Have you ever noticed how often residents in your senior living community comment about the food and dining room? How many times do they check the menu or ask a staff member, “What’s for dinner?” Does it sometimes feel like mealtimes are the only thing on everyone’s mind?
Consider the amount of time residents spend preoccupied with dining and you’ll begin to see how important the dining experience is to overall resident satisfaction and community building.
Up to 60% of a resident’s day is focused on mealtimes.
Think about it. They are either anticipating a meal, preparing for a meal, going to a meal, eating a meal, visiting with friends in the hall after a meal, or returning from a meal. Breakfast, lunch and dinner make up the framework the rest of their day is built around.
Mealtime means much more than food to our residents.
Too often we fail to appreciate that, to our residents, the social aspects of dining are as important as what is on the plate.
Imagine what life is like for a resident in a senior care community. It can be a solitary existence, especially if they’ve lost a spouse and live alone. It’s no wonder meals become the highlight of the day. It’s true; in the dining room residents will be able to satisfy their physical hunger. But mealtime also means getting out of their rooms, socializing with friends, and catching up on the neighborhood news.
In the dining room, residents bond as a family, even though they come from different backgrounds.
You and your staff are an important part of that family bonding. In many cases, residents interact more with your staff than they do with their own family members.
Smart leaders work to proactively build community in the dining room.
You and your staff have an important role to play in helping residents overcome loneliness and isolation and build a sense of belonging. Through hospitality, you can help build relationships one meal at a time.