Older European citizens often have a lot to share about food and cooking – but there’s always more to learn!
All around the world, the proportion of people over 60 is growing. The We Love Eating project aims to make these years as healthy and enjoyable as the earlier ones.
Healthy eating habits and physical activity are crucially important for older people, and can have a strong impact on their health and quality of life. Inadequate nutrition, on the other hand, can increase the occurance and severity of disease, thus hastening loss of independence.
Evidence shows that nutrition can have a strong effect on many chronic diseases, including coronary heart disease, cancer, diabetes, hypertension and stroke, and osteoporosis. In addition, obesity exacerbates conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, and particularly osteoarthritis, which are highly prevalent among older persons. Other health risks for older people related to nutrition include sarcopenia (deficiency of flesh or muscle) and dehydration, as well as mental health problems like depression and decline in cognitive abilities, such as memory loss and depleted verbal fluency, etc.
Loneliness due to loss of a spouse or friends can diminish the social reasons for eating and the pleasure associated with it. Eating regular meals and maintaining an adequate diet have, in part, been found to depend on eating with others.
In general, programmes that promote socialisation or even individual visits have been proven very effective when working with older people. There is also an important element of sharing or passing information and skills between generations.
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