Eating alone isn't easy. But it can be especially difficult for seniors. Your social life may have changed. You may have physical limitations that keep you inside. Food may not taste as good as it used to. Chewing and digestion may be difficult.
Eating alone can also be mentally and physically unhealthy. We'll look at some of the surprising risks of going solo and ways to minimize those risks for a more healthy lifestyle.
When we eat alone, we usually don't eat as well as we would with a partner. We are probably used to cooking for our mate or used to having mealtime conversation. Unless we talk to ourselves, this stops when we eat alone. Many of us end up not eating balanced meals. We fix things that are easy and quick but that don't provide the right nutrition. Or we skip meals because it's easy to do so when it's just you. We also end up eating in front of the TV. This makes us less mindful of what we eat. Combine that with not having someone else around to keep us honest about our eating choices.
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. Eating the wrong things can make you gain weight, which can increase your blood pressure and cholesterol.
It may take a conscious effort at first, but eating nutritious foods will pay dividends in all parts of your life. You'll have more energy and feel better about yourself. And you'll be respecting your body. Try some of these simple suggestions for taking care of your heart:
Eating right is only part of the equation. You should also make think about the time, place and process of eating. Here are some ideas:
For many seniors, eating alone is often unavoidable. But doing so can create unwanted health problems. That's why it's important to avoid some of the traps. Make eating special not mindless and routine. Vary your eating location. Eat at your local senior living community. Try Meals on Wheels. And most important, eat healthy.