The link between diet and loneliness

Loneliness is among the most serious obstacles to good nutrition that your senior loved one can face. This is because shared mealtime experiences are among the richest social interactions that seniors, and most people, have. Most people would agree that nobody prefers to eat alone.

A study by the Home Instead Senior Care network found that increased opportunities for seniors to share meals with others promotes health and emotional well-being. Their key findings were that:

  • 40% of seniors who live alone have at least four warning signs of poor nutritional health.

  • 20% of seniors says they sometimes or most of the time feel lonely when eating alone.

  • 76% of seniors eat alone most of the time.

  • Mealtimes last nearly twice as long when seniors who live alone share meals with others.

  • More than three-fourths of seniors say they wish their families shared more meals together.

Seniors who live alone also frequently report that they eat more nutritiously when eating with others and that the food actually tastes better when shared. Hosting more family meals involving your senior loved one may improve their diet and increase their sense of social involvement and value.

Source: “The Loneliness Factor.” Caregiver Stress,