Sharing a meal is often a time of happiness, laughter and the enjoyment of the company of family and friends. Gathering together and “breaking bread” is beneficial in many ways. This fulfills the social, emotional and intellectual aspects of the six dimensions of wellness.
There comes a time when the preparation, cooking and cleanup after meals becomes overwhelming, especially when someone lives alone. What was once a happy time becomes a chore. This is why malnutrition in older adults who live alone is common.
A few quick statistics about malnutrition in older adults:
- Out of the millions of older adults admitted to the hospital every year, one in three are admitted for malnutrition.
- Disease-associated malnutrition costs the US $157 billion each year.
- Social factors account for a lower intake of food.
- Malnutrition can cause increased infection, anemia, weakness and fatigue.
Living in a community that offers a comprehensive dining program significantly decreases the risk factors for malnutrition. Studies have shown that people tend to have better nutrition when sharing a meal with other people. It also helps when the meal is prepared for you and you do not have to do the cleanup!
Meadowood’s founders, Bill and Sylvia Strasburg, were first inspired to create a community when Sylvia was involved in delivering meals to home-bound seniors. She saw the need for a place where people could come together, share in common interests and live a high quality lifestyle. This rings true today and our mission statement reflects this: Provide the highest quality of life for all who experience the Meadowood community.
Whether you decide to move to a community or stay in your home, it is important to recognize the need to maintain a well-balanced diet, exercise and social stimulation.