Dining for one: the hidden benefits of eating with others
For many, eating meals around a table with family and friends provides a sense of community. However, research shows that in today’s busy world, nearly half of adults’ meals are eaten alone. While eating solo may have become the norm, you may be surprised to learn about the numerous health benefits gained when seniors share mealtime with others.
While some seniors are very active, others may not always have the energy or ability to cook meals for themselves. Some may not know how to cook, or they're no longer physically able to prepare meals that meet their nutritional needs due to health conditions. This can lead to malnutrition and a decline in health.
However, studies have shown that seniors tend to eat more and make better food choices in social settings, rather than resorting to pre-packaged or less healthy foods they might have picked if eating alone. Healthy eating also tends to be “contagious”—eating with others who make healthy food choices can encourage healthier eating habits in fellow seniors. In addition, the engaging conversation at mealtimes helps with eating pace, reducing the risk of overeating and unhealthy weight gain.
While research has clearly shown the nutritional benefits of eating with others, Holiday Retirement seniors have experienced these changes firsthand. Many residents who once lived alone and struggled with getting their daily fruits and veggies found that their health improved greatly upon moving to a Holiday Retirement community.
While the nutritional value of meals is important, seniors also report that stimulating conversation during the meal is high on their list as well. Sharing a meal with others has been shown to increase happiness and help alleviate depression in seniors, not to mention it’s a great opportunity to reconnect with others and promote or reinforce healthy lifestyle choices.
Around 85 percent of seniors say having someone to share their meals with makes mealtimes more satisfying, and studies have shown that when mealtimes are shared with others, meals last up to twice as long as when a senior eats alone. Eating more slowly can help improve digestion and hydration and promote easier weight loss and maintenance.
Furthermore, nearly half of seniors say their mealtimes are more satisfying if they have someone prepare their meals for them. For seniors looking for this benefit, Holiday Retirement chefs prepare delicious food served in a restaurant-style setting for our residents, making meals convenient and social.
Whether you and your loved ones are currently discussing senior living options, or if you’re interested in learning more about the services and amenities Holiday Retirement offers, such as chef-prepared, nutritious meals, schedule your visit to a Holiday Retirement community today!