What to Consider When Evaluating Senior Living Dining Options

A fine meal enjoyed in the company of good friends is one of life’s greatest pleasures, a daily highlight that nurtures the body and soul and evokes familiar feelings of home. It provides vital nutrition for healthy living and an opportunity to gather with others.

 

The dining experience is a deciding factor for many older adults when selecting the right senior living community. In this article, we’ll outline a few common questions and essential components to consider when evaluating senior living dining options.

 

Common Questions About Senior Living Dining

If you or a loved one has considered making a move to an independent or assisted living community but felt apprehensive about the senior living dining experience, you’re not alone. You’ve probably wondered what to expect and whether the experience will meet your expectations, asking questions like:

 

  • What is the food like? Will I like the chef?
  • How will the chef accommodate my preferences?
  • How extensive is the menu? How often does it change?
  • Does the chef adapt to resident feedback?
  • What are the dining venues like?
  • What options are available?
  • How are different needs/requests accommodated?
  • Are there tables for hosting guests?

Answers to questions like these can vary by community but are welcomed and expected. Seniors and their families are encouraged to visit the community and meet with the chef or dining manager to discuss personal questions or concerns. Senior living chefs and dining teams have extensive experience balancing the many preferences and expectations of residents. They can provide guidance on what to expect as you or your loved one transitions to community life.

 

What’s Most Important to Consider

The following areas of importance can offer a starting point for evaluating senior living dining options. While all components may seem equally important, identifying two or three areas of concern may be helpful to share with a chef or dining team when visiting a community.

 

Freshness

Freshness, variety, and quality are top priorities when evaluating any dining option, especially in senior living. Inquire about fresh items offered regularly and any kind of locally sourced or specialty offerings. Does the community work with a local bakery, farm, butcher, or other quality purveyor? If so, note how often those items are available and incorporated into the menu.

 

Variety

Are the finest, freshest ingredients used to offer an ever-evolving array of selections?

Review the variety offered on different menus. What options are always available? What seasonal options are offered? Are the daily specials enticing? Is the menu created with senior health and wellness in mind?

 

Quality

The simplest way to evaluate the quality of a community’s dining services is by sampling the cuisine yourself and speaking with current residents about the consistency of their own dining experience. While individual preferences differ, residents can offer honest opinions and helpful recommendations. Inquire about how the community incorporates feedback from residents and families as it relates to culinary options and the overall dining experience.

 

Accommodations & Preferences

Preparing meals to meet the desires, needs, and expectations of a community may seem daunting, but it is truly the hallmark of senior living dining. Chefs and dining teams working in senior living communities are well-accustomed to managing a vast array of changing resident preferences, dietary limitations, and food allergy concerns. With a variety of dining venues, restaurant-style service, and extensive menu selection, residents enjoy a personalized dining experience at every meal.

 

When visiting a community, ask about how the chef and dining team build rapport with each resident and learn their unique preferences. Does the team make time to meet with residents and discuss their expectations? What kind of vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, allergy-friendly, or other alternative meal options does the chef recommend?

 

Ambiance, Seating, and Service

The invitation to dine with residents and sample a meal offers the chef and dining team a fantastic opportunity to make a grand impression. Whether casual or upscale, note the ambiance of the venue, the professionalism of the staff, and the timeliness of the service.

 

Details such as comfortable lighting and seating arrangements, music, and friendly conversation enhance the dining experience and are important considerations. Ask about outdoor dining options, venues for residents, families, or guests, and options for to-go service or making table reservations. Are flexible dining options available for residents who enjoy cooking and dining in their apartments or those who prefer casual, open seating?

 

Social Connection

Dining with others is not only beneficial to a senior’s well-being but also essential for social connection, which research has shown to positively impact health and longevity even more than physical exercise!

 

Gathering at the table for meals with friends offers face-to-face social interaction and a sense of camaraderie and connection that most older adults can’t experience when living alone. Look for a vibrant community that fosters these connections throughout the day and especially during the dining experience.

 

Dining at Edgemere

Edgemere’s exceptional dining experience is marked by each one of these important components. In each of their dining venues, the creative culinary teams consistently craft experiences meant to be savored. For classic and casual bites, Portabella Bistro has options ready quickly, while those looking for an elegant and upscale dining experience can make reservations at Medici restaurant for an evening of fine dining.

 

To learn more about how Edgemere redefines dining and personalizes the experience for each resident, speak with Alex Gonzalez, Director of Culinary Services, or contact us today.

 

Join us at the table.

If you or a loved one is exploring senior living options and ready to join us at the table to sample the exquisite culinary offerings at Edgemere, contact us today.

 

Learn more about Edgemere’s award-winning independent and assisted living options and distinctive dining venues. Schedule a tour and visit our premiere senior living campus in the heart of North Dallas.