Skip Navigation

Image of the Baltimore County Historic Courthouse

Baltimore County News

Stay informed of what's happening in Baltimore County.
Keyword: eating together

Baltimore County Department of Aging's Call to Action to Combat Social Isolation

The Baltimore County Department of Aging’s (BCDA) 2019 Living Connected initiative has provided resources and activities to combat social isolation in older adults. Many life events that occur later in life—retirement, loss of a friend/spouse, moving, changes in health—happen as one ages. This can cause one’s social network to become very small, leading to feelings of loneliness and social isolation. Further, research has proven that isolation has detrimental effects on one’s physical and mental health. The affects are wide ranging. In fact, it is said that loneliness and social isolation has the same effect as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

Photo of Fred"Coming to the center for activities and meals
saved my life. I was very lonely after my wife passed."
- Fred, 84, Rosedale

 “Each of us is aware of someone in our communities that may be feeling isolated and alone. Therefore, BCDA has issued a Call to Action for Thursday, September 12, 2019. On that date, everyone was asked to reach out to someone in the community that would benefit from feeling more connected and valued by inviting them to share a meal or to join a group of peers to break bread,” challenges BCDA Director Laura Riley.

Older Adults Welcome to Join

Baltimore County’s 20 senior centers are hosting lunches where all older adults are welcome to join our Eating Together Program for a special meal. This is a wonderful opportunity to visit a center, to meet the members and to discover the diverse activities offered at the site. For example, the Liberty Senior Center is hosting close to 200 older adults for their meal at noon. “The center will be filled with activity, music and chances to connect with peers while enjoying a meal,” added Marie Dix, Director of the Liberty Senior Center. Additionally, many centers are offering day long opportunities to share a meal for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Photo of Dorothy"Knowing a meal is available is such an asset."
- Dorothy, 80, Rosedale

Further, religious institutions, restaurants, community associations and housing buildings have joined this Day to invite older adults to special events and deals to make them feel valued and appreciated. To learn more about opportunities to share a meal and to discover the community partner events being offered, you may visit the County's No Senior Eats Alone webpage.

Other Initiatives

No Senior Eats Alone Day is just one effort on behalf of BCDA to keep older adults connected. If you know of an older adult that would benefit from getting connected to the Department of Aging’s resources and programs, contact MAP or the Maryland Access Point of Baltimore County at 410-887-2594 or email aginginfo@baltimorecountymd.gov.

The mission of the Baltimore County Department of Aging is to strengthen lives by providing services, programs and connections to resources. For more information on the various programs provided by BCDA, visit www.baltimorecountymd.gov/aging.


By Ingrid Beardsley, RD, LDN, Nutrition Program Manager, Baltimore County Department of Aging

How can a meal program do more than just serve a meal? The Baltimore County Eating Together Program is on the frontlines to improve older adults’ overall well-being and reduce isolation and malnutrition.

After leaving our meal program, appetites are not the only thing satisfied. Participants walk away with full hearts from socializing, full minds from health/nutrition education, and full bodies from nutrient-packed meals.

Increased socialization is one of the additional benefits of meal programs like Eating Together, according to a 2017 survey conducted by the National Association of Nutrition and Aging Services Programs. Eighty-three percent of individuals reported they have more friends now than before they started visiting the meal program. Participants like attending so they can speak with their friends, meet new friends, and leave their homes for a little while each day.

Each meal provides one third of the daily nutrition requirements and is approved by a Registered Dietitian.

The survey found that 70% of participants said their knowledge of good nutrition has increased and more than half said their health improved since they started attending the program.

More Reasons to Join

  • Eat more fruits and vegetables.
  • Learn about healthy eating.
  • Obtain a break from cooking and doing dishes.
  • Save on grocery bills.
  • Delight in the meals.
  • Discover what is happening in the senior center/community.
  • It’s easier than cooking for one person.

How to Join Eating Together

Residents ages 60 and over and their spouses of any age are eligible to participate, and are asked to make a voluntary, confidential donation. The suggested donation is $2.50 per meal.

Seniors looking for healthy food, nutrition education and social interaction can learn more about Baltimore County’s Eating Together Program at www.baltimorecountymd.gov/eatingtogether or call 410-887-3052.

Eating Together -- a one-stop way to meet nutritional needs and make some new friends along the way.


 
 
Revised September 11, 2017