Tuesday, September 11, 2012

National TV Dinner Day

Who knew that September 10th was National TV Dinner Day? In our story it was purely coincidental that this homage to American family fine dining would collide with expanding my experiments with caring and the culinary arts.

Two months ago I began my experiments with finger food to hopefully prolong Patti’s ability to self-feed.

Two months ago I accompanied the earliest experiments in self feeding with verbal cueing … now here I was preparing to experiment with introducing TV to eating.  

Whatever … with nothing more than monitoring, Patti safely and enjoyably self-fed herself the evening’s finger food bowl of fresh fruit, boneless buffalo wings, and cheddar cheese … while watching the Simpsons followed by the evening news.

Again I attribute much success to cutting everything into varying shapes and sizes along with the differences in touch to the textures of fruit, poultry, and cheese. Let’s face it licking one’s fingers after buffalo wings is something that gets your attention.

Distractions while eating for Patti with her Multiple Sclerosis related dysphagia can be dangerous to fatal. However what I have always found is that it is the kind of distraction. Large gatherings involving meals are audio and cognitive over- stimulation. For people with cognitive or dysphagia symptoms frankly it is more about trying to survive than ever enjoying a noisy busy dinner.

I am not saying TV is a substitute for anything.  What I am saying is that I was able to introduce a variable, a single ‘distraction’, into my experiments with finger food for self-feeding without a problem for Patti. … In fact she surprised me when she discussed some news stories during commercials. Perhaps engaged might be a better word than distraction?

In the care facility era I look for symptoms I especially can have a unique ‘hands on’ impact with. I can no longer do it all but I can do some of it now even better.

by Patrick Leer
Caregivingly Yours, MS Caregiver @ http://caregivinglyyours.blogspot.com/


  1. I think what you're doing is wonderful, Patrick. I wanted to ask if they do any follow-ups at Patti's facility. When you tell them about your experiments, do they become interested and want to continue the experience?
    Although it's a totally different situation, I find that when I try different things at my mother's home, I like to share any success stories. Rarely do they follow up on any of them. Just wondering...


    1. Yes they do depending on therapy budget for Patti. As an American with MS receiving Medicare she is entitled to x amount of therapy (occupational, speech, and physical. They have an in house therapy department who is always welcoming to families their ideas and experiences.

  2. This is thoughtful of you...I hope she improves. Always

  3. You are doing well and Thanks for sharing your experience..

  4. Excellent post and wonderful blog, I really like this type of interesting articles keep it u.
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