The purpose of this article is to describe how elderly patients in a nursing home in Norway experience meal times. A knowledge of meal times as an opporunity for social interaction can be important in improving nursing practice. The methodology used was a qualitative research interview based on the guidelines from Fog and Kvale. Seven patients aged between 82-96 years were interviewed. Data was analysed in a qualitative content analysis.

Results showed that meal times played an important role in the patients’ social life with one another besides the enjoyment of the meal itself. Mealtimes were a source of well-being to the patients whether they were by themselves or in the company of others, although reduced conversation ability limited social interaction. Patients were pleased when members of staff took part in the conversation. Unfortunately, the staff were mainly busy serving the food. in spite of the lack of conversation partners, some just enjoyed sitting there with someone else around. Few preferred to eat alone in their private rooms.