Ideal Caregivers 4u



Month: December 2020

Love These Leafy Greens!

We have often heard how important eating our vegetables are to our health and well-being, but we don’t always know which ones are best for us or how to cook them!

Now, you can’t go wrong adding any type of vegetable into your diet, but we gathered a list of nutrient-rich leafy greens that you can start to add to your meals today!

Here are our Top 5 Leafy Greens!

#5 Collard Greens

These healthy little green leaves are rich with nutrients such as vitamins A, C, K and rich in calcium and folate. Collard greens provide nearly twice the amount of calcium as spinach and are high in potassium and magnesium, too. They are great for a salad or to have as a side with most mealtime dishes. Collards are best when steamed and cooked to unlock their nutritional value and aid digestion.

#4 Spinach

For those of us that remember Popeye, spinach is his favourite green and there are reasons for that! This dark green is high in vitamins A and C as well as folate. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, a 180 gram serving of boiled spinach provides 6.43 milligrams of iron or approximately one-third of your recommended daily intake. Spinach is best consumed in omelets, soups and other cooked dishes because it’s high in oxalates, but with its subtle taste, it can easily be added to your favourite fruit smoothie or protein shake!

#3 Kale

Kale has developed a reputation for being one of the most healthy plant foods available and is often ranked #1 among its leafy peers. With a high level of nutrients in its leaves, Kale is an excellent source of vitamins A, C, and K, and contains ample calcium, folate and potassium. Kale can be a bit difficult to chew when raw, so try rubbing the leaves in olive oil, or lightly steaming with olive oil and garlic before eating them. Kale chips also make a nutritious and tasty snack!

#2 Cabbage

Some call this nutrient-packed green the “multivitamin of plants!” and for good reason. Cabbage is rich in antioxidants, high in fibre, and Vitamin C. This leafy green can also help reduce inflammation, aid digestion, and keep your heart healthy. Cabbage can be eaten raw in slaws, salads or fermented to make sauerkraut. It can even be boiled and cooked with meat in many cabbage roll recipes.

#1 Dandelion Greens

To some, this determined little weed that appears in our garden is seen as a nuisance, but to many around the world, their medicinal properties outweigh any sacrifice made to your lawn. Dandelions have been used to help purify the blood, boost the digestive process, improve elimination, support liver and kidney function, and much more! They are an excellent source of vitamins A, C and K. They also contain vitamin E, folate, and rich in antioxidants. Due to their bitter taste, they are best consumed cooked or paired with sweet fruit/dressings if used raw in a salad. You may also look for dried dandelion tea!

Whatever your choice, adding a variety of leafy greens will keep you healthy and strong as you age.

Ham & Lentil Soup

Wondering what to do with your leftover baked ham?! Try this delicious lentil soup with a twist!


  • 2 cups red lentils

  • 1 cup cooked pasta (small) or 1 cup diced, cooked potato

  • 1 cup cooked ham, chopped/diced

  • 2 carrots, diced

  • 2 celery stalks, diced

  • 1/2 onion, diced

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 tsp salt

  • 1 tsp cumin

  • 1 Tbsp dried parsley or finely chopped fresh

  • Water


  1. Pre-cook the pasta or potatoes ahead of time and set aside.

  2. Wash and peel and cut the celery, carrots, and onion. Set aside.

  3. Trim the fat and dice cooked ham Set aside.

  4. Sift lentils, checking for dry peel, stones and other objects not to be found later in the soup. Wash and drain.

  5. Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.

  6. Sauté the ham, onions, celery, and carrots in olive oil till slightly brown.

  7. Add the lentils and stir until coated with the oil.

  8. Add enough water to cover half the pot or just above the ingredients, adding salt. Let boil, checking to make sure water doesn’t dry out and soup doesn’t thicken.

  9. When veggies and lentils are soft, add the Pasta or the Potatoes and stir in another cup of water.

  10. Add the Parsley and spices and let it boil on medium heat.

  11. Lower heat again and stir occasionally as starch from the pasta or potatoes will make it thicker and it will stick to the bottom. Add water when necessary.

Noisemaker Craft for NYE!

The start of the new year is approaching and what better way to celebrate the end of 2020 than by making a lot of noise!

Usher in the new year with this fun New Years’ Eve noisemaker craft using some household items and a little creativity. For full instructions, click here.

Here’s what you need:

  • 2 sturdy paper plates

  • wax paper

  • confetti, glitter, small bells, or anything that is festive and/or makes noise

  • hot glue gun

  • Exacto knife

  • number stickers or paint

Here’s what to do:

  1. Draw, Paint or stick the numbers 2021 onto the backside of the paper plate.

  2. Cut out a star shape, or shape of your choice (about 4-inches) and place it onto the paper plate. ** Be careful when cutting with an Exacto knife **

  3. Flip over the paper plate and hot glue a piece of wax paper covering the star hole.

  4. Place the confetti and glitter in the space of the wax paper. Place another piece of wax paper over the confetti and glue it down. (If you don’t do this step, it will still make noise, but you can’t see the pretty confetti very well.)

  5. Then add more confetti to the paper plate. We also put in 4 bells to make some noise.

  6. Next, glue another paper plate on the backside. Make sure there are NO openings or the items may fall out!

  7. Lastly, if you want it to look super sparkly, paint it with glitter paint!

Singing is Good for the Soul

You have probably noticed that since around Thanksgiving, we have heard Christmas carols throughout retail stores, radio stations, and television, but did you know that music, and in turn, singing is actually beneficial to our health?

Singing can significantly help seniors afflicted with neurological diseases by improving brain functionality. Singing is also a great activity that produces more oxygen in the blood, improves circulation and deep breathing, resulting in less stress and more “feel good” hormones.

Especially as the holiday season can be a source of loneliness and sadness, singing those well-known childhood favourites can make a difference in the lives of seniors. Its benefits include the development and maintenance of friendships, increased happiness, uplifting and positive feelings, and reduced anxiety.

So crank up those old favourites and sing along! If you don’t know the lyrics, here is one of our favourite tunes you may remember!


Eggnog Pudding

There is no shortage of holiday recipes online, but this one caught our eye…and our taste buds!

Try this delicious treat with a Christmas staple – eggnog! It may be an acquired taste to some, but when combined with spiced rum, and fragrant cinnamon and nutmeg – you can’t go wrong! 

Eggnog Pudding

Serves: 8

For the full recipe, click here



  • 1 1/2 cup eggnog

  • 1/4 cup spiced Rum (optional)

  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream

  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar

  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted


  1. Combine instant vanilla pudding mix with eggnog, rum, cinnamon and nutmeg. Whisk until powder dissolves. Refrigerate until pudding is firm, about 10 minutes.

  2. Put the bowl and whisk in the freezer for 5-10 minutes to chill. Beat the heavy cream on medium-high speed for several minutes until soft peaks form.

  3. Add powdered sugar and beat on medium-high until stiff peaks form. Refrigerate whipped cream until you are ready to use.

  4. Take 2 cups of the whipped cream and fold into the prepared pudding, stir to combine. Put the mousse in a Ziploc bag and refrigerate until you are ready to use. Save remaining Whipped Cream to top the parfaits with.

  5. Use a food processor to grind graham crackers into a fine crumb. Combine the graham crackers crumbs with melted butter and stir to combine.

  6. To assemble, place 1-2 tablespoons of graham crackers in the bottom of the individual jars. Cut a small hole in the corner of the Ziploc bag and fill the jar with eggnog mousse. Top mousse with a dollop of the leftover whipped cream and sprinkle with nutmeg. Individual jars must stay refrigerated until ready to serve.

Pasta Christmas Wreath

Nowadays you can buy just about any shape, size, and colour dried pasta, however, did you ever think to use them as a piece of art?

Back in the day “macaroni art” or “macaroni necklaces” were all the rage in a primary classroom during the holidays, so why not put a spin on it as an adult and create your own Christmas craft!?

Searching for “pasta Christmas craft” online has rendered me speechless just by the sheer number of creative, colourful, and fun ways to use pasta for this holiday. So we decided to share one to inspire you to give pasta art a second go-around as an adult. Try it with your loved ones in assisted living, long-term care, or at home!

Pasta Christmas Wreath 


  • Bow tie pasta, dry (choose a festive colour, if available)

  • 1 White paper plate

  • Hot glue gun or strong craft glue

  • Spray paint or acrylic paint and brushes (gold, green, red, or festive colours of your choice!)

  • Embellishments, such as tiny bells, glitter glue, small acorns, etc.

  • Scissors and a pencil

  • Newspaper or paper towels for clean up


If you prefer, we have also provided a slideshow of visual instructions below, but here’s how easy it is!

  1. Using the paper plate, cut a circle in the center to create a ring or “wreath” base. If you wish to hang your wreath when complete, make sure to place a small hole at the top and tie it with ribbon as a reminder not to cover that area with pasta!

  2. With the glue, raw a ring around the whole opening, going around the paper plate in a circular manner

  3. Quickly place the dried pasta and secure it at the middle of the “bow-tie” and arrange it along the glue line.

  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 until your paper plate ring is covered with pasta! You can be creative in its arrangement to make it unique to your personality or that of your loved one.

  5. Once dry, using a paintbrush and acrylic paints, brush your festive colours onto the pasta. Don’t worry about getting into all of the nooks and crannies of your pasta, as it will create some depth to your 3D art.

  6. You also have the option to spray paint your wreath, however, keep in mind this must be done outdoors or in a well-ventilated area. Protect yourself by wearing goggles, a mask, and clothing you don’t mind getting messy!

  7. Once the paint is dry, use your glue to further decorate your wreath with your chosen embellishments and set it aside to dry.

  8. Hang or display it in an area to admire it during the holidays!

Click on our slideshow below for visual directions:

Baked Salmon by Zaki Dahdah

What’s for dinner tonight Ottawa?


Health benefits of salmon

  • Great Source of Protein

  • Rich in Omega-3 Fatty

  • Acids Good Source of Potassium

  • High in B Vitamins

  • Loaded With Selenium

  • It contains the antioxidant

  • Astaxanthin – May Reduce the Risk of Heart Disease

  • Maintains healthy weight control

 Ideal Caregivers 4u offers In-home Mealtime Assistance Program (MAP) prepared and created meals by our personal caregivers to provide optimal assistance to all your loved ones who are no longer able to cook for themselves, forget to eat or need help to eat at mealtime.

Senior Loneliness During the Holidays

For many of us, this is a season of joyful celebration, the gathering of friends and family, and the sharing of traditional meals, desserts and stories. But for some, especially this year, it can be a time of sadness remembering those whom we’ve lost and those who are unable to visit.

For the elderly, especially those in long-term care facilities, the holidays can place a tremendous amount of anxiety, sadness, confusion, and loneliness. Many families have struggled this year in trying to visit their loved ones in care facilities, nursing homes, and even private homes due to COVID restrictions. This making this particular year especially challenging.

Remind your loved ones that although you may not be able to come together as you once did, you are still thinking about them. Share your photos, stories, and festive feasts through phone calls and video chats. Send then Christmas cards, treats, and photos in the mail. Check with your loved one’s facility director to see if window visits can be arranged or even limited visits with immediate family members are possible.

Feelings of loneliness may not manifest themselves the same way with every person. Some may exhibit negative and challenging behaviours as they cannot express themselves verbally, others may share stories of loved ones who have passed and express how much they are missed, and some just may want you to listen as they share their memories while holding your hand.

Here are a few ways to help reduce your senior loved one with feelings of loneliness during the holidays.