Go back in time. For most families, a large family meal was the norm. Often held on a Sunday after church, parents and children would head to a grandparents' house for a meal several helped put together.
Aunts and uncles, cousins, brothers and sisters, parents, and grandparents spent the afternoon playing games, singing songs, eating a meal together, and having a great time. It was an important social activity that kept families close.
Over time, that's changed. People rush home from work, throw together a fast dinner, and rush to get through chores before bed. Weekends are usually spent getting caught up on laundry, prepping the week's meals, grocery shopping, and running errands. Your dad may be missing the mealtime closeness from his youth.
In fact, studies find that elderly people who eat alone have problems like malnutrition and depression. As the social aspect of a meal slips away, seniors may turn to quick frozen dinners that they can prepare in the microwave. Those meals are often poor substitutes for a home-cooked meal because they're loaded with sodium, sugar, and preservatives.
Ways to Make Sure Your Dad Has Company at Meals
You may not live close enough to join your dad for meals. He might not have friends or family members nearby. You could make sure he has company during meals by video chatting while you both eat. It's not the best way, but it solves mealtime loneliness when you're in different regions.
Plan a weekly meal where people bring a dish to your dad's house. In the pandemic, this may be more challenging. It may be limited to the members of one specific household being able to join your dad. Make the most of it for now and plan for a big family gathering once it's safe again.
If needed, have a picnic outside where people can spread out and eat at a safe distance. You'll have to wait for a warm day when the weather cooperates, but it's one way to stay social at meals without being crowded in one room.
Caregivers Solve Issues Caused by Dining Alone
It's time to change things. Make sure your dad has someone to join him for meals. You may not find it easy to manage when you're at work all day and have children at home. Instead, plan one day a week for a family meal. For the rest of the week, hire caregivers to cook your dad's meals and dine with him.
Caregivers can take him grocery shopping, carry the bags, and help him store the items he buys. Talk to a home care agency and ask about these and other services offered by caregivers.
If you or an aging loved one is considering elderly care in Holmes Beach, FL, please contact the caring staff at Home Helpers of Bradenton. Call today: (941) 499-5946.