Senior care facilities are more than just a place people live when they are no longer able to live on their own. Senior care communities become a home for residents and this should be factored into everything the community offers to their residents. From making gathering spaces feel more like a living room and less like a doctor's waiting room, to providing meals that provide that sense of home, it is so important to have a well-rounded senior care community. Making the decision to move into a senior care facility is not easy and is often associated with giving up some freedoms and choices. Facilities that put an emphasis on continuing to allow residents to make their own choices help to make this transition much easier.
Working at a senior care community provides a unique opportunity to craft a home like environment for residents. One of the main areas that can alter a residents experience is the foodservice. If meals are often lukewarm with little flavor, morale can quickly drop. When a resident can see the time, effort, and care that was put into a delicious meal, this translates into much more. When residents feel they are truly being cared for and have a personal connection with staff, the community aspect is built upon. Person-centered care is rewarding for both the residents and staff, so let’s chat more on how to optimize a person-centered foodservice operation at your senior care community.
The Importance of Choice:
Our lives are full of choices each and every day. When residents move into senior care communities, they often fear not being able to make their own decisions, especially when it comes to meal time. Allowing residents to choose what they want to eat, and how much they want to eat is so important. The power of choice at meal time has a great impact on mental wellbeing. While some residents may not be able to make decisions for themselves in some areas of their life, that does not mean they should not be able to make their own choices when it comes to food.
In order to truly focus on person-centered foodservice choices, it is important to have a wide variety of options at every meal to make sure there's something for everyone. Forcing everyone to eat the same thing rarely works out in everyone’s favor. We all have different preferences with food, so why make everyone eat the same thing? Providing real choices that they will enjoy being able to select from is the first step in offering person-centered foodservice.
The Importance of Food Presentation:
If presented with the option of a plate of mashed potatoes and chicken with gravy or a bowl of brown mush, we’d bet nearly everyone would choose the first option. We eat with our eyes, and senior care communities are no expectation. While some residents require special meals, there are still ways to make their food nutritional while still looking appetizing. No one wants to eat a pile of mush, so taking the time to focus on food presentation is so important. A resident's dignity should never be taken away. Food presentation is powerful, so use it in a way that gets residents excited for meal time.
The Importance of Engagement:
Having pride in your work does not just appear overnight. When foodservice staff remain in the kitchen and never go out in the dining hall to see the fruits of their labor and chat with residents, pride in your work is often lacking. When staff are able to mingle and interact with residents during meal service, they are able to make that connection that not only improves their job satisfaction, but also improves the resident's dining experience. This is a win-win for residents and staff to make time to interact with each other.
Another result from this focus on interaction with residents is the ability to see what they are liking and disliking so that improvements can be made. When residents see the faces behind the serving counter, they are able to make a greater connection. Senior care communities are all about making those connections to ultimately give a home-like experience. Building these connections with residents will also have a positive impact on the organization as a whole. When a senior care community is known for having a person-centered approach, their reputation precedes themselves and can help bring in more residents. Taking pride in what you do while also building connections is the key to senior care foodservice.
Saratoga Grove Retirement Community:
Multiteria had the opportunity to work with Saratoga Grove on providing their residents with a new dining experience. Using our Essence serving lines, they were able to improve upon their dining service by providing their residents with a redesigned dining space that also offered more choice and convenience. Food presentation is more than just adding garnishes on top, it is also about what it is presented in and around.
Essence serving counters provide an appealing, convenient and easy-to-use operation that can be used as both self-serve or full-service depending on your needs. Being able to seamlessly shift from a self-serve breakfast to a full-service lunch is important and offers more flexibility for foodservice staff.
Multiteria has years of experience designing and building new cafeteria serving lines for foodservice operations. With our completely customizable process, you will be sure to be left with an end product that brings your dreams to life. Essence counters offer the flexibility your staff need with the design your residents will love.