Jan 30

Written by: Lakeside
Monday, January 30, 2012 3:31 PM 

Throughout all of history, people have gathered together and shared their life stories over a great meal.  This sense of community is a major reason why long-term care facilities are putting the lunch trays aside and offering more specialized meal programs.  From country kitchens, grab-and-go options, room service to in-house bistros and cafés, senior living communities have it all.  It is no secret that quality meals not only offer nutritional value, but a place for residents to feel at home and lift their spirits.   

Country Kitchens

Long-term care communities across the country are removing the cafeteria-feel from their dining rooms and replacing them with country kitchens.  Smaller dining areas and family style kitchens help residents to feel more at home.  In addition, these smaller kitchens encourage residents and staff members to cook alongside each other, giving residents more independence.  Cooking meals also lets residents remain active, enhancing health.  Country kitchens help residents be more involved, socialize more, and feel as though they are part of a family.    


Convenience is an important factor when it comes to dining and senior communities are reacting to this need with grab-and-go food options.  One 68010center in Pennsylvania offers residents soup, sandwiches, and fruit from a cart two times a week.  Since the response was so positive, a permanent grab-and-go section was added to the dining area that features more convenient meal varieties, beverages, and even groceries.  Grab-and-go food options accommodate various residents’ schedules and provide lighter meal selections.  A cart such as Lakeside’s Mart Cart is ideal for this grab-and-go service.  Serve guests quick breakfast options, snacks, fruit, beverages, and more from this maneuverable cart.  With the ability to serve hot and cold items, a cart such as this could provide convenient meal options.

In-Room and Room Service Dining

Even though socializing with others over dinner is highly encouraged, some centers also have an in-room dining option or room service approach for their residents.  With this food service style, residents are able to order from a small menu and have their meal delivered to their room on a cart.  In one survey of senior living facilities, “Forty percent said in-room dining, and 30 percent said room service are the meal service types their residents enjoyed to a great extent.”  For days when residents would rather eat from the comfort of their rooms, having a room service approach could be most favorable.  

Bistros and Cafés Aljoya Mercer Island: Cafe Bistro

Adding a café to your independent and assisted living center is yet another way to give your residents, as well as visitors, options.  With the ability to keep your café open throughout the entire day, residents and their families can stop in when they are hungry.  Coffee, bagels, wraps, as well as full meals, can be offered through this style of dining.  Cafés also encourage socialization in a more comfortable environment or the opportunity to read a newspaper or book over a meal.

Dining Space to Entertainment

As important as food is to improving residents’ quality of life and encouraging a sense of community among residents, entertainment plays a role too.  Dining spaces can also be converted to an entertainment space to host games, music, or even a happy hour.  Planning your dining area appropriately can allow for many other social events in the future.  With serving equipment such as the Breakout Dining Station, your facility is able to easily entertain residents and guests with coffee, snacks, and other appetizers from a spacious top. Top mounted induction cooking stoves can also be added to the station if your facility wants to offer more customizable meal options.  Once the event is complete, the Breakout Dining Station can easily be pushed against the wall as an additional piece of furniture or into storage until future use.

Senior communities and long-term care facilities are offering their residents numerous meal options in a more welcoming and attractive environment, encouraging the feeling of family, while not removing the residents’ feeling of independence.  Seniors desire the same variety and convenience when it comes to food.  Enhancing your dining area could increase resident satisfaction.


Does your senior living facility offer various food service approaches?  Which form of dining are residents responding most favorably too?



1 comment(s) so far...

Re: Senior living communities revamp their dining programs

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