The Importance of Family Dinners for Seniors

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Updated: May 23, 2023


elderly care with family dinner

Enjoy family time with all of your loved ones.

The owner of Home Instead Senior Care in northern Kentucky, Eric Schuermann, recently made the news with his quest to bring back the traditional family Sunday dinner.  He is asking the nation to visit, and sign the pledge to bring your family together once per month for Sunday dinner.  Through July 31, 2015, Schuermann has stated that the Home Instead Senior Care Foundation will donate one dollar for each person who signs the pledge to Meals on Wheels of America, with a cap of $20,000 total.

Schuermann was inspired to start this campaign due to a research study he read, which found that 50 percent of families living near senior relatives feel they do not share meals often enough, and 75 percent stated they only ate with their senior loved ones on special occasions and holidays.  As someone who has dedicated his career to the care of seniors, Schuermann saw this as a problem in need of a solution.  To help those who commit to this campaign stick and with it, Home Instead Senior Care has partnered with popular Food Network chef Melissa d’Arabian to develop nutritious recipes that are both inexpensive and easy to make.  On, you will find these recipes, as well as tips for involving seniors in meal planning and preparation, and activities you can enjoy together before and after dinner.

Having many generations of a family break bread together around one dinner table is a wonderful way to bond and have family stories and recipes passed down from one generation to another.  If you are worried about possible lulls in conversation, don’t let that hold you back from beginning this new tradition. Home Instead Senior Care offers the following conversation starters you can use to get people talking, sharing, and maybe even reminiscing.

  • Have everyone tell the group about their favorite television show from their childhood. With so much classic television now available via DVD and streaming video, you may even choose someone’s favorite program to watch after dinner that evening.
  • Ask about each person’s favorite meal and/or dessert. It could possibly generate some food ideas for your next dinner together, and bring some old family recipes to light for the next generation.
  • In advance of dinner, ask people to bring photos of their most memorable family trip or vacation. You can discuss your memories over dinner and share photos afterward.
  • Ask everyone at the table to tell the story of how they met their spouse and when they fell in love. Chances are there will be a fresh detail or two that you haven’t heard before.
  • Ask everyone to tell a tale of their best and worst moments at work. Follow up by asking for more information on the jobs themselves and how your relatives chose those professions.
  • If you have any amateur genealogists in your midst, ask them to prepare some interesting tidbits about your family’s history to share at the dinner table. If not, take on the task yourself and research the origin of your family name.