A survey from the Home Instead Senior Care Network has revealed that 76 percent of seniors who live alone also eat alone most of the time and this can have some serious health side effects. Older adults who are isolated sometimes don't eat as healthy as their peers. In fact, the research showed that 46 percent of participants had a very low number of fruits, vegetables and dairy products in their household.
This kind of loneliness – and poor nutrition – can lead to both mental and physical consequences. Family members should make a point to check on a senior's health more closely. During the next trip to Grandma's house, look in cupboards and refrigerators. If there seems to be a lack of healthy food options, it may be time to consider helping an older adult plan for grocery shopping.
Additionally, discuss whether shopping itself has become a burden. The research found that 31 percent of seniors have changed their eating habits due to illness and 25 percent have a problem making it to the store.
Most older adults are interested in independent living, but families should try to balance this goal with safety and comfort. Installing a personal emergency response system can be an effective way to help seniors live on their own.