People who are new to living alone may not yet know this, but loneliness can affect their time at the dinner table. An empty table can make it harder to focus on the importance of eating well and eating healthy, especially for elders.
Nine times out of ten, these people are missing companionship. At its core, eating is no longer a social experience, which means they have lost the spur to make an effort. It is vital to get them to find joy in preparing food for themselves, and start seeing this as a valuable part of their day, or life in general.
Health Risks In Seniors
Loneliness can lead to other problems, which cause people to skip meals or make the unhealthy transition to convenience foods. Some even start taking mono-meals, which is when they have the same thing for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
No fruits or vegetables are consumed, and besides being poor in nutrition, the food also lacks variety. This usually leads to deficiency in vitamins, fiber, protein, and calcium. In elders, this is almost always followed by poor digestion, weight loss, bone problems, and fatigue.
Getting Better Nutrition
Oder adults can be motivated into eating better foods by reminding them it gives more energy. While good health may not be a lasting motivator, people will want to be able to move around when they feel like it, and elders can be hooked to the idea if you mention hobbies or family visits.
The simpler you keep a healthy meal, the more attractive it becomes, and likelier to hold as part of a regular diet. Get them to prepare and consume at least three meals a day, and set general nutrition goals for them to follow.
- A fourth of the plate should have proteins, preferably of the lean type.
- Another fourth should be whole grain, like wild rice or whole-wheat.
- Half of the plate should be vegetables, including broccoli. To balance that, throw in a fruit or yogurt.
Any major meal only has to approach the nutrition goals. This means the elder could be eating a grilled cheese and tomato sandwich on whole-wheat bread, coupled with a fruit. Another good choice is egg on whole-grain toast, with yogurt on the side. Then there is whole-grain waffle and whole grain waffle, and a glass of milk.