Easy Ways to Pull off Sunday Dinners as a Family

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With today’s hectic lifestyles, bringing the family together for regular meals may seem like an impossible feat. But it might actually be easier than you think and well-worth the effort, especially for your senior family members.

Easy Ways to Pull Off Sunday Dinners as a Family

Family traditions and lore often get passed around the dining table as easily as a bowl of mashed potatoes. Perhaps you’re sharing Grandma’s pea salad recipe. Or maybe someone’s telling the story about that time Dad’s grilling apron almost caught fire. With today’s hectic lifestyles, bringing the extended family together to dine regularly may seem like an impossible feat—but it might actually be easier than you think, and well-worth the effort.

Why Intergenerational Dining?

Sharing meals together can benefit all generations within a family. Children get to hear their family’s oral history directly from the older generations, and seniors enjoy the companionship, which may lead to real health benefits, such as improved nutrition.

Home Instead, Inc., franchisor of the Home Instead Senior Care® network, recently conducted research among North Americans with seniors living nearby. The Sunday Dinner Pledge survey revealed:

  • 61% believe their senior relatives eat better when they dine with other family members
  • 92% feel eating with multigenerational family members is a good way to reconnect
  • 87% believe sharing sit-down meals with senior relatives help their loved one deal with loneliness

Start with a Simple Commitment

While nearly 90 percent of respondents to the Sunday Dinner Pledge survey said they would like to share sit-down dinners with their senior loved ones once a month, about half of them said conflicting schedules and lack of time prevented them from doing this. Can you relate?

Consider this: when you prioritize something in your life, you tend to find the time to get it done. And that can include regular meals with your senior loved one.

To help make family mealtime a priority in your life, sign the Sunday Dinner Pledge. By signing the pledge, you make a personal commitment to have dinner at least once a month with your senior loved one.

Create an Easy Menu Plan

To make it more feasible to plan and cook an intergenerational meal on a regular basis, start by choosing an easy menu plan. This may include favorite family recipes that can be made ahead of time, or new recipes with a limited ingredient list.

If you need recipe ideas that will please all of your family members, try the Sunday Dinner Planner from Home Instead Senior Care. In three quick steps, you can choose a main ingredient, review a selection of recipes and add one to your planner. Then you can get the planner emailed to you for printing and reference.

Use Activities to Foster Interactions

Conversation and social interaction is one of the greatest benefits of shared mealtimes for seniors. Refer to this list of conversation starters to foster meaningful interaction at the dinner table, or use the Sunday Dinner Planner to select an after-dinner activity to engage the whole family.

Involve Senior Loved Ones in Meal Planning

Speaking of activities, be sure to include your senior loved ones in the planning and meal preparations as much as possible. They may enjoy the renewed sense of purpose they get from participating as much as the meal itself.

Dine Together on Sunday—or Any Day

Sharing a monthly meal with your senior loved ones doesn’t necessarily have to happen on Sundays. Pick a day that works well for your schedule.

No matter which day you choose to dine with your senior family member, your whole family will benefit from this sociable interaction.

After all, who better to tell about the time Dad’s grilling apron nearly caught on fire than Dad himself?

For more family meal planning resources, check out the Sunday Dinner Pledge program on SundayDinnerPledge.ca.