Food ~ a love-hate relationship. Food is essential for living your best healthy life. We ensure our kids are eating healthy for proper growth by studying labels and ingredients on items at the store, making sure there is a vegetable on the plate, and eating from a colorful variety of foods. This often changes as we age. Do we still care about these things as we age? Eating healthy? Eating at all? And of course, connections that are built when sharing a meal are powerful. Food is meant to do more than just nourish us, but also to fulfill us.
We interact with seniors and their families daily and have noticed that many of our clients are not embracing healthy eating habits. And there is no question the pandemic has seemed to exacerbate the situation. Many seniors are taking meals in their rooms ALONE in their retirement communities or in their own homes, once again ALONE. Many do not want to eat alone, so they forgo eating. Mobility issues may make it difficult to get to the store to buy nutritious food – much less healthy food that needs to be cooked. So, some eat overly processed convenience foods; some simply don’t eat; others “forget” to eat or think they have already eaten. Poor nutrition or lack of adequate food can cause a host of problems from malnutrition to weakness.
Mary Baskin, elder care advisor says, “It is really easy for a senior who may be depressed or lonely to lose interest in food and become weak, debilitated, or even more susceptible to illness. Some small efforts on your part may result in a big, positive outcome for the person who used to be the one to take your nutrition and favorite foods very seriously.” We can help in small ways by prepping healthy food and having it ready to eat, asking them what foods they like and will eat, grocery shopping for them, cooking together, suggest going to a restaurant.
Between the concern over healthy eating and the desire for connection, it’s no surprise that requests for meal prep and companionship is on the rise at Naborforce – in fact, it’s escalated to the point that many of our Nabors are becoming quite the chefs! Sharing mealtime is a fundamental to our physical and social well-being.