Making pasta sauce from scratch is not something I do often because the cooking process alone can take almost an entire day. Grocery shopping for ingredients is also a labor of love. Are the tomatoes ripe and tasty? Is the basil fresh? Are the carrots organic? Is the ground beef the highest quality? Is the cheese finely grated? Every detail has to be just right.
Chopping; slicing; mashing; a pinch of this and that; tasting, and then adding a little more olive oil or salt – each task is takes time and thoughtfulness. As the sauce begins to simmer on the stove an aroma fills the air – smells that instantly take me back to my Italian roots and my childhood of Mom and Nonna cooking in the kitchen. I am in heaven.
As I wait for the sauce to finish cooking, I set the table – Italian linens, dishes, glassware, and silverware used for decades, over and over again for family gatherings. Soon twenty family members will sit down together to enjoy the meal.
And then the moment of truth – the pasta with sauce is served. I hold my breath as I look around the table to see the expressions on my relatives’ faces. One by one their eyes and smiles tell me everything I need to know. They are content and pleased — everything is perfectly wonderful in this moment in time and there is nothing more to do. Life is good.
For me, there is a deep connection to what I have just described and what I experience as a family caregiver on a daily basis. I perform a care-related task; then look for signs on the faces of my elderly loved ones to see if they are happy and content. Have I done something to help make them feel special?
Adaptive caregiving creates caring environments for the people I love, and I am always on the hunt for ways to make this happen. When I first learned about adaptive clothing over forty years ago, I was overjoyed. I knew in an instant that I could help make my loved ones happy far beyond serving them delicious food. Effortlessly helping them get dressed in fabulous-looking clothing, and watching their eyes light up when they look in the mirror is all I need to know that my elders feel loved.
But not just any clothing will do. Just like my pasta sauce, everything must be perfect. When an particular line of adaptive clothing gets over 1750 four-star reviews (out of a 4-star rating) that means a great deal to me – the company has gone to great lengths to create a superior product. Their values are the same as mine. Only the best will do.
As hard as caregiving can be at times, spending quality time with my elderly loved ones is what I always strive for. Every moment I can do something to bring joy into their lives makes it all worthwhile.