Share a meal for mental health

Share a meal for mental health

Social isolation and loneliness are becoming increasingly common in older Tasmanians. A quarter of Tasmanians aged over 65 live alone and this number will likely increase as people continue to live independently for longer. Importantly, many people who report feeling alone actually live with others, showing that everyone is at risk of feeling lonely from time to time (1).

Sharing a meal, especially on a regular basis, is a great way to stay connected. It can also be a way to explore new foods, share favourite recipes and help to stay physically well by eating a nutritious meal. Research has shown that older adults who ate with someone consumed more than those who ate alone (2).

Try these simple ways to connect an older person socially through shared meals:

  • Invite an older person in your life to share a meal – whether a family member, neighbour or new acquaintance, eating together is a great way to reconnect.
  • Support older people to connect with an Eating with Friends group in their local area, so they can share a meal and meet new people.
  • Culturally and linguistically diverse Tasmanians can connect with cultural groups (for example the Italian Day Centre or Polish Welfare Office) or with the Migrant Resource Centre.

(1) Council on The Ageing Tasmania. Embracing the future: Tasmania’s ageing profile part II. Tasmania: COTA Tasmania; 2019.

(2) De Castro JM, Brewer E. The amount eaten in meals by humans is a power function of the number of people present. Physiol Behav. 1992; 51:121-5.