As the number of people in senior living communities continues to rise, so does the demand for a better dining experience. Residents’ expectations are higher, largely because of the influx of baby boomers seeking senior care.
Boomers—about 76 million strong—value the ability to make choices, including food and dining options in senior living. As they did when living at home, they want to keep choosing what to eat, when to eat and where to eat.
Regulations set by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) address the desire for choice. Skilled nursing centers are required to provide choices and honor residents’ individual preferences.
FTag 800 (F800) states: The facility must provide each resident with a nourishing, palatable, well-balanced diet that meets his or her daily nutritional and special dietary needs, taking into consideration the preferences of each resident.
FTag 806 (F806) states: Each resident receives, and the facility provides – Food that accommodates resident allergies, intolerances and preferences.
Coupling the demand for choice with the CMS regulations, operators must think beyond the traditional tray-line service model with non-select cycle menus. By providing residents the ability to choose what, when and where to eat, operators can position themselves to improve person-centered care and attract potential residents seeking a positive dining experience.
Keeping a database of residents’ diet orders, allergies, preferences and dislikes can be a challenge for operators. With the Resident Management modules of Cycle Menu Management (CMM), operators can organize resident information all in one place.
Taking it further, the Digital Choice Dining module (formerly Tableside Dining) gives operators the flexibility to take residents’ meal orders on a tablet at meal time or up to 7 days in advance. This module also gives servers instant access to nutrition and allergen information on menu items, creating a more transparent dining experience.