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Long gone are the days when meals at senior living communities resembled bland lunch in a high school cafeteria. Today’s better communities offer residents fine dining experiences to rival most upscale restaurants. Not only can residents relish fresh, savory cuisine created daily by professional chefs and dietitians, they are personally served at elegant tables in open, ambient surroundings. Sumptuous menu options cater to every palate and dietary regimen.
Also at residents’ fingertips each and every day is a broad array of desserts and beverages, from wine, beer and cocktails to refreshing coolers and all roasts of rich, aromatic coffees and teas. Events and social hours often revolve around specialty cuisine and the freshest ingredients on every level of the food pyramid.
And it’s not just residents who delight in fine fare; often, their family members are happy to join them as well. And staff is only too pleased to serve them.
In 2010, a major food service corporation conducted a study on the importance of high-quality food and dining programs to senior resident satisfaction. The study found that superior dining experiences not only support health and well-being, good nutrition and sheer gustatory pleasure, but also the essential social interaction that feeds the soul.
Not surprisingly, the study revealed that old-style tray passing programs were linked to the lowest rates of resident satisfaction, while fresh foods, greater choice and elevated service and hospitality were linked to the highest satisfaction. Atmosphere, lighting, seating, table dressings and dining area size and views were also significant factors.
Who’s to credit for these appetizing changes in dining for seniors? Several sources say it’s the Baby Boomers, some of whom are currently living in senior communities and many more who will be in the next 10 years or so. The Baby Boom generation is largely comprised of educated, affluent, well-traveled folks who are accustomed to living a certain way and having more choices.
Senior living communities across the country and world are responding to the call for better dining experiences, especially as they compete to attract the Baby Boomers who will arrive with high expectations for their parents, and in a growing number of cases, themselves.
At GreenFields of Geneva, residents enjoy dinner and Sunday brunch in our atmospheric Savanna restaurant, offering a continuously evolving menu of fresh, healthy fare created by our chef with locally sourced ingredients. Our convivial Blackberry Bistro is open six days a week for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and registered dietitians with special training in nutrition for older adults oversee every meal. Happy hour on “Thirsty Thursdays” quenches residents’ taste for fun with premium wines and beers.
For those who want to venture outside of GreenFields for fine dining (though, who needs to?), the city of Geneva offers an abundance of eclectic, swanky cuisine, particularly in the historic shopping district. Check out such top choices as Niche, Atwater’s, Fiora’s, The Herrington, Patton House, Wildwood, and many more. After dinner, Graham’s can’t be beat for fine chocolate and is rated number one among over 100 eateries in Geneva.
For residents in contemporary senior living, mealtime is a far cry from the days many of them spent working away in their own kitchens. At GreenFields, dining is another, most wonderful world away.