Eating alone has become a way of life for many of our parents
A study shows almost 15 million Indians aged above 60 live alone or with spouse only.
Often families came together for dinner shared their day, insights, laughter and love but the table got smaller and soon, mealtime is more of a chore than a pleasure for seniors living alone.
Eating alone is increasingly common for all age groups, but may be of particular concern for seniors. Cooking for one person means they have to scale down recipes, and it's also not as much fun. Instead of stimulating dinner conversation, the television becomes the other person at the table.
Hidden dangers of eating alone
Essentially, what happens is that as seniors age beyond 60 their gastrointestinal tract changes and tend to have problem with digesting food. Then compound it with the loneliness makes them to wind up their dinner with bread and milk. Who wants to cook a roasted chicken and vegetables and sit down and eat it alone ?.
A study found that just 26% of the Senior living alone felt eating enjoyable. A full 50% of Seniors said they ate simply out of habit or to keep from starving. This is particularly of more of a concern with women as they don’t see the value in taking care of themselves.
Many of the seniors living alone end up not eating balanced meals. They tend to fix things that are easy and quick but that don’t provide the right nutrition or worse skip meals because it’s easy to do so when it’s just you.
While frozen and prepared foods are convenient and easy, they contain tons of sodium, fat, and other ingredients that aren’t healthy, especially for people who are on diabetic or other special diets.
Eating improperly leads to a weakened immune system, loss of muscle and bone health, and loss of weight. And all of these factors can contribute to other issues like risk of falling and breaking bones. Plus, poor nutrition can lead to depression.
Click here, to know more about the risks of eating alone in seniors.
- If finances are not an issue, hire a local cook.
- Encourage your parents to find friends to eat with, at least for a few times in a week.
- Try video time with your parents at lunch or dinner time.
- Modify Kitchen to have a seating arrangement in the kitchen with a place for music, magazines, this would make it interesting to cook.
- Cooking APPS, magazines could encourage your parents to try something new.
- Surprise your parents with some online shopping of seasonal fruits, nuts and healthy groceries.
- Buy a bottom freezer refrigerator. With a bottom freezer most food items like dairy products, vegetables and left overs are at plain sight and your parents are less likely to forget about the food items in the refrigerator.
- Invest on a vegetable garden at home. Cooking may get interesting for your parents.
- You could encourage your parents to use the food delivery APPS.
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