Menus in senior living facilities used to leave a lot to be desired. In many ways, they were comparable to school lunches or even hospital food. Thankfully, old living quality has improved tremendously over the decades, including senior food options. Numerous senior communities even offer meals that can hold up to fine-dining standards.
The Outdated Approach
What made meals unappealing in nursing homes, memory care communities, and assisted living facilities? It was prepared with minimum use of spices and salt to provide food that fits a broad spectrum of dietary restrictions. It was usually cooked to a soft consistency to accommodate patients who couldn’t chew well. Additionally, senior living facilities often omit fresh foods to minimize expenses.
Baby Boomer Standards
Now that the baby boomers are entering the senior phase of life, they must plan for themselves and their parents’ appropriate accommodations. While they are downsizing, they want to maintain certain standards. This includes enjoying a restaurant-style dining appearance with respectful service and tasty options.
Modern Senior Living
Today’s senior living culture recognizes that an elderly dining experience is an interactive event for elderly adults who ask for tasty diversity in their meals. The leaders of assisted living communities now vie for top chefs to fulfill these dining requirements. They’re also replacing cafeteria-style service with the wait staff. Residents are treated more like diners who can place orders and enjoy table-side delivery.
As a whole, all generations are becoming more aware of the importance of making healthy food choices. Foods are often prepared from scratch, elegantly presented, and appropriately seasoned. Senior dining selections now include the vegetarian, gluten-free, farm-to-table, low-sodium fare and plenty of fresh produce. You’ll find a full array of sauces, spices, and menu selections previously omitted, such as pizza, steaks, and even sushi.
Professional chefs aren’t the only food experts on duty. Countless senior living communities also employ dieticians and other wellness personnel who help create well-balanced meal plans that please the palate. Many facilities also value feedback and implement menu suggestions by their residents.
When senior communities offer a fine dining experience, residents can enjoy the dining room and turn mealtime into a social event. They can relax, talk to their friends and make new ones. Many seniors can even invite family members from outside the home to join them. Residents can utilize private banquet rooms in some communities to celebrate special occasions with other occupants.
Top communities offer five-star restaurant service with fine china and crystal glasses on fine tablecloths with linens. In addition to dining rooms, many larger communities have cafes, casual restaurants, or pubs. Some even host happy hours or serve alcohol with dinner.
Individual Health Needs
The leaders of senior living communities know that residents have individual health needs. Unlike the old, they also understand that food has to taste pleasant and that everyone has personal preferences. While not all offer full menus comparable to regular restaurants, at least seniors have specific meal choices.
Most commonly expect meal and dining programs in assisted living, continuing care, independent living, memory care, and continuing care. Senior apartment facilities and communities that offer homes for sale or rent generally don’t offer on-site dining, but they might have small cafes.