February 18, 2020
Mealtimes are an important part of our daily routine. Beyond providing nourishment to our bodies, food also gives us an opportunity to interact with others and form meaningful connections. Some of the best moments in life are shared around a table with friends and family!
We all need and desire positive dining experiences, and that doesn’t change when a person has Alzheimer’s or another type of dementia. That’s why many assisted living memory care communities are taking a “person-first approach” to mealtimes, helping residents dine with dignity and enhance their quality of life.
Let’s take a look at how assisted living memory care communities are making mealtimes easier and more enjoyable for residents:
Creating a comforting, inviting atmosphere
For individuals with dementia, a noisy, distracting environment like a restaurant can become stressful and overwhelming. Understanding this, memory care communities design dining rooms to promote comfort and relaxation. From soothing décor to peaceful classical music playing in the background, every aspect of the dining experience is intended to improve the dining experience.
Keeping mealtimes simple helps to prevent frustration and confusion for people with dementia. For example, memory care communities will serve smaller portions, so residents don’t get overwhelmed by too much food. Using brightly colored dishes and utensils instead of plain white or patterned ones is another strategy to prevent confusion at mealtimes. Food stands out visually when it’s placed on a contrasting colored plate, which helps prompt people with dementia to eat more.
Making meals appealing
First impressions are everything, especially when it comes to dining. Often, people with dementia experience a loss of appetite and a change in food preferences. Favorite meals might not be as appealing anymore, but the person may be inclined to try different dishes than they did in the past. In memory care communities, careful thought is given to enhance the flavor, aroma, texture, and appearance of every meal served.
Addressing nutritional needs and concerns
For someone with dementia, poor nutrition can increase behavioral symptoms and weight loss, which may lead to other health complications. Memory care communities provide chef-prepared meals that are highly nutritious and well-balanced. If a resident has another medical condition like diabetes, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol, nutritionists are on staff to create special diets and ensure menu modifications are made.
As dementia progresses, a person may need extra help to eat and drink safely. The staff in memory care communities are there to provide support when needed while allowing residents to be as independent as possible during mealtimes.
Eating in the company of others provides valuable opportunities for fun and socialization. In memory care communities, residents have the option to dine with caregivers and other residents in a family-style setting that fosters conversation and a sense of belonging. Mealtimes are something residents look forward to each and every day!
If your loved one with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease needs a secure, soothing environment, Pavillion Assisted Living Memory Care at Bethany Village can offer the setting that’s right for them. We know the importance of providing healthy, delicious meals in a caring, calming dining space. All meals are prepared fresh three times a day, with snacks and beverages available 24/7 to ensure residents have flexibility in their routines.
Want to learn more about the dining experience at Bethany Village? We invite you to schedule a tour of our beautiful community and stay for a meal. We are happy to answer any questions you may have!