Research Indicates Loneliness Leads to a Poorer Diet Among Canada’s Older Adults

Home Instead
Richmond and Surrey-based home care business suggests enjoying meals with loved ones can improve overall nutrition and reduce feelings of isolation and depression

RICHMOND & SURREY, B.C. (August 30, 2021) – While the worst of the pandemic may be behind us, the last 18 months have taught us the importance of human connection; however, few realize how a lack of connection affects our daily behaviours, especially those of older adults. A survey from Home Instead, Inc. found that nearly twice as many lonely Canadian seniors grade their diet as a C or below (28 percent) than seniors who are not lonely (16 percent).

RICHMOND & SURREY, B.C. (August 30, 2021) – While the worst of the pandemic may be behind us, the last 18 months have taught us the importance of human connection; however, few realize how a lack of connection affects our daily behaviours, especially those of older adults. A survey from Home Instead, Inc. found that nearly twice as many lonely Canadian seniors grade their diet as a C or below (28 percent) than seniors who are not lonely (16 percent).

Loneliness Impacts Nutrition:
Home Instead’s research shows that Canadian seniors who feel lonely consume 111 more servings of fat per year than not-lonely seniors. Furthermore, 69 percent of lonely seniors do not receive the right amount of at least one important element of nutrition.

“Socialization at mealtimes reduces feelings of isolation and improves nutritional intake, but the pandemic has made this increasingly difficult for seniors – impacting their overall health” said Jeremiah Cristall, owner of the Home Instead® office serving Richmond, Surrey, North Delta and Queensborough. “As we return to a more familiar way of life and begin to gather again in person, families and friends should once again share a meal with older loved ones, if it is safe to do so. Not only will it strengthen relationships, but it likely will impact the quality of food seniors consume.”

Eating Alone Makes a Difference:
Canadian seniors who eat most of their meals alone are more than twice as likely to be lonely (48 percent) than those who eat most of their meals with others (20 percent). Additionally, more than one in three Canadian seniors who eat most meals alone have poorer mental well-being. The research also indicates a connection between seniors who feel lonely and the likelihood of skipping meals. Lonely seniors eat 20 percent fewer meals over the course of a year than seniors who aren’t lonely and skip approximately 18 percent of their total meals each year.

Eating Alone is a Growing Trend:
Even before the pandemic, 70 percent of lonely Canadian seniors felt they have fewer sit-down meals with family than they used to. Generationally, 42 percent of seniors believe their parents ate more sit-down meals with loved ones at their current age. And senior want this to change – 67 percent of lonely seniors wish they ate more meals with loved ones.

To improve mealtime habits and promote connection, Home Instead in Richmond and Surrey is sharing recipes, tips and resources designed to inspire seniors and family caregivers to make healthier choices and spend quality time together preparing and sharing nutritious meals. Visit www.HomeInstead.ca/CompanionshipDiet or contact your local Home Instead office to learn more.

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