Elevated Dining in Modern Aging Communities – How Dining Has Changed in Senior Living

When you picture senior living, you might have many questions. One concern people often have, is for the amenities they will have access to, especially the dining options. In thinking about senior dining, a couple different images may enter your mind, and perhaps none of them are elevated or enticing. You might imagine cafeteria style meals with a mixture of colorless, flavorless, overly processed, high-salt foods slopped onto a plate. Or you might picture precise meals, like those in a hospital, brought to your room, with controlled portions, and no freedom of choice for the food you will eat.

Fortunately, today’s modern aging communities come complete with elevated dining options. In fact, assisted living has shifted from quiet nursing homes to vibrant senior communities, more akin to an apartment complex or even resort-style living. This means, there are plenty of amenities, including often multiple dining options that are much more similar to a restaurant than a school cafeteria. Learn more about how dining has changed in senior living and how senior dining can now be a lovely daily luxury:

Dining on Your Schedule 

In the past, businesses like cruises, resorts, and even senior living communities often liked to implement schedules to keep everything running smoothly. These schedules might include very specific dining times for customers and residents. If that was not your preferred eating time, it was frankly too bad. You had to eat then or go hungry. However, over time, there has been customer demand for more freedom. Really, it is healthy for people to select the times they want to eat, to meet their own personal needs.

Today, just as cruise ships and resorts have implemented anytime dining, so has senior living. Senior dining is no longer regimented to a specific time of day. There is now much more flexibility to eat at the time that you prefer, on your schedule, to meet your personal preferences and physical needs. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner can be obtained throughout the day. Flexible menus even allow for breakfast lovers to get their favorite omelet at any meal—a big triumph for those who like to sleep in!

Meals Made to Order

Remember those nightmare school days when you went to the cafeteria, absolutely famished, only to find out the offerings were your very least favorite food? No matter how much you did not want to eat that food, you were sort of stuck eating whatever was put on your plate (or go hungry). That is what many people fear from the dining in senior living communities. However, today’s senior dining options are much more like a cozy local diner, where you are given a menu of options to select your meal.

Typical senior dining menu options would include a range of meals to meet every interest. Breakfast would include standard favorites like biscuits and gravy, omelets, and pancakes. For lunch and dinner, you would find salads, sandwiches, burgers, pasta dishes, and a selection of entrees. Often, there is a daily special that offers something new and exciting the chef has developed. These might include gourmet fish or seafood, locally sourced vegetables, and seasonal favorites like roast turkey.

Adjustments for Dietary Needs 

Now, as you navigate your golden years, you may be more concerned about your health than ever before. Conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes, may demand certain dietary choices. Some seniors also have medication regimens that require certain foods at certain times of the day. Of course, anyone can have an allergy or food sensitivity that requires sometimes very careful avoidance of those ingredients. Of course, senior dining is attentive to these needs, without sacrificing taste.

Today’s senior living communities employ chefs who work with nutritionists to design their menus. This ensures the offerings are healthy for their residents. Being on site, they can easily make adjustments to meet resident’s unique needs. One of the best aspects of senior dining is that the worry is taken out of the equation. It is easy to get a healthy meal without shopping, prepping, and cooking the meal yourself. However, if you are a cook, many communities also include kitchenettes in their resident apartments.

Time for Social Connection

Food has always been a means of connection for people. Most cultures and communities have all sorts of food traditions around which they may celebrate and find meaning. It could even just be family dinner at the end of the day that brings everyone around the dinner table. These moments are important, and they make a meal about much more than just the consumption of food for energy. They make mealtime a place for connections to people, to build relationships, and just have fun.

Today’s senior dining is designed to allow for social connection. Often, there are even multiple eatery options, such as a restaurant/diner and a small pub type setting, for a different ambience. Family and friends who do not reside on site can be invited and enjoy the atmosphere as well. To access today’s modern senior dining, check out Quail Park Communities, which offers all these amenities. As part of your tour, you could even consider having a meal on site, to see if the dining facilities match your tastes!

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