3/29/2012 10:29 AM
Congregate dining aids in healing, better nutrition and improved patient satisfaction.
Congregate meals served in a group setting provide not only good nutrition, but equally important, an opportunity for regular socialization with others. Scientific studies have documented that older persons who regularly attend congregate meals have better physical and mental health than those who do not.
Senior dining advantages are social and supporting memory on how to eat, so it is usually successful in early Alzheimer and encouraging independence and choice in any dining room. It is not always the customers' preference though so verbal encourage is needed, a design that is soothing and healing, types of table settings that encourages interdependence, and the design of the room to be inviting.
Included in a meal delivery is the facility process if someone wants seconds. In addition, making sure that you have the right equipment and timing to keep the food hot while holding and transporting.
Congregate dining can be defined as dining together or family style feeding. I am referring to the process of dining together versus individuals eating in their rooms. Dining together allows an opportunity for human interaction and social exchange. The simple physical process of selecting what you want and how much adds an aspect of control and promotes interaction and active process of eating vs. passive of being served.
Social facilitation and meal ambiance have beneficial effects on food intake in healthy adults. There has been some major research on the effect of family-style meals on energy intake and the risk of malnutrition in nursing home residents. Family-style meals stimulate daily energy intake and protect nursing home residents against malnourishment. Therefore, replacement of the preplating meal services with family-style meals in nursing homes is recommended (re: Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences & Medical Sciences; Sep2006)
Researchers in the Netherlands found that residents benefited from the warmer, more positive atmosphere and social interaction that family-style meals allow.
Many dietitians, executive directors, and administrators who I have spoken to agree that it is the food complemented with the experience that encourage better hydration and nutrition in elderly residents.
The demand for residential communities for seniors rises as the U.S. population continues to age. This growth means that new administrators and staff members often are learning by trial and error the complicated task of delivering high quality and consistent services to elderly persons. Meal delivery being a major part of the resident (and family's) experience.
Induction plates, mobile food carts in dining rooms, food stations, color of plates, material of tables/chairs, design and function of dining room, music, color and more.
Are you well prepared to give them that positive experience?
How are you elevating your senior dining experiences? Alluserv can be a partner in solving this challenge
Written By: Marsha Diamond, MA, RD