How to Deliver the Best Dining Experience in Senior Living

community dining experience

What’s cookin’ at your senior living community? As it turns out, this question holds a lot of weight for executives and their residents.

A 2016 survey of senior living executives found that an ‘overwhelming’ number believe dining plays a major part in consumer satisfaction with and choice of senior living communities.

The dining service expectations of senior living residents are also beginning to change. Now, residents are more likely to desire flexibility, both in menu options and in their choice of dining venues. This means providers need to ensure that the dining experiences they offer are truly extraordinary, as well as nutritious.

Senior living communities have answered this call by introducing a host of different dining options:

Cafés and Bistros
Gone are the days of the one-size-fits-all senior living dining room. Now, many more communities are offering their residents dining venues that serve them on demand, like grab-and-go cafés, bistros and coffee shops. At an Atria Senior Living community in Louisville, KY, one dining venue is even open to the public so that the provider can test recipes on the general public before they appear on community menus.

Pubs and Wine Bars
Senior living residents are adults — and they’ve lived full lives. It’s much more common nowadays for senior living providers to recognize and celebrate that by building full-service pubs and wine bars in their communities, rather than more childish dining venues, like ice cream parlors.

Farm-to-Table Fare
Some senior living communities have embraced the idea of growing — and eating — local fare. That’s certainly the case at Garden Spot Village in Lancaster County, PA, a senior living community that recently began growing its own produce in a no-soil greenhouse nearby. Community residents now eat a wide variety of produce that is grown locally and picked out by the community’s chef.

While these communities, and others like them, strive to deliver delicious food in a wide variety of settings, they also must make sure their residents have access to — and take advantage of — proper nutrition. This is more difficult now than in years past, as residents are typically more exposed to a wide variety of dishes and grab-and-go options than ever before.

For this reason, about 50% of senior care providers currently use an automated nutrition management program to track residents’ nutritional profiles, including special diets and allergies. Residents’ families and staff find this especially helpful, as it provides valuable insight into residents’ dietary intake and can be used to determine if residents are getting the nutrition they need to stay healthy. The information can also be used to determine which dining options are the most popular amongst residents.

As providers continue to add new and exciting dining options to their communities, it’s essential to have the right system in place to track and manage resident nutrition and preference.

To learn more about how providers are leveraging technology to drive better nutrition management, watch the webinar below:

 
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