Having a healthy diet at an old age is paramount to having a healthy life. A diet can affect an older adult on multiple levels, including the physical domains, the psychological domains, and the social domains. 

Without a healthy diet, older adults face increased physical, mental, and social risks, as studies indicate. Unhealthy diets raise risks of chronic issues like diabetes, respiratory problems, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, high blood pressure, and cancer. Unhealthy diets can also lead to the possibility of anxiety or depression being diagnosed at an old age. Naturally, one may notice how the above conditions and issues may affect the social life of an older adult. When one is constantly sick or in pain, they are at higher risk of becoming socially withdrawn. 

One may wonder, what can happen for a good diet to change to an unhealthier one? Well, there are a number of reasons or barriers for maintaining a healthy diet, some of which may not be that obvious. 

  • Retirement

Retirement can lead to the development of unhealthy eating habits. With more time on hand, one may become attuned to hunger, resorting to comfort foods to cope with life changes.

  • Deteriorating health

This makes it much more difficult to maintain a decent and stable cooking or meal plan. Consequently, we resort to faster options like take-aways or more bread and processed foods. 

  • Mental health

An unhealthy diet appears to have a causal relationship with mental health issues. A diet rich in vegetables and fruits significantly reduces the risk of older adults developing depression. Avoid processed foods, fats, and sugars for lower cholesterol, blood pressure, and reduced anxiety or stress levels.

The important message is that it is vital to maintain a healthy diet. If not, it may affect your overall health. Remember, help is always available. Consult a psychologist about diet’s impact on mental health. For dietary options, speak to a registered dietitian or consult a doctor for physical health concerns.

If you think that you can benefit from professional support on this issue you can reach out here.

Yaser Teebi works as a Clinical Psychology Practitioner at Willingness, and works with clients with complex issues, including depression, anxiety, trauma, chronic pain, grief and cognitive impairment. Yaser Teebi has graduated from the following degrees with Merit: Bachelor of Psychology (Hons), a Master of Gerontology and Geriatrics , and a Master of Psychology in Clinical Psychology, all at the University of Malta. He is currently reading for a PhD in Clinical Psychology and Geriatrics at the University of Birmingham.