Eating meals together is beneficial for many reasons. First, when families eat together, nutritional intake generally improves. Second, you engage in conversations and that socialization is important for your physical and mental health. Having home care services can also provide such an environment.
October is Eat Better, Eat Together Month. Take time to learn a few facts about the benefits of family meals together and eating meals with others instead of eating meals by yourself.
Studies Link Dining Alone to Depressive Symptoms and the Risk of Heart Disease Increased for Women
In one study, 17.1% of a group of 9,361 elderly residents were separated from others to dine alone. Of that group, 8.7% showed signs of geriatric depression.
The Journal of the American Society of Menopause presented a Korean study that found increasing rates of heart disease (angina) in menopausal women who ate alone. The risk was just over 2.5x higher.
Eating Alone Reduces Caloric Intake and Increases the Lack of Proper Nutrition
Further research found that the elderly participants who did eat alone tended to eat less than those who dined with others. It didn’t always equate with weight loss, however. Many of the people dining alone were overweight as they leaned towards quick, easy foods that weren’t as nutritional.
Almost 66% of older adults are not eating a balanced diet. Using the American Heart Association diet score metrics, most older adults are eating meals rated at about 18 out of 50. That score is based on how many of these goals are met.
- 4.5 cups of fruits and vegetables per day
- 2 cups of legumes per week
- 7 ounces of fish or seafood per week
- 4 ounces of raw nuts per week
- 3 ounces of whole grains per day
- Less than 1,500 mg of sodium per day
- Less than 36 ounces of sugar-sweetened beverages per week
- Less than 3.5 ounces of processed meats per week
Higher scores are given to older adults who meet or come very close to each of these goals. If you find your mom’s diet is lacking, this list can help your family decide where to make changes.
Dining as a Family Also Benefits Grandchildren
When you dine alone, the grandchildren and even great-grandchildren also benefit from the family meal. It’s been found that children who eat with their family have higher self-esteem and perform better in school.
Arrange to Have Home Care Aides Dine With Your Mom
Your mom shouldn’t have to eat alone. Make sure she has someone to keep her company at each meal. Home care aides are there for companionship. While they can cook her meals, there’s a lot more to home care than that.
Arrange to have caregivers dine with your mom, clean the kitchen after, and make sure she has the opportunity to talk about her day during a meal. Call our home care agency to get started.
If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring Home Care Services in Scotch Plains NJ, call the caring staff at Helping Hands Home Care today at 908-418-4299.
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