It seems as though a new diet debuts every year or so, complete with menus and tips that promise a swift path to a healthier life. But for lonely older adults, few food plans focus on the one ingredient most miss: companionship.
According to the latest Surgeon General advisory, a lack of companionship can increase the risk of premature death due to health issues by more than 60%.
A companion who is involved in the meal process may minimize these risks for loneliness that can lead to poor nutrition, noted Home Instead, Inc., Gerontologist and Caregiver Advocate Dr. Lakelyn Eichenberger.
Call it the companionship “diet.” A companionship diet plan is more than a health trend, Eichenberger explained. It’s a mind shift that offers an older adult a partner to help navigate the entire dining experience, from meal planning to enjoying a meal together.
According to Home Instead, Inc. research:
- U.S. older adults who eat most of their meals alone are more than twice as likely to be lonely (42%) than those who eat most of their meals with others (19%).
- Lonely older adults are twice as likely to skip meals because they do not have the desire to eat.
- 60% of lonely older adults in the U.S. (67% in Canada) already are not getting the right amount of at least one element of nutrition.
- Older adults who eat most of their meals without a companion are 42% more likely to have feelings of loneliness.
- Lonely older adults in the U.S. receive 157 fewer servings of fruit and vegetables per year than those who are socially connected.
- Check out the resources below to learn more about the Companionship DietSM.