When it comes to offering dining experiences at organizations that provide long-term senior or healthcare services, there is a lot to think about. In the past, the process used to be a simple buffet option but more organizations are beginning to offer dining services that are more in line with restaurants.
This has led to an upswing in outsourcing dining management to specialized contractors. Many senior resident centers and communities are choosing this route because using a dining management service helps to:
- Reduce Risks
- Boost Client Satisfaction
- Decrease Food Cost
- Increase Efficiency
Baby Boomers Are Driving the Shift to Patient Centered Meals
Driving this change within long-term support facilities is the expected surge of new residents as 2.5 million baby boomers who have turned seventy in the last year. These centers and communities have begun to change their offerings in an attempt to attract these seniors who are more active and more specific about their long-term needs.
To most baby boomers, food is not just to keep their energy up throughout the day. Food has become an amenity to many, an experience where they can socialize and try out new flavors and cooking techniques.
Additionally, meals in many communal living spaces are a way for individuals to maintain a sense of their own independence. Offering a variety of different food options is a great way to ensure that clients continue to feel autonomous and valued.
This has led organizations to create more attractive dining options that have welcoming table arrangements and a variety of food options that are more in line with an upscale restaurant.
Changing Regulations Provide Support for a Person Centered Approach
This shift is also supported by the federal government who has proposed a variety of changes to the current status quo. There have been proposed regulations that would require long-term living communities to offer food service that will cater to different needs, including:
- Religious Dietary Needs
- Cultural Food Preferences
- Ethnic Dining Options
These proposed regulations will empower residents of long-term living facilities the right to make dietary choices of their own preference.
Making the Switch to Managed Food Services: Choosing the Right Provider
While most communities see the value of a person-centered food model, there are many that have struggled to try to make the switch from their current food service system. A lack of culinary expertise and the needed employees can make the process almost impossible, which is why many are choosing to outsource their needs to a dining management provider.
However, not all food service companies are going to provide the type of person-centered dining experience that you are looking for. When searching for the right fit for your community, you should ensure that the company you are interested in is committed to the same goal as your nonprofit.
That means that they should be a good cultural fit for your population, understand the need to empower your residents, and support your ability to fill your beds and retain your clients. These needs will vary depending on the type of community you serve.
For instance, assisted living food service will be more labor intensive, require more dietary understanding, and need one-on-one service providers for those who need assistance with their food while dementia geared food service will need to focus on not overwhelming residents with too many choices and offering easy to use utensils and serving dishes.
Each community is unique and should be treated as such by your food service provider. Making the switch to a food management company for your nonprofit support center can be the change that will ensure that your residents are empowered and happy.