Senior-woman-with-caregiver-eating-meal-at-home-[400x600]The average person will eat around 80,000 meals in their lifetime, which makes it easy to view meals as another item on the to-do list. For caregivers, who are usually trying to squeeze a full day of chores into a few hours, it can be difficult to spend time on meal preparation, especially when they know they’ll just have to do the dishes afterward.

As part of our Quality Satisfaction Management Program, Home Care Pulse conducts interviews with the clients of home care businesses to gauge their satisfaction level with the services they’re receiving. Something we frequently hear from these clients is how they would love it if their caregiver knew how to cook their favorite foods. When viewed in cultural context, it makes perfect sense. Most holidays and social events involve food, and many foods have even been proven to raise our spirits. Ensuring your caregivers know the basics of cooking can go a long way in turning your clients into your best promoters.

To prepare your caregivers for the cooking they may be doing in clients’ homes, hold a caregiver training session or sessions and teach them the basics. We’ve heard instances of caregivers not even knowing how to make a grilled cheese sandwich, so teaching the basics of American cuisine is a great start. Some things you could cover may include:

  • Various ways to cook an egg: boiled, fried, scrambled, poached, etc. How to make French toast, pancakes or waffles.
  • How to make oatmeal or grits.
  • How to make a grilled cheese sandwich and other basic sandwiches.
  • How to boil pasta and make various pasta dishes: macaroni and cheese, spaghetti, etc.
  • How to make biscuits or other simple breads.
  • How to cook vegetables.
  • How to make a baked potato or mashed potatoes and gravy.
  • How to cook various meats: hamburger patties, chicken, ham, steak, roast, etc.
  • How to cook rice.
  • How to make Jell-O or pudding.
  • Various simple desserts, like chocolate chip cookies or cake.

You may even consider putting together a small cookbook for your caregivers to use, or perhaps keep a collection of cookbooks in your office for caregivers to borrow and use as they practice their cooking skills.

grilled-cheese-[320x202]There are also a lot of great resources online for learning cooking basics and gathering recipes. Use these sources during your training or encourage caregivers to visit these websites and continue learning. Here are some examples:

  1. The Better Homes and Gardens website has a section full of cooking basics.
  2. has a huge collection of recipes.
  3. YouTube has a lot of videos that will walk you step-by-step through many cooking basics, such as the “Beginning guide to cooking: Learn the basics” by Brothers Green Eats. Or “You’re Doing It All Wrong: How to Make a Grilled Cheese Sandwich” by Chow.

As you train caregivers to cook your clients’ favorite foods, you could also teach basic shopping tips. If caregivers are helping clients with the grocery shopping, they may need to know what basic foods to have on hand at all times or where to find certain foods in the grocery store.

Your training session could also serve as a chance for caregivers to get-together, share cooking tips, and socialize. Make it fun!

Food brings us together—and it is a great way to bring a caregiver and client together. Your clients will be happy to have a caregiver who can cook their favorite foods, and your caregivers will be prepared for their job. It’s a recipe for success!


  1. Mary Hanna October 2, 2014 at 6:35 pm - Reply

    An often overlooked aspect of quality of care for an elderly person. Very simple old fashion recipes are the most requested. A Caregiver knowing the basics of cooking can turn a satisfied client into a very happy client. Great advice, thank you for the article.

  2. Peter S. October 2, 2014 at 8:27 pm - Reply

    Not only the food being nutritious but how it is presented within daily structure of the elderly person who will, on their own, underfeed or actually starve themselves to death. I’ve seen quality care go from excellent to fatal within 3 months of greedy people scrambling for position with a millionaire widow who had no children. So the Powers of Attorney decided to go with two women who already receive government assistance and pay them $6.00/hr. to care for a 102 year old. The caretaker who was let go, established a healthy routine with her, that included taking her to Sunday School, Church and Special Events important to the client. 3 Meal times, snacks, ensure and hydration were the backbone of the day. This kept the 102 year old who even had two hip replacements, moving often enough to maintain muscle strength, while not straining her. They paid this caretaker $8.00/hr. So folks, if you really care to preserve an elderly loved one, especially the ones responsible for bringing you here on earth, make sure you select only quality caregivers who are professional.

    Here’s another tip for using in-home care from a locally known independent caregiver to an agency: Purchase a cheap but effect home monitoring system where you can monitor each room, except the caregivers quarters. It should be good enough where you can check in on your loved one with your smartphone. You present upfront to caregiver or agency where cameras are placed and provide access for caregiver or agency to the monitoring on their smartphones as well. It should be agreed that both parties have access to any recordings of the monitoring. Also, take inventory of all your loved ones personal objects, valuable or not and audit initially a week from new caregiver beginning then bi-weekly, monthly and maintain a quarterly audit.

  3. ed March 3, 2021 at 12:05 pm - Reply

    Great Information. I am interested in helping seniors. One way is to help seniors is in the kitchen with their food. Are there any concerns that would prohibit a senior from using your ideas? I enjoyed your post and will be coming back. Be safe

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