A recipe for making mealtimes events to look forward to

By Jonathan Acton - jonathan.acton@homeinstead.ie

Many health experts consider good nutrition the first line of defence for older adults who are striving to maintain their independence as they age, helping to protect them from illness and disease.

But a variety of obstacles, from medications and illnesses to memory and physical constraints, can make shopping, cooking and dining a challenge for seniors – especially during the Covid-19 pandemic.

While many recognise the challenges seniors face at mealtime, social isolation and lack of companionship can often be overlooked as barriers to proper nutrition for older adults.

And the impact of senior loneliness is not to be understated. Support Whether you see supper time as stressful or comforting, there are always opportunities to make it more enjoyable regardless of the challenges.

Here are some ideas to make breakfast, lunch and dinner a time you’ll look forward to.

• Make mealtime an event.

It’s natural to experience a loss of appetite as you age, especially when you’re taking certain medications or dealing with specific illnesses.

To help spark your appetite, fill your plate with colourful fruits and vegetables, pull out an age-old recipe or decorate the table with real or artificial flowers.

If you have trouble remembering to eat, consider establishing a regular mealtime routine that’s aligned with prescribed medication times.

• Dine with friends.

For most of us, eating isn’t just a matter of getting the food and nutrition we need – it is a social gathering we share with others.

During a time when physically eating together may not be possible, consider other options, such as video chatting with a loved one while you are preparing or eating your food.

Or, enjoy a socially distant meal with your neighbours while sitting in your garden or driveway. Even an activity as simple as meal planning with a loved one can bring new meaning.

• Seek additional support.

Difficulty when shopping or cooking can pose major challenges to eating healthily, especially for older adults who have recently been discharged from the hospital.

Whether keeping a kitchen of tasty choices is a struggle or merely an inconvenience, home-delivered meals can make all the difference.

Consider enlisting professional in-home care services such as Home Instead Senior Care for assistance with grocery shopping and meal preparation.

With the right resources and support, every senior can maintain a nutrient-rich diet that sustains a thriving lifestyle.

Adjusting to new eating habits takes time and energy, so make sure to check in with yourself on a frequent basis and focus on implementing one small change at a time.

And, most importantly, don’t forget the ingredient no older person should ever live without – companionship!

Home Instead, Marlinstown Office Park, Mullingar - 044 9385260;