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Dining and Memory Care: Best Practices

Senior Living: Dining and Memory Care

Senior Living Dining and Memory Care

Identifying best practices when it comes to providing the best dining environments for dementia residents is increasingly becoming a hot topic within the senior living industry.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, the number of Americans living with Alzheimer’s is 5.7 million and by 2050, this number is projected to rise to nearly 14 million. In 2017, caregivers provided an estimated 18.4 billion hours of care to people with Alzheimer’s or other dementias, valued at over $232 billion. In 2018, Alzheimer’s and other dementias will cost the nation $277 billion. By 2050, these costs could rise as high as $1.1 trillion.

Senior Housing News tackled the challenge that dining leaders face in implementing evidence-based memory care dining programs and, based on interviews with industry leaders, compiled six tips providers can use to shape their dining practices. Below is a summary of these tips. Click here to see full article

Make Observational Assessments of Each Resident’s Needs Level

When it comes to the menu, dining schedule, dining space, and equipment, a person-centered approach is best. An assessment from an expert can determine each resident’s dementia journey stage.

Train frontline staff to work with dementia residents

A properly trained staff lays the foundation for a successful dining program. Many staff training programs exist for those who find it worth it to invest.

Make food choice simple

When planning menus, it’s wise to keep in mind that too many food and drink choices can be overwhelming to dementia patients.

Pay careful attention to the five senses

Dementia compounds the natural decline of senses that comes with the aging process, so recognizing that eating is a sensory experience is important when developing a memory care dining program.

Use color contrast in dishware and food

Without a clear contrast of colors between the tables and tablecloths, the cloths and the plates, and the plates and the food, residents might not understand where the plate ends and the food begins.

Modify your menu based on regional preferences

Making your menu person-centered (see tip #1) means making modifications to the food you serve, based on the cultural diet in the region in which you reside.

Care Purchasing Services (CPS) Partnership

At Care Purchasing Services (CPS), working in true partnership with our vendor partners and clients to add value to senior living communities and other organizations is at the core of our mission. CPS evaluates the industry, carefully vets all vendors, and provides exceptional client service to help you with your purchasing strategy.

When it comes to establishing memory care dining programs, CPS can help with many aspects, from color-contrasting dinnerware and linens, to optimal kitchen and dining design, to regional food choices.

If you missed it, read our blog on senior living dining design to elevate the dining experience at your community.

Click to Read our Senior Living Dining Design Blog

Want to learn about the CPS Vendor Partners that can help with your Memory Care Dining Program? Fill out the form below and we’ll be in touch.

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Care Purchasing Services (CPS) is the leading national group purchasing organization (GPO) dedicated to connecting senior living communities to carefully vetted vendors in plant operations, food service, medical supplies, therapy, pharmacy, and more.