The food at assisted living facilities is always a prime topic of conversation. Historically, assisted living facilities offered basic dishes with few choices. The good news: today’s assisted livings are focusing on healthy meals made with fresh, seasonal ingredients. Gone are the days when canned, frozen and salt-laden foods were the norm. Today, on-staff dieticians and professional trained chefs join forces to create meals that are both nutritious and delicious.
What should families expect in terms of dining options at an assisted living facility? Many feature 24 hour cafes, room service, experienced wait staff, formal dining rooms and causal gathering spaces. Holidays showcase traditional favorite foods and rituals. Additionally, residents and families have the option of celebrating these special days at the resident’s home.
Food Plays A Key Role
Rick Weisberg, president of Assisted Living Nationwide , works with clients all across the country. He has found that food is one of the most important considerations for elders and their families. Weisberg advises clients to eat at least one meal at the assisted living prior to deciding whether to move-in. “Obviously, it makes sense to discover, first hand, the quality of the food,” notes Weisberg, “but it’s also important to observe the social interaction among the residents and the staff.”
When an elder is used to preparing his or her own food, it is definitely a transition to having to eat at specified time — in the company of other people. But keep in mind that meal times at assisted living facilities are an integral part of the day. This is a time for all residents to come together and socially interact. And for those residents who choose not to participate in many of the scheduled activities, meals become even more important.
These days, many assisted livings pride themselves on a caliber of food service in line with a five-star hotel. The presentation of the food is as important as the taste. The menus change daily; there are amenities such as frozen yogurt machines, cappuccino offerings, make-your-own omelet bars and freshly baked cookies and cakes. Adjusting to meal times might not be such a difficult transition after all.