Emotional overeating is typical in older adults, who resort to food for comfort as they struggle with aging, loneliness, and bereavement. While some struggle to maintain a healthy weight, many are emotional overeaters. Caregivers must pay attention to their loved ones’ eating habits in order to ensure that both their bodily and emotional needs are addressed.
What Causes Emotional Eating?
Food is commonly associated with joyful activities such as special events, casual gatherings, holidays, birthday celebrations, and even formal banquets in most countries and cultures. People are taught from a young age that eating may provide solace and ease injured sentiments. When older adults are experiencing a variety of unpleasant emotions, such as boredom, loneliness, irritation, and stress, they frequently resort to food to fill the void and bury their sentiments. Emotional overeating, in addition to contributing to a variety of health conditions such as obesity and poor nutrition, drives older adults to disregard their emotional needs and stops them from receiving proper care.
Assisting Your Loved Ones in Recognizing the Signs of Emotional Overeating
You can assist your loved ones in recognizing that their eating patterns are unhealthy and may be an indication of emotional overeating. Here are some questions to ask your loved ones to better understand their connection with food and their mental health:
- What time of day do you eat the most?
- When you’re bored or lonely, what do you prefer to do?
- When you’re worried or frustrated, what do you prefer to do?
- Are you still hungry for meals after you snack?
- What have you snacked on this week?
- Do you follow the recommended portion sizes for bagged, boxed, or packaged goods, or do you complete the entire item in one sitting?
- Are you eating in accordance with your daily requirements?
- Are you continually on the lookout for snacks, even when you aren’t hungry?
Assisting Those Who Are Suffering from Emotional Overeating
People succumb to emotional eating because they don’t know how to deal with life’s challenges properly. They allow eating to become a short-term fix for unpleasant emotions and poor moods.
Exploring techniques to manage stress, relieve tensions, and maintain emotional health are critical stages in assisting your elderly loved one with emotional overeating behaviors. Older adults who are able to communicate with friends, participate in activities, and have freedom are less likely to suffer the unpleasant feelings that might lead to emotional overeating. Care providers can assist you in enriching your aging loved one’s everyday activities, monitoring meals and grocery shopping, and assisting in the preparation of healthy meals and snacks. A planned care strategy that keeps older adults moving can help them prevent or overcome poor habits that contribute to emotional overeating.
At Aston Gardens At Sun City Center, your physical, social, emotional, clinical, mental, and psychological well-being is our first priority. Every day, our activities director will suggest exciting activities that will stimulate both the brain and the body. We lead many independent living programs to improve the overall health of our residents. Contact us or schedule a tour to learn more!