Seniors who live alone can easily slide into bad habits regarding their nutrition. With no one to cook for and no one to talk to over meals, all of the joy that was once present during food preparation is no longer there. But a lack of companionship is only half of the story. Poor nutrition can result from any number of reasons for seniors living alone.
Many seniors who are unable to drive or access public transportation easily avoid going to the grocery store regularly. They don’t eat healthy at home because they are simply unable to get healthy food into the home. And those who can make it to the store are often forced to choose between the foods that they need and the foods that they can carry. Making it home with a bag full of canned goods can be a challenge for anyone not matter what their age.
A desire to avoid food waste is another oft-cited reason for poor nutrition among seniors. It can be difficult to cook for one both in terms of buying and preparing food. Seniors who feel that they are throwing half of what they make away are less likely to buy or make anything using fresh fruits and vegetables and other nutritious staples of a healthy diet. Many end up eating nothing but pre-packaged junk foods or suffice for days on end on nothing but toast because they are afraid of making a substantial meal that they cannot finish on their own.
We often forget that, while we live in an increasingly health-conscious world, seniors grew up in a very different time. Their need for healthy nutrition increases with age, but they may not know the first thing about what foods they should be or need to be eating to keep themselves strong and healthy. Seniors who live along often tend to eat nutritionally deficient foods both because they are easy and because they don’t know any better.
Living alone poses many challenges to seniors, and good nutrition is both the easiest bad habit to form and the easiest to fix with some simple adjustments in daily routine. But sometimes, seniors cannot make those changes on their own. In-home assistance is often a great option for seniors because if family does not live close or does not have the time to check in regularly, those simple adjustments might begin to seem not so simple.