The Red Ones...
Managing the kitchen is a constant for every household but throw in some Alzheimer's and suddenly the place is on lock-down. Keeping-up with the pantry rummaging and squirreling away of things in odd places has any caregiver feeling like the full-time chief of police. "Stop right there and show me your pockets!" Ugh... More often than not my heart sinks as I discover a bounty of gross. Used tissues, some coins, a pair of tweezers, hair pins and food all commingling together in a pocket. And to think people complain about doing laundry. As police chief I am ready to engage in a full-on pat down, and strip the clothes right off my mom, right there in the kitchen to learn what other incidentals she might be harboring on her person.
The food squirreling is a major source of frustration for me. I won't begin to list the items of concern but instead tell you a little trick that has helped me. Let me reiterate the word little here because, well, every little bit counts right?
Grapes. Every week I buy red grapes and portion a small bunch in a bowl and keep an eye on them as they go missing. As they run low, I replenish with another bunch from the fridge. Doing this allows me to monitor the pace of consumption/squirreling while also allowing for the safe opportunity of "discovery" that on some level I believe rummaging satisfies.
The grapes for me offer several benefits...
- They are fine left out in the open. Whereas other food items run the risk of spoiling, attracting bugs or becoming stale as the packaging is left open, grapes do an amazing job pulling their weight on the counter with little supervision.
- The dog takes no interest. Unlike a pocket of pretzels or nuts, or my least favorite, a f***ing breakfast sandwich, the dog could care less about the grapes. This is actually a big deal considering we have a large dog that can be a bit demanding with his wants. As my mother completely gives in to his begging, the risk to his health and her's increases. Which will happen first? She poisons him or he knocks her down? Both tragic, so best to avoid.
- Resveratrol. The skin of red grapes contains this antioxidant that is trending in health related news these days. It is paraded as an anti-inflammatory and touted as a benefit to ward off cancer, heart disease, aid in cognitive abilities and more which you can read about here. The science behind resveratrol is apparently convincing enough that it has been formulated as a supplement and available in pill form. But do you really need another pill in your life? Or maybe the better question is, do you really want more of your money going to the pharmaceutical industry? Stop the insanity, and just eat some grapes. They are the real deal.
- Red. I came across this article recently that provided some insight on the visual capacities for patients with Alzheimer's. (Hehehehe! Get it? In sight?! So punny, I know...) Red appears to be a favored color for this crowd in that it is the easiest color in the spectrum to see so, skip the green ones and bring on the reds!