As parents, we spend years working toward our children moving out and living independently. Many live in apartments or town homes with a room mate. Some live alone. Others live with a group of people similar to college students - sharing space and splitting the bills, but taking care of their own cooking and shopping. Others still live in a group home setting. Even there, the shopping and menu planning can (and should) be something everyone's involved with.
The real magic of all this is coordinating everyone involved! It is rare that an adult with Down syndrome or IDD does everything involved with food (planning, shopping, preparing, eating, cleaning) on their own. That means there's more than just Mom and Dad involved in the process. For many, programs such as Dropbox, Google Docs, and iCloud have helped with this process. However that still means keeping track of a file that may need input and editing a number of times.
Is there an easier way?
I think there is!
I've recently started using a website (and it's apps) to do coordinate people around the task.
With one website, I can work with someone to plan a menu around their preferences, include or create recipes, and create a master shopping list. I sync this with everyone involved. The list is then compared to i tems on hand and updated. Other nonfood items needed at the store are added to the list. The list automatically syncs for the entire team. The shopping team opens the app on their smart phone or iPad at the store, marking items as they are added to the cart. Then, when a menu is prepared, the cooking team brings up the menu, clicks on the recipe and a meal is made!
The real beauty is in the sync. Whether your "team" consists of one or 12 different people, when recipes, menus, and lists are updated, it updates for everyone. If someone forgets their smart phone, they can print the list off the website or log in with a different device! It's all ready to go.
The recipes are not customized for those who struggle with reading or who need more visual cues, so any modifications to that still need to be made. However, in many cases - whether I think it's best practice or not - instructions are verbally given to someone. In this case, the app will do the job.
The best part?
I'm still working out the processes with my own team. I'll fill you in as I go along! If you don't want to wait, head to the website and try it out:
Here's a link to my latest crockpot recipe: Pulled Pork (I am not sure I can share this link this way, so let me know if you can't get to it).
PS: Ziplist has a great feature to add recipes to your recipe box as well. You can keep your recipes private or share them with the world. It also allows you to "clip" recipes from websites with one click. I tell you, this thing is great.