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Home Instead offers Craving Companionship

By Staff | Aug 2, 2011

MARTINSBURG – The local Home Instead Senior Care office is encouraging family caregivers to dig into the family recipe box to find that dish, and prepare and share a meal with their senior loved one.

Then enter that recipe and the story about what makes the dish so special in the Craving CompanionshipSM Recipe Contest between through Sept. 15. The contest is part of the Craving Companionship program at www.mealsandcompanionship.com, launched to help seniors stay connected socially and eat more nutritiously. Home Instead Senior Care network research has discovered that seniors’ biggest mealtime challenge is lack of companionship.

The program offers family caregivers tips and practical advice to encourage companionship and easy healthy meals. For more details about the contest including guidelines and prizes, visit www.mealsandcompanionship.com. Selected recipes and stories will be posted online as well as in the Homemade MemoriesSM Cookbook that will be available for purchase in time for the 2011 holiday season. Proceeds will go to the non-profit Home Instead Senior Care Foundation to benefit North American seniors.

Craving Companionship is geared to helping families support a nutritiously vulnerable population older adults who live alone. In the United States, approximately 40 percent of the population age 75 and older 6.7 million people lives alone, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

The Craving Companionship program and contest are incentives for families to find time to help their loved ones prepare the foods they’ve always loved and enjoy those dishes with them. “Who likes to eat alone? Nobody,” said Sandy Markwood, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a), expert source for the Craving Companionship program whose members coordinate the popular home-delivered meals program, also known as “Meals On Wheels.”

Two of five seniors who live alone (44 percent) have at least four warning signs of poor nutritional health. According to Home Instead Senior Care network research, the most common of these warning signs and their incidence rates are:

– Eating alone most of the time (76 percent)

– Taking three or more different medications a day (71 percent)

– Eating few fruits, vegetables or milk products (46 percent)

– Having an illness/condition that prompted a change in diet (31 percent)

– Not always being physically able to shop, cook or feed themselves (25 percent).