Many things have changed in the long-term and post-acute care profession over the years, including senior living dining services. Individuals now have an entire spectrum of care-specific housing options, including independent living and Alzheimer’s units, to choose from based on their personal health needs. The facilities that are open today are much different than the facilities available just one or two generations ago. With a focus on patient-centered care and major advances in technology and medicine, people are living happier, longer lives.
One area that has also received an upgrade is food. In 2015, NPR released an article featuring the luxury dining experiences that many retirement communities offer their residents, and U.S. News and World Report recently showcased several nursing homes around the United States that have significantly improved the dining experiences of their patients and residents.
Improved Senior Living Dining Options Mean Better Health Outcomes
But why is this trend happening across the country? The reason is simple: better, more nutritious food means better health outcomes. There are multiple levels of a patient’s experience that are impacted, more than just their taste buds. As meals improve, residents tend to look forward to the experience. The more positive the dining experience, the more of a social event the meal becomes. With more social, positive interactions, residents can reduce anxiety, depression and other psychological factors. Additionally, meals that include foods that are familiar to the individual are showing positive outcomes, according to the NPR article. That article notes that if an individual is eating more foods that he or she would naturally eat at home, the more comfortable they feel eating those foods—thus getting the full amount of nutrients and calories that the dietitians and nutritionists to carefully consider in their menus.
The Important Role of Nutrition
The most obvious benefit to changing the foods and menus provided at various health care centers is the critically important role that nutrition plays in overall health and wellness. Residents must eat a variety of healthy foods to keep their body nourished, especially when an individual is ill or recovering from an illness—a time in which proper nutrition is the most important. As we age, our bodies require more assistance getting and absorbing all of the vitamins, minerals and other nutrients it needs. The best way, according to most nutritionists, is to simply eat more foods that are packed with the right vitamins and minerals. However, when food does not taste good or meals are not enjoyable, people eat less—consuming fewer calories and nutrients.
In addition to creating delicious, healthy meals that residents will enjoy eating, many facilities across the country are supporting specific dietary restrictions and preferences, such as kosher meals.
At Carespring, we highly value each of our patient’s unique dietary needs. We consider our first-class dining options as an opportunity to care for each individual while creating an atmosphere and social event that everyone can enjoy. We work hard to make sure every individual has the food and overall wellness support they need to be healthy. If you have questions about our services or would like to learn more about Carespring’s nursing home and skilled nursing rehabilitation facilities in Northern Kentucky, Cincinnati and Dayton, please contact the Carespring location near you.