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to have a successful Summer Cookout with
July 5, 2011--Summer cookouts are meant for
family fun. But what if your guest list
includes an elderly person?
Heat, noise, bugs and rambunctious
children—as well as dietary no-nos like
fatty foods and beer—are all problems for
seniors, as well as for their hosts and
their caregivers. But these and other
problems can be avoided or minimized with a
little advance planning.
Here are some tips as to what hosts should
and shouldn't serve at a backyard barbecue
with elderly present,
as well as ways for hosts and caregivers to
ensure that everyone has a happy, healthy
Among the tips:
Avoid foods that are too spicy, fatty or
hard to chew, but be sure to include
some familiar "comfort" foods like
macaroni and low-fat cheese. A salad
bar where guests can choose among
healthy items is another good option.
Don't serve the senior alcohol in any
form. It is dehydrating, which can be
deadly for an elderly person.
Backless picnic benches can be difficult
for an elderly person to sit on, so
provide a folding chair or stackable
If there's no shade in the backyard,
bring out a portable beach umbrella.
Set up a spot away from the hot grill
and any areas where children are likely
to be throwing balls or rough-housing.
If the elderly person has mobility
problems, position it close to a
If the elderly person can't get around
much but is sociable, bring other
partygoers over for brief chats. But if
the senior has trouble communicating,
bring headphones, a CD player and some
music, so he or she will be able to
enjoy being around others without being
under pressure to talk.
If you must cut some meat off a bone or
corn off of a cob, do it in the kitchen
and then bring the plate to the senior.
Cutting up food in front of other
partygoers puts the senior in an
embarrassing, child-like position.
Watch the senior for signs of
restlessness, overheating or other