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Last Issue
senior life
Sleepless In Greensboro
When Concern Controls You











Fall 2009

Nintendo Wii…Now It's Getting SERIOUS...
Courtesy of

When you live in a retirement community, the Wii Bowling competition is probably all you really have to keep you going. Certainly it’s better than Bingo, maybe not as good as Judge Judy. Anyway, if I ever had to put an older relative into a care facility, I’d choose a place that makes awesome YouTube videos of them having a Wii Sports bowling tournament.

Notice how the novelty of playing Wii Sports is basically gone. It’s no longer a story about "oh, what a unique and clever concept" — it’s just been totally absorbed into their daily lives to the point that Wii bowling is as normal and everyday as line dancing. Check out the video below to experiense Wii Bowling, Senior Style!


Spice It Up For The Elderly

Food Network® Star Says Cooking for Seniors Shouldn’t be Boring

“Stop watering down food for seniors,” says Rachael Ray, star of the Food Network®’s “30 Minute Meals” show and author of a series of recipe cookbooks. “There’s no excuse for making food dull, lifeless and boring,” the popular food host advises family caregivers.

Ray said that adult children often assume their loved ones need bland food. “What they really want is good flavor. Cook to impress, cook to be excited or, at the very least, cook to share,” Ray said.

Nearly half (44 percent) of family caregivers surveyed in a Harris Interactive® poll conducted for the eldercare company Home Instead Senior Care help their loved ones cook, while 59 percent assist with grocery shopping. Home Instead Senior Care often steps in to assist the elderly with meal preparations when their family caregivers can’t. “We know from experience that seniors like their mealtimes to be interesting . . . not just

the food, but the setting, the companionship and the conversation,” said Jim Madison, owner of the local Home Instead Senior Care office serving Grand Traverse, Leelanau, Benzie, Manistee, Wexford, Missaukee and Kalkaska counties. “Appetizing meals are an important part of seniors’ lives, and vital to their physical and emotional well-being.”

Ray, who was raised in a multi-generational Sicilian restaurant family, said she was lucky to share food with many generations. “I think that maps you out for life. Nobody can fight when they taste delicious food and they’re together. There’s something really intimate about it.”

Food also helps seniors reconnect with the past, Ray said. “What’s great about food is the nostalgia factor that ties all of us to where we’re from. So it’s a wonderful tool for seniors who are having trouble with memory or dementia or an illness that has removed them from the world. Food can allow them to travel in the amount of time it takes to go to the grocery store. If they’re from Russia or Germany or France or Ireland, give them food from those places and take them back to the things that make them feel good, whole, happy and excited about living.”

Be creative to liven up food while staying within a senior’s dietary guidelines, said Ray, who advocates moderation rather than denial. Here’s how Ray recommends adding flavor to a senior’s diet without compromising good health:

* Add low-sodium, no-salt stock to a sauce to make it taste like it has been simmering all day. Likewise, cook rice in chicken or vegetable stock rather than water, and replace cream with stock when making mashed potatoes for a flavorful, low-fat alternative.
* Fresh herbs are a no-fat addition, and readily available in grocery stores to brighten the flavor of salads, dressing and sauces.
* Purchase better cuts of meat for better flavor and less fat. Seniors shouldn’t sacrifice quality, Ray said, even if they’re on a budget. “Never buy less than a ground sirloin because of the fat content. Don’t buy fatty foods as opposed to lean, healthy meats to save pennies because in the end you’re not, you have to trim. And the amount of waste balanced against lean clean meat is negligible. A small amount of lean protein is better than a larger amount of fatty protein.”

* Stock up on fresh meats and vegetables when they’re on sale, then divide and freeze them. “Prepared foods are not good for seniors because they can’t control the amount of salts, fats and additives,” Ray said. “They should spend the money instead on prepared raw foods they can finish cooking, which will taste better to them as well.”

Both Ray and Home Instead Senior Care’s Madison said that it’s important to involve seniors in meal preparation as much as possible. “Our CAREGivers get to know seniors’ likes and favorite recipes and often help them prepare those special dishes,” Madison said.

Having help in the kitchen can make the difference between whether a senior eats well or not, Ray said. “But even if a senior can’t help prepare the food, have them in the room when you’re cooking, talk to them, let them smell it and feel it,” Ray added. “It’s a visceral experience that involves all the senses and makes seniors feel whole. It doesn’t just fill you up, it makes you feel alive.”

To learn more about Home Instead Senior Care visit For more information about this story or to arrange mealtime photos with seniors and CAREGivers, contact Jim Madison at 231-938-3001 To inquire about media interviews with Rachael Ray, contact Georgene Lahm at At least one week's advance notice is requested.

30 Minute Meal Recipes for Seniors
Don’t be afraid to put flavor and creativity into food for the elderly, says Food Network® star Rachael Ray. Following are three recipes that Ray says can spice up a senior’s life. For a 30 Minute Meals booklet with more recipes for seniors, send a self-addressed, stamped No. 10 envelope to Home Instead Senior Care, 3504 Kirkland Court, Williamsburg, MI 49690.

Double-Dipped Spicy Chicken

Vegetable oil, for frying
1 ½ cups flour
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon allspice
1 cup buttermilk
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 pound chicken breast tenderloins
Salt and pepper

Heat 1 ½ inches vegetable oil in a deep skillet over medium high heat. A cube of bread should brown in a 40 count when oil is ready. Set out three disposable pie tins. Mix flour with paprika, poultry seasoning, cayenne and allspice. Divide seasoned flour between two tins. Pour buttermilk into a tin. Line up tins as such: flour, buttermilk and then flour. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Coat chicken in flour, then buttermilk, then a second coating of flour. Cook chicken 6 minutes on each side, until deep golden brown and firm. Drain chicken on paper bags and cool before packing up for picnic basket.

Yield: 4 servings

Blue Cheese and Walnut Salad with Maple Dressing

1 (10-ounce) bag baby spinach
1/3 pound blue cheese, crumbled
1 (6-ounce) can walnut halves, toasted
¼ cup maple syrup, warmed
1 ½ tablespoons cider vinegar
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper

Place spinach on a large platter. Top with blue cheese and walnuts. Warm maple syrup in a small saucepan. Pour vinegar into a small bowl. Whisk oil into vinegar in a slow stream. Whisk maple syrup into dressing in a slow stream. Pour dressing down over the salad platter and serve. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Yield: 4 servings

Chocolate-Dipped Bananas

4 bananas
8 Popsicle sticks
3 cups good quality chocolate bar
3 tablespoons butter, cut up

Chopped nuts
Toasted coconut
Cookie crumbles
Colored sprinkles or chocolate jimmies
Mini chocolate candies or mini semi sweet chips

Peel and cut the bananas in half crosswise, so that you have 8 pieces. Place peeled bananas on sticks. Line a cookie sheet with waxed paper. Place bananas on cookie sheet in the freezer, keeping them there as long as possible – at least 10 minutes. Heat chocolate bits with butter in a double boiler over low heat until the melted chocolate and the butter are incorporated. Dip the chilled bananas in chocolate and roll with your favorite topping. Chill or freeze until ready to serve. If frozen, allow time to thaw so that bananas soften before serving.

Yield: 8 chocolate-dipped bananas

Article Courtesy of

Sleepless In Greensboro
When Concern for Mom Controls Your Nights
Karla Anderson , SeniorStyle Contributor


I am a senior (67) living on my own but have been having trouble paying all my expenses.  All I receive is my SS check and things just keep going up.

My children would gladly ask me to live with them, but they have no room.  Also, they have their own responsibilities.

I have looked on line, and asked in the community where I live, for some kind of assistance with my rent but to no avail.  I own my mobile home but I can't keep paying my lot rent and be able to pay utilities and phone. 

Do you know of any resources available for this kind of assistance.  I am perfectly able to live by myself and would hate to become homeless.  I have some health problems but they are under control by my primary care physician.

I would prefer if you didn't use my name if you were to publish by letter.

Thanks for any help or information that may help.

Mabel in Florida

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Dear Mabel,

Thank you so much for writing to us.  So many seniors are in your same situation – they want to remain independent but the cost of living is preventing them from doing so.  It does take some patience to search out resources, but my first suggestion would be to call the Florida Council on Aging and speak with someone about your situation.  Since I assume you want to stay in your own home, but can’t make ends meet, you may qualify for welfare, food stamps, meals on wheels, etc. 

They should have information on everything related to seniors.

The contact for the Florida Council on Aging is:

Florida Council on Aging
1018 Thomasville Road, Suite 110
Tallahassee , FL 32303
Telephone: (850) 222-8877
Fax: (850) 222-2575

If you need to move to a more affordable and subsidized housing, they will more than likely direct you to resources in that area.  One website that lists local subsidized housing is

(For example, In Winter Haven, I found the following subsidized Housing: click her - HUD SUbsidized Housing.

Another FREE resource is “ A Place for MOM” which helps find affordable housing in your area.

Some churches have funds available to help those in need, and there are faith-based organizations that also can provide assistance with food, clothing, medical matters, etc. such as:

Volunteer Florida Foundation
839 East Park Avenue, Suite B
Tallahassee, FL 32301

Perhaps your children could help by making some phone calls and asking others for resources as well.  I hope this helps in some small way and that you find the help you so deserve.  May God bless you in your continued search for remaining independent.

Do you have a question for Karla? Ask HERE.

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