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April 11, 2022

Why Everyone is Talking About the Benefits of Eating Together

Written By: Klay Huddleston, Franchise Owner, Home Instead
Trilogy Health Services Culinary Olympics Team

What Are The Benefits of Eating Together?

Blog Key Takeaways

  • Nutrition contributes significantly to seniors’ overall physical and emotional health.
  • Seniors who eat most of their meals alone are twice as likely to feel lonely as seniors who eat most of their meals with others.
  • Eating or preparing a meal alone vs. with a companion or group can impact the type of food older adults eat at mealtime.
  • Research conducted by Home Instead suggests enjoying meals with loved ones can improve overall nutrition and reduce feelings of isolation and depression.
  • To help seniors and families combat loneliness, especially at mealtime, Home Instead, conducted research and developed free tips and resources, available at www.homeinstead.com/companionshipdiet

I was struck recently by the amount of positive energy and togetherness I experienced while judging the Trilogy Health Services Culinary Olympics, a competition for the talented chefs of this senior community operator here in the Midwest.  The event, hosted at the beautiful Norwich Springs Health Campus in Hilliard, OH, was an absolute feast of amazing dishes prepared in front of us by the head chefs from each of the Central Ohio Trilogy properties. It was a very tough job as a judge as everything was delicious, but an amazing Beef Wellington really stood out in the end.

Home Instead of Delaware County Owner Klay Huddleston judging a food competition Chef serving food to seniors

What really made this day special though was the community all coming together for a live event. After a long hard pandemic just the simple act of eating together really filled my cup.

The residents of the Trilogy properties are very lucky to have amazing chefs and a vibrant community around them. However, many seniors do not have the luxury of eating together and the importance of this ‘companionship’ while eating is often taken for granted. The simple act of preparing food and eating together has a positive impact on all of us, but especially older adults.  

Loneliness Impacts Nutrition

A recent Home Instead survey showed seniors who eat most of their meals alone are twice as likely to feel lonely as seniors who eat most of their meals with others. In fact, 42% of seniors who eat most of their meals alone feel lonely. Fewer, 19% of seniors who eat most of their meals with others, feel lonely.

Based on these stats this loneliness obviously impacts their lives and health. On average lonely seniors skip 4 meals a week (224 meals per year) or 22% of their total meals. And seniors who feel lonely eat 157 fewer servings of fruits and vegetables per year than seniors who say they are not lonely.

Craving Companionship

The same survey from Home Instead showed that older adults really craved togetherness created by eating together.  Seniors report they wish they spent more time with family, 72% of lonely seniors wish they ate more meals with loved ones. And 76% of lonely seniors feel they have fewer sit-down meals with family than they used to.

What Can You Do?

Be more mindful of the seniors in your lives eating habits, how often they are eating alone, and help find ways to improve their nutrition and loneliness.  Here’s some inspiration…

For more information about Companionship services or other in-home senior care services and how Home Instead can help your aging loved one, call (740) 363-5720 today!