Aging brings changes to the way you eat. As your metabolism and activity level slow down, your appetite may also begin to decrease. That’s because your body simply doesn’t need quite as many calories as it did in your younger years. Aside from the effects of natural aging, some seniors may experience side effects from medications that can lead to a decreased appetite. Or, you may have problems with your dentures or trouble swallowing that make eating difficult. Whatever the case, to ensure optimal health, it’s important that you’re eating three well-balanced meals daily.
Studies show that American families who enjoy meals together experience a variety of benefits, like improved relationships, better-eating habits, and fewer instances of obesity. While eating together is beneficial for those of all ages, for seniors, enjoying a meal with others can be even more vital to their overall health and wellness.
A good diet is essential to staying as physically healthy as possible, as well as to maintain an ideal weight. In fact, older adults need the vitamins and nutrients found in healthy foods possibly more than any other age group. Proper senior nutrition also keeps your bones and teeth strong, aids in digestion improve cognitive function, and keeps all systems of the body working as they should.
However, because of the changes in eating habits that occur with aging, it’s common for seniors to skip meals or make poor food choices that negatively affect their quality of life. And, when seniors live alone, they often find cooking a meal for one is too time-consuming or pointless, so they turn to frozen or pre-packaged foods. These poor nutrition habits can lead to serious conditions like a weakened immune system and malnutrition.
One study, in particular, revealed that one in five seniors feels loneliest when eating a meal on their own. Perhaps they are confined to their homes as it’s no longer safe to drive, or maybe family and friends don’t live nearby. However, that same study stated that when seniors have someone to share a meal with or those who enjoy meals in a social setting, they tend to make healthier food choices. Plus, 85 percent of those seniors said sharing meals with others made mealtimes more satisfying. In fact, many older adults say having a stimulating conversation over dinner is equally important to them as the taste and nutritional quality of the food.
Senior living communities have long recognized the benefits social meals offer to members’ overall health and wellness. For this reason, they generally offer a true dining experience, with multiple restaurant-style dining options and plenty of healthy meal choices. Members enjoy the opportunity to engage with their neighbors, building new friendships over delicious meals.
At Advent Christian Village, we ensure optimal senior nutrition for our members by presenting them with a variety of dining options. Gather with your friends seven days a week at the Lopin’ Gopher Deli, the Village Café, or in the Rumph Dining Room for delicious, nutritious meals. Plus, Dacier Manor Assisted Living residents and individuals onsite for skilled nursing care in Good Samaritan Center also enjoy daily meals together in the group dining areas. Contact us today to learn more or to schedule a personal tour.