What Are The Trends In Senior Living Dining

What Are The Trends In Senior Living Dining?

Dining in senior living communities can be one of the most fun and also most exasperating parts of serving seniors. With the baby boomers starting to enter the Residential Assisted Living market, whose expectations are different from the previous generation, there will be a greater call for variety and healthier options. Senior housing is evolving and operators are pouring more time and resources into their culinary programs to drive profits and provide unique customer experiences.

[vc_row css_animation=”” row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” angled_section=”no” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern”][vc_column][vc_empty_space][vc_column_text]

What is your Residential Assisted Living kitchen staff preparing to accommodate the Silver Tsunami of baby boomers?

[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”16px”][vc_column_text]What are you feeding your residents in your assisted living home? Fresh food is a smoking hot trending topic in America, and seniors are buying into the conversation. It’s time to serve assisted living seniors something healthy to chew on. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner in Residential Assisted Living homes are evolving into a complete culinary experience. These culinary chefs are driving higher profits to assisted living homes.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”16px”][vc_column_text]The current trend is spiraling upward from the demands of baby boomers that are changing senior housing food service programs. In order to satisfy the affluent food expectations of this generation, Residential Assisted Living homes are customizing new trends to appeal to baby boomers and others.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”16px”][vc_column_text]

SIX RESIDENTIAL ASSISTED LIVING HOME DINING TRENDS

[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”16px”][vc_column_text]

  1. An Increased Focus on Variety and Healthy Options
  2. A Dining Experience
  3. A Social Atmosphere with Fine Food
  4. Comfortable Unstructured Dining Areas For Family and Friends 
  5. Fresh Snacks and Food Available Any Time
  6. Strong Interest in Locally Sourced Food

[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”16px”][vc_column_text]Residential Assisted Living homes are maximizing their meals to give seniors the experiences they are looking for. These modern trends are setting a higher standard of living in Residential Assisted Living homes. As a result, senior living dining trends are impacting the market.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”16px”][vc_column_text]

Trend #1.

An Increased Focus on Variety and Healthy Options

[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”16px”][vc_column_text]Residential Assisted Living homes are currently undergoing the challenge of satisfying seniors who demand healthier meals. Baby boomers, in particular, require meals that are natural, without GMOs, and prepared with healthy ingredients. They’ve also experienced a lifetime of having a variety of options in everything. As a result, baby boomers are interested in restaurant-inspired meals that often require added culinary experience. Foodservice management companies must have inspiring menus that involve international cuisine, vegetarian meals, gluten-free options, vegan menus, branded items, a variety of flavors and colors, and more.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”16px”][vc_column_text]Fresh food, fresh coffee, fresh baked goods are important to today’s seniors – fresh is the keyword in the kitchen. This is why many Residential Assisted Living homes are hiring chefs to accommodate multiple choices and provide a variety of options. Residents are in search of meaningful meal substitutions and alternate menu items. The modern senior living kitchen has to operate similar to a restaurant to satisfy a host of senior customers. When residents do not like the daily option on the menu, chefs will need to be prepared to cook alternative meals, based on what is available. Hence, stocking an abundance of nutritious food choices is important.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”16px”][vc_column_text]

Trend #2.

A Dining Experience

[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”16px”][vc_column_text]Do you offer buffets, exhibition cooking, casual dining, formal dining, and restaurant-style menus? If not, you might want to consider what these dining experiences mean in a competitive market. Baby boomers don’t seem to surrender to the three-times-a-day meal concept. They demand flexible dining, a variety of options, including healthy choices, entertainment and something unique. For seniors, mealtimes are often one of the highlights of their day – they want dining to be an experience, rather than a mere meal.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”16px”][vc_column_text]

Trend #3.

A Social Atmosphere with Fine Food

[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”16px”][vc_column_text]Traditionally, baby boomers view dinner as a time of gathering. They grew up with social activities that always involved food. They’ve spent a lifetime enjoying social gatherings for sports, concerts, birthday celebrations, graduation parties, anniversaries and holidays. These rewarding get-togethers were always centered around food. As a result, most baby boomers expect that same social atmosphere, along with healthy upscale food options and restaurant-style menus. Host parties during dinner time, particularly around the holiday season. Since staff members work hard, residents appreciate knowing that they are getting an opportunity to enjoy themselves, too.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”16px”][vc_column_text]

Trend #4.

Comfortable Unstructured Dining Areas for Family and Friends

[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”16px”][vc_column_text]Families and guests appreciate having a casual dining area when visiting Residential Assisted Living homes. This concept allows for privacy and enables families to avoid awkward moments. For example, some residents become attached to specific seats at certain tables, having an extra dining area for casual occasions prevents unwanted instances. Residential Assisted Living homes can use patio areas, sunrooms, kitchenettes, formal living rooms and other designated areas for visits. [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”16px”][vc_column_text]

Trend #5.

Fresh Snacks and Food Available Any Time

[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”16px”][vc_column_text]Even snacks have been altered to accommodate baby boomers. This generation wants variety and flexibility. The traditional 8 a.m. breakfast, 10 a.m. snack, noon lunch, 2 p.m. snack, 5 p.m. dinner, and 7 p.m. snack doesn’t align with their lifestyle. Today’s seniors simply want food to be available around the clock, and they will eat whenever they are ready. Instead of graham crackers, they prefer fresh-baked cookies, mini muffins, and pastries made by the chef and displayed exhibition style. Some seniors want fully stocked pantries for random conveniences of grabbing cold cereal, fresh fruit or sandwiches. Residential assisted living is no longer a one size fits all operation.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”16px”][vc_column_text]

Trend #6. 

Strong Interest in Locally Sourced Food

[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”16px”][vc_column_text]Informed senior living residents appreciate knowing that many of their foods are coming from nearby farms and food producers. It’s now a trend and expectation. Sometimes fulfilling this need is as simple as providing coffee from a local shop and baked goods from a local bakery. Local businesses flourish and our residents are happy – everybody wins.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”16px”][vc_column_text]

RALNA KNOWS ALL THE INDUSTRY TRENDS

[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”16px”][vc_column_text]RALNA is advancing the industry with information that best serves the needs of senior care and enables Residential Assisted Living homes to compete in a growing market. Enhanced dining programs are key to moving senior living programs forward. Professionally managing the combined passion for food and social activities amongst baby boomers can set one Residential Assisted Living home above another. An excellent senior living dining experience makes a difference.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”16px”][vc_column_text]The landscape of residential assisted living is rapidly growing, and RALNA helps Residential Assisted Living businesses stay ahead of the game. Content at www.RALNA.com includes topics ranging from legislation, innovative products, unique services, marketing resources, employee retention tips and so much more. RALNA is preparing industry owners and operators with the resources needed to serve the oncoming silver tsunami of retiring baby boomers with the best care and dining experiences possible.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”24px”][vc_column_text]What is your Residential Assisted Living kitchen staff preparing to accommodate the Silver Tsunami of baby boomers?[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space][vc_separator css_animation=”fadeIn” type=”normal” color=”#eaeaea”][vc_empty_space][vc_row_inner row_type=”row” type=”full_width” text_align=”left” css_animation=””][vc_column_inner width=”1/6″][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”2/3″][vc_single_image image=”99″ img_size=”medium” alignment=”center” qode_css_animation=””][vc_empty_space height=”10px”][vc_column_text]

If you found the information on this article valuable, you’ll find enormous benefits by becoming a member of our community. Visit this page to become a RALNA Member.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/6″][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_empty_space][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Experience the Impact of the National Association

RAL Success Starter Packet

A collection of resources to help the residential assisted living professional maximize profitability and elevate care. Get this free packet which includes instruction related to Dealing with HOAs, Memory Care, Senior Health and Wellness, RAL Marketing, Home Tours, and Dementia.

What You Do for Seniors Matters

This packet is filled with practical and actionable steps to help you do good and do well. Where should we send your copy?