The Kindred Spirit Blog
  • Easy ways to Make Family Mealtime Part of Your Routine

    February 26, 2016
    By Caroline South Family, Mealtime, Routine

    Whether you are caring for an aging loved one, taking care of your own family or just trying to maximize quality time with family and friends, finding time to sit down and enjoy a home cooked meal can be exhausting. While difficult, there are several reasons you should try to keep a regularly scheduled family meal in your routine.

    When you may feel overwhelmed with caregiving responsibilities, allowing yourself to relax your mind and communicate about family happenings can lower your stress and even provide laughter. Or, being able to talk openly about your schedule and what you can and cannot do can help your family understand how to better support you.


    There are also nutritional benefits to sitting down for a home-cooked meal. While caring for family and loved ones, meals can often come out of convenience rather than planning. Family meals provide dishes prepared with fresh ingredients, and eating slowly at a table aids in digestion. 

    Here are some other tips to help make family’s mealtime easier to fit into your schedule.

    Plan ahead. Create a schedule for your family to help keep everyone accountable. By establishing a routine, everyone will know in advance when they need to set aside time for the family.

    The meal doesn’t have to be dinner.
    For many families, sitting down to eat dinner together seven nights a week just isn’t possible. Aim to have family dinner as you’re able to. If dinner isn’t possible, try for breakfast in the morning or family lunch on the weekend.

    Meal prep. Planning ahead doesn’t mean just creating a schedule. Ask for help from family members in preparing meals. When appropriate, each family member could be responsible for a week of preparing the meal.

    Also planning ahead of time can ease the burden of cooking for the whole family. Try preparing meals during the weekend when you have more free time, or try cooking something like a casserole that can be frozen and served later.

    Prepare meals together. One great way to involve the whole family and spend more time together is to prepare dinner together. Try a family recipe that will provide comfort and familiarity to everyone at the table.

    Make the most of your time together. Quality time with the whole family can be rare and you want to get the most out of the time you have together. Make sure to keep outside distractions away from the table. This means turning off the TV and leaving other electronics like smart phones or iPads away from the dinner table. Mealtime is the perfect time to connect and catch up with the people who matter most.

    You’ll be surprised how a simple change in your routine can improve relationships with your family members. If you have questions about your family’s healthcare needs, call 1.866.KINDRED to speak with a Registered Nurse 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

    Joann Smith Permalink
    May 27, 2016 12:37 PM

    What does your hospice staff offer families who have a loved one in a nursing home. So far my experience is I have no emotional support from them. All meetings are done at the nursing home on your teams time schedule and my own health concerns are not taken into account. I am still relying more on the nursing home for support than your organization. Have been involved in Hospice personally and professionally. This team in Florida doesn't meet my expectations. Standard statement call if you need anything is old and there is no consideration for the family.

    Maggie C Permalink
    May 27, 2016 12:51 PM

    Hi, Joann - we are so sorry to hear that you are not having your expectations met. Can you tell us what facility you are experiencing this at? Feel free to email us at . We also recommend calling our hotline at 1-866-KINDRED (546-3733). There, you can speak with a registered nurse 24/7 to find guidance and help you find what you are looking for in hospice care/nursing homes. Maggie C., Community Mgr

    Jo Ann Permalink
    May 31, 2016 8:19 AM

    Joann my experience with hospice in the nursing home is about the same as yours. All meetings are in the nursing home. Instead of being supportive I feel that hospice has just added more people to the situation that I deal with. The hospice nurse is always in a hurry to see the next patient. I never know when they are going to be at the facility and I am still left to deal with the nursing home staff. The hospice nurse relies on nursing home staff for all information. I have not been called by anyone at hospice to see if I may need help. The standard saying is call if you need anything. Then when I call no one seems to be aware of who my husband is or I am put on hold to hear how wonderful everyone is! I don't call for help anymore. As a family member I feel left out in the cold. Everyone is in a hurry but make sure we get the signature even when they didn't show up for a meeting that the facility called. Not happy with "support" for family doesn't ecsist

    Bob R. Permalink
    June 06, 2016 1:56 PM

    What do hospice volunteers do for family members who have a loved one in a nursing home? My father is in a VA nursing home and NO one besides the nursing home staff is there to help and we have never seen a volunteer or had anyone volunteer to do anything. Is this just a money making machine? Hospice in a nursing home is a burden.

    Bob R Permalink
    June 08, 2016 8:42 AM

    Call about hotline They said they would investigate. I personally am not holding out for any results but maybe they will get the idea patients and families at a nursing home are more than just a pit stop.

    Jenna Permalink
    June 07, 2016 8:30 AM

    The hospice team in Panama City Florida gives NO support to the families of loved ones in a nursing home! I have witnessed this first hand! Everything is done in the facility nothing is offered to the family outside of the facility. These families need help and support. They should not be forced to ask for help it should be offered. I have worked and volunteered with a hospice but not one like this

    Mark Permalink
    June 10, 2016 8:01 AM

    Jenna: can you send me your contact info, so that I can personally follow up? Email me here:, Mark Murdock, Social Media Director, Kindred Healthcare

    John Permalink
    June 07, 2016 9:26 AM

    Emerald Coast Hospice offers no support for the families in a nursing home. I work in one they cover and they are in and out of the facility like a flash. They make no prior arrangements to meet with the family at a specific time. They just show up expecting the family to be there. There is no first hand observation of patients by hospice they rely totally on nursing home observations yet claim to be experts in palliative care. How can they when they don't spend enough time with patients? Most of the patients have Alzheimer's or Dementia. The family and nursing home staff are left to figure things out. Families are disappointed with this hospice. Or you just don't find the nursing home setting important enough

    JoAnn Permalink
    June 10, 2016 7:05 AM

    John your observations of this Hospice is spot on!!!! Hurry hurry or no show! NO support for families at all. I was led to believe I was the only person disatisfied with this Hospice. If they can't or won't offer help/support in the nursing home they should not offer the service. I have never received a call from this hospice concerning my husband or myself.

    Mark Permalink
    June 10, 2016 8:00 AM

    John: can you send me your contact info, so that I can personally follow up? Email me here:, Mark Murdock, Social Media Director, Kindred Healthcare

    Bob Permalink
    June 11, 2016 6:37 AM

    John do you work at the VA nursing home in Panama City? Emerald Coast are always telling the families at this nursing home that their hands are tied because it is a VA facility. But family support can be and some should be done out side of the facility. I'm not sure how tied their hands are or just more excuses Has anyone else registered or voiced any complaints?

    Bob Permalink
    June 12, 2016 8:16 AM

    Did you leave the info with Kindered? Maybe they will listen to a nursing home staff member more than the families. Had a problem yesterday at the home but didn't want to be put on hold by Emerald Coast Hospice. Dealt with the problem myself. I am considering changing agencies. Can't get much worse than these people.

    Bob R. Permalink
    June 10, 2016 7:23 AM

    What is Kindered going to do with this situation in Panama City? Keep ignoring everyone. My call to the compliance line was just as unsatisfactory as the service in the nursing home. I wish my father was at home and with a different Hospice.

    Bob. Permalink
    June 12, 2016 5:48 PM

    I told to contact via social media even gave them my e-mail. No response oh forgot contacted them on a Friday off for the weekend while the rest of us are with our loved ones at the nursing home. These people are a joke and money hungry. Has anyone read about their volunteers?

    Maggie Cunningham Permalink
    June 13, 2016 10:03 AM

    Hi, Bob. Unfortunately we didn’t receive an email from you on Friday. We do take your concerns seriously, and we are available 7 days a week. We would like the opportunity to provide any assistance possible. Can you please resend your email? You can cc me directly @ so that we can expedite this resolution for you! - Magge C., Community Mgr

    JoAnn Permalink
    June 14, 2016 1:36 PM

    Their "volunteer" coordinator called me once to welcome me. Haven't heard from them since. Again no one wants to come into a nursing home setting or think the families need help. I couldn't get an email through.

    JoAnn Permalink
    June 15, 2016 4:15 PM

    This is my last post about Emerald Coast Hospice. No use in emailing your complaints to them! Their response is we want to meet with you REALLY? Again get in the car and meet at the facility, take time from my husband or while I carry on with what little life I have? Like grocery shopping, paying bills, going to my own doctors appointments and somewhere I try to find time to sleep. No no more meetings and the next person to tell me to call them will get an ear full on the spot.

    Kay Permalink
    June 20, 2016 9:45 AM


    Don't blame you for the attitude! I think I know who you by site at the nursing home. I have observed Emerald Coast Hospice first hand and when the time comes they will not be the one's I contact! I wish you more help and peace. These people don't seem to get that nursing homes are difficult at anytime in your life let alone the end. Keep that beautiful smile of yours going you brighten up our days under extremely hard circumstances.

    Maggie Cunningham Permalink
    June 20, 2016 10:15 AM

    Hi, Kay. We would like to hear more about your experience with Emerald Coast and take your concerns seriously. Please email us at , you can also copy me directly at .
    -Maggie C., Community Mgr

    Tina Permalink
    June 20, 2016 1:41 PM

    Why would anyone contact you? It is obvious your not listening! Emerald Coast Hospice stinks at Sims VA Nursing Home. The families aren't supported, they bother the nursing home staff more than they deal with the family. I have seen families sit for hours waiting on them and the only spend a few moments with them. I have NEVER seen a hospice volunteer come into this facility! But you want to honor our Veterans! Right!! Why bother these poor families

    Maggie Cunningham Permalink
    June 20, 2016 4:04 PM

    ‘Hi, Tina. In order for us to communicate with the facilities and offices you have concerns with, we need to have more information. The people who are communicating with you via this page are not employees of Emerald Coast Hospice, but rather, Kindred Healthcare which recently acquired Emerald Coast. It is our goal to make sure that families are supported, in and out of a nursing home setting. We can only do that with the help of people like you and the others commenting on this blog or anywhere else. The email addresses that you can send your concerns to are , , and . From there we will communicate with the facilities and offices in question to better the hospice experience for all parties involved.’

    Billie Permalink
    June 22, 2016 2:39 AM

    Why don't you ask the families how you satisfied they are with you. It is obvious that some people working in the nursing home. Bob mentioned a VA facility it is called Sims and if the administration of that facility found out they were talking on social media they would be fired. Get someone from your organization down there and see and hear what is going on. Your making money at these people expense. The situation is complicated at Sims with one of your employees dating a nurse and causing problems. I

    Bob Permalink
    June 22, 2016 2:54 AM

    Sims VA nursing home get's treated like a second class citizen. Why doesn't Kindred with all it's money make an inspection tour? Who over see's Kindred? Employees at Sim can't talk on social media or they will lose their jobs. Other nursing homes I am not sure of But you people need to go sit in these facilities and talk to the FAMILIES. Sims also has a conflict of interest with one of your nurse's dating one at the facility. Get down here and see for yourself sit with these families and wait with the while they wait for your team members to
    Show up. Why do you have a paid volunteer coordinator a full time job but doesn't get out into the field to meet familis in a nursing home. Get off your Butts come Sims VA.

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