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I have tried everything from gently explaining to my stepdad of his unhealthy habbits while cooking, such as he often sweats while cooking-drips into food, when his nose gets runny, also drips into food both at the table and being cooked, sneezes directly onto food. Mom litterally stuffs her mouth full of food and talks, sending little chunks of food in various places including me. Her vision is limited and if she drops on the floor-she still uses it. I have tried for a couple of years now to guide, tolerate, and correct the unhealthy habbits as gently as i can. Every time we visit each other food HAS to be involved. I just can not do it any more. I have been to embarressed to share but I need some guidance, can;t take it anymore. Thank you!

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I remember the food issues. My mom even had food poisoning and ended up in the hospital over it. This was at the start of her memory problems, when she was still functioning rather well and no one really knew she was ill. For a while it was a battle, but then when I took over her care I informed her she was now a retired queen and her days of work were over. I cook all the meals and maintain the kitchen myself. She did try a couple of times to make recipes she thought she knew by heart...but after a harsh failure she left the kitchen and never returned. I think the "just ate" excuse will work, but I'd be concerned about the unsanitary food preparations and the possible food poisoning that could come from that as well.
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Wow thats a tough one. I guess best thing to do
Without hurting feelings is to bring your own
Lunch and tell them your on a special diet.
Hopefully they will understand. Maybe even bring
Along some for them to save them from getting
Sick! I do believe thats another thing we lose
When we get older... Taste budds.
Stay healthy...
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You can use your doctor for cover...tell them you can only have such and such or are having a test done that requires fasting before. Bring them a store prepared treat instead?
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I too have this problem with some elderly family members. I make sure that whenever I go to their homes or gatherings where there are a lot of people that have made things (i.e., pot luck at a church), I take only a little of the items if they are cooked (hot things I feel are o.k. because supposedly heat kills germs). I think it's hard when the older people want to serve something they've made. I also make a point of helping to set the table, put the leftovers away safely, etc. I make sure that whenever I can, I bring food that I know is safe. Also, put little items such as nuts, candies, etc. in little cups so that everybody has their own instead of dipping into the whole bowl! There are a lot of little things you can do while being subtle about it, but still being careful for yourself and others around you. Go for it!
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Does anybody use a dishwasher??? That's the way to kill germs and to avoid sibling filth in the kitchen. Even if it goes in less than clean, it comes out SANITIZED. I have a battle at home with my mother (legally blind) washing dishes, so everything goes into the dishwasher. I have an extra fridge separate from the one that everyone uses. A good used fridge can go for as little as $100. One time I got one free off Craigs list.
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I keep my containers further away from my Dad's, sometimes in the back of the fridge which is hard for him to reach. Mayo, butter, etc that he cross contaminates, for example... I keep my bread on the counter. I should put just a few slices of bread in a bag, especially after I just threw away another sliced loaf growing "great" cultures throughout the package. My loaf, bought at the same time, but handled with clean hands, is still mold-free. He thinks he's still in his teens working on a muck farm under unsanitary conditions which he is proud of enduring. Neither of us needs more inflammation in our bodies, but I can only do so much when he is still so mobile.

Worriedaboutdad, I understand all too well your circumstances.
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I have this unfortunate experience. I buy things, he has the same tastes that I do and we happen to live together. :/
My DH says, well, sorry, he likes that, too. You are out of luck. To put names on things is apparently rude. So I watch while he eats spoon after spoon of wonderful ice cream out of the container, with very few teeth, puts it back without consequence. And his son is, of course, able to push it under the rug whereas I hate my new life.
I don't know how to hide it good enough to where it isn't found. Honestly, I hate so much of this predicament that I am about to throw in the towel and just move somewhere reasonably close.
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My Dad has been lax in practicing health ways - hand washing, etc. Mom used to be quite upset & was concerned for her health. I keep hand sanitizer and hand wipes, disinfectant wipes around, and offer a wet, soapy washcloth or paper towel with a plain wet one.

At least ONE of my siblings, someone with a Masters and a licensed professional, has disgusting habits, too. I have to disinfect door knobs and other surfaces she is likely to have touched while visiting. I've gotten to the point of being obvious about spraying Lysol on surfaces she has touched, especially before she leaves.

She is so self-absorbed she thinks nothing of Dad's health or mine (RA). Both Dad and I have low thyroid, another auto-immune disease.

This sibling, when "washing" dishes just swishes them in dishwater & leaves chunks of garbage on flatware and dishes, and even uses a soiled toilet plunger to clear her kitchen sink of food she puts down her drain - no garbage disposal.

Fortunately, neither Dad nor I visit her any more, and I've asked her to not bring food she prepares. I've seen so much carelessness in her food handling, it makes me nauseous to think of Dad eating her cooking.

She is not allowed to "help" with dishes here because it takes more effort to clean up after her. She would make a big deal about how she helped, then the TRUTH came out when she griped about my putting her results back on the "need to wash" side.

I'm not a fanatic about having sterile surfaces, I just hate spending more of my life fighting illness from their careless habits. BTW, I keep my flatware separate tp prevent soiled hands from contaminating them. I wouldn't even use the generally available items for company if there's any chance dirty hands have been in contact.

Constant sanitizing is time-consuming, but better than getting e coli from one of them.
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Yes,
I like the idea of bring the food and treating it as though it's your treat to them so they don't have to cook. Better yet, I love takeout pizza It's hard to screw up with that. Show up with a box and a bottle of wine and have a party rather than being in a disgusting mess.
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pamstegman...You made me smile real big Thank You!! All so true :)
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2Whitedoves, HA, yes my MIL is pure Italian. So I would bring the food and then it's a SIN if she doesn't eat the stuff I brought. LOL. Yes, for many years I understood that if you don't eat, the women are very upset.
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TY ;)
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If it's a dementia issue, then reasoning and excuses only go so far. Protect your health. My cousin has no memory of me not eating her food due to the lack of sanitary conditions. I'm amazed she survived it.
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oh....ps~ Mom's mental state is a fragile one. She is never wrong, very very stubborn and analytical. She personalizes EVERYTHING and EVERYONE. I try my best to just let her be 82 so long as she is safe.
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Thank you Sunnygirl :) No-my situation is not that dire, although it's ironic my mom has the litterbox right in her bthrm. I have caught her in many lies (never point them out) and I do notice her memory issues lately. The day will come when I just do that and stop eating their food. I know mom understands about the health concerns but doesn't follow through, Stepdad is just as you said, can't retain most info and everytime is a first time for him. They both get highly hurt feelings the times I have tried to not eat! These feedbacks are appreciated as I know no one else at this stage in their life. I hope to have what it takes to care for them as it progresses. Have great days :)
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What is their mental state? The reason I ask is that this is one of the first signs that my loved one was suffering with dementia. I didn't understand it then, but in introspect I see it. Back when she was still able to prepare food, she would leave it in the fridge far too long before cooking it. She would also use the bathroom and clean litter box, WITHOUT washing her hands and then handle food in the kitchen for our meal! I finally told her point blank that she had to wash her hands before handling the food and plates or I would NOT be able to eat the food. She loved for me to eat with her. However, she would argue with me that her hands were dirty or she would lie and say she had washed them, which I knew was a lie. So, I refused to eat her food. She wasn't even insulted!

After that she became unable to prepare food at all. Now I realize she wasn't able to process why she needed to wash her hands and she couldn't remember if she had nor not. I hope your situation is not as dire.
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Thank you both :) I have done that-Mom is Italian...if you don't eat than something must be wrong :) I'm down to lunchmeat sandwhiches and I bring the coldcuts-I guess it's the time they enjoy-it's up to me to break the eating part! Thank you again.
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I agree with Pam above, just say "I just ate". I use to do that before visiting a relative of mine who's household was lax when it came to being clean.

Your parent's eating habits might be gross but they are still alive, so they must be doing something right.
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Oh, gosh I got to the point that I would say " I just ate". I made a point to visit AFTER she had lunch or dinner. I would agree to a cup of tea and a store bought cookie that I brought with me.
Look around and you will find rotten food in the fridge, freezer burned mystery objects in the freezer and bugs in the pasta boxes. Throw it out when they are not looking. I would make mom put her "fresh" eggs in cold water, and if they sank, OK, but if they floated they were rotten and I would trash them.
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