Food is more than fuel. The enjoyment of dining with friends and family offers social benefits that are essential for holistic health. Sharing meals is an especially important aspect of wellness for seniors, because loneliness is “one of the most serious obstacles to good nutrition,” according to this press release from Home Instead Senior Care.
Though not all senior living communities are the same in terms of what dining options are available to residents — some may have different meal plans and menu offerings available, others may have multiple venues from which to choose for daily meals — all should be based on this foundation of fostering social engagement in the dining room. Whether the dining areas are formal or informal, whether they use tablecloths and fine china or placemats and paper plates, whether you can order from a menu or partake in meals served family style doesn’t matter… as long as residents can interact with friends or invite family members to join them as guests.
There may be times when illness prevents residents from eating meals in the common dining areas; in that case, most communities provide room service.
Tip: Having a meal in the dining room is one of the best ways to evaluate a senior living community, to determine whether it’s a fit for whomever is considering the move. Read more here.