Hints from Heloise

Heloise, syndicated columnist

Dear Heloise: I feel so sorry for residents in assisted living or nursing homes. All too many families look upon these two places to warehouse the elderly, never bothering to visit their loved ones or take them out to lunch or dinner someplace. Many don’t even pick up the telephone to call and ask if their relative is enjoying life, needs to go shopping or would like to take a drive.

For Mother’s Day, we see deliveries of plants and cut flowers, but that doesn’t take the place of a caring son or daughter who visits their parents. The elderly usually have enough dusting powder, slippers and candy. Or someone will give them a very large bottle of shampoo without any thought to the weight of the bottle or the residents’ inability to pick up heavy items.

I’ve seen many of our residents in tears over the neglect and thoughtless actions of their adult children. The elderly want to be remembered with phone calls (and don’t be in a hurry to get off the phone). Even small daily news that seems mundane to us is important to them.

Take your family member out to dinner or, better yet, invite them to your home for a home-cooked meal. Make sure your children help out, because it might be you sitting in a nursing home or an assisted living facility someday. Would you want to be ignored by them? If not, then show them how to appreciate the stories the elderly tell. Ask them questions: How did you and dad meet? What was your wedding like? What made you decide to leave the farm or the city? — A Reader in Ohio


Dear Heloise: I get so many beautiful gift bags and tissue paper that I started saving all of it for reuse. It seemed wasteful to not recycle them. I carefully fold them and store the gift bags in a small rack that was designed to hold pot lids or large serving platters. Then, I take the tissue paper and iron it on the coolest setting, and it comes out like new. I fold it away as well and reuse it for gifts or crimple it and use as padding for things I mail.

Not only am I saving money by reusing those gift bags, but I’m reducing the amount of waste going into our landfills, which is becoming a serious problem in our country. — Margaret H., Edmond, Oklahoma


Dear Heloise: I make a large amount of trail mix for my family to snack on while they’re out. I use various nuts, dried berries and fruit, and seeds, but no candy. Sometimes I even slip in a few dried veggies.

Rather than have my kids eat junk food that’s filled with sugar and fat, I make a baggie with my homemade trail mix for them to snack on. It works great if we’re out sightseeing, on a long drive somewhere or at a beach. It’s also far more economical than what stores are now charging for a simple candy bar or chips. — Ava W., Lafayette, Louisiana

EDITOR’S NOTE: If you like ideas that make your dinners special, you’ll love my pamphlet “Heloise’s Seasonings, Sauces and Substitutes.” The best meals have just the right amount of seasoning, and my pamphlet tells you just how to use those seasonings. To get a copy, go to www.Heloise.com or send $3, along with a stamped, self-addressed, long envelope to: Heloise/Seasonings, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279- 5001. — Heloise


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