a in your area? It is a reasonable cost for several days of repeatable meals. The chef comes to her to consult in meal planning. This could be on her dime and not yours.
I would not cave in on her rants
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to MACinCT

Ignore her hissy fits. You're very generous providing an in-law home and she's physically, cognitively capable of managing. Unreasonable demands like a spoiled child should not burden you and your busy family. I have a sign in our kitchen that's decades old; "There are two choices for dinner. Take it or leave it"
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to JeanLouise

Your last paragraph says it all. "she is capable of cooking".

I think you need to sit mom down and explain what you just told us. Your lives are too busy to serve as her full time chef and dish washer. You are sorry, but if she wishes to continue to live with you she will need to take care of her own dietary needs, and when she is no longer able to do that she will likely have to move somewhere that can accomodate her better than you are able to.

Your house. Your rules. As we used to say to the teens.

Will she like that? No. But then life is full of things we don't like, isn't it. We just have to live with it.
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to AlvaDeer

If mom has dementia, as stated in your profile, she is likely unable to cook or to understand reason/logic. Being prone to histrionics and argumentative behaviors is typical and only worsens with time and progression of the disease.

If she is capable of cooking, she should cook for herself and not be catered to bc she's an elder and using that Get Out of Jail Free Card too often. Living with you is a privilege that carries responsibilities with it and doesn't mean she's waited on hand and foot.

Get rid of the mindset that you have to cater to moms every whim. Either she needs a higher level of care in AL or she agrees to pull her weight in your home by not being such a burden with her food requirements. Have a heart to heart talk with her about expectations from BOTH of you moving forward.

Good luck!
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to lealonnie1

She sounds like she wants to rule the roost. This seems common when a mother or mother-in-law moves in with her adult children. They go back to the “I’m the parent and you are the children.” Doesn’t matter that they’re adults and it’s not even her house. Of course she expects you to cook her food… she is the Queen Bee now and you must cater to her! In her mind, anyway. Even though she has her own area and can cook, why do that when she has others there who can do for her?

Maybe remind her that if she wants to remain independent, she needs to do for herself as long as she is able. 70 is not all that old. Why is she giving up already? She may live another 20 years.
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Reply to LoopyLoo

My mother now has advanced dementia and is in a care home. She lived with us for over 15 years prior to going into care.

Using my 20/20 hindsight, I'd like you to consider that she may have dementia. I know you said she's mentally sharp and physically capable, just as my mother appeared to be until recently. She could fool people into thinking she was perfectly fine as little as 2 years ago. But her behaviour towards us became demanding and unreasonable years and years earlier. There was no reasoning with her. I suspect that, as tasks became more difficult, she took it out on us. I could be wrong. Just keep it in mind.
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Reply to Anabanana

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