Digital Communications, Dining, and Menu Selections in Assisted Living

Many assisted living communities incorporate user-friendly technology into their overall operations. The objective is that digital technology can enhance the livability of an assisted living community for its residents. One area in which assisted living communities are making use of technology and digital communications is in the realm of nutrition, dining, food service, and menu creation and selections. In this article, we discuss how digital communications and associated devices are being integrated into assisted living communities, including as part of food services in a facility.

The fact is that digital communications and associated technology is being used in the realm of food and food services in a number of key ways that include:

  • Menu creation
  • Menu selections
  • Special diets
  • Ordering food
  • Visitor meal requests
  • Communicating concerns

Menu Creation and Digital Communications

Some assisted living communities involve residents in the creation of menus. This particularly is the case in smaller communities because having this routine is more practical and easy to manage. In other words, some assisted living communities have residents involved in selecting what will be on a facility’s breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus (usually for the upcoming week).

Digital communication is being more widely utilized when it comes to involving residents in menu creation. For example, residents may be provided a tablet. Through an app on the tablet, residents are able to convey their thoughts on the next week’s menu via a communications portal or app accessible via a tablet provided by the community itself.

Menu Selections and Digital Communications

Some assisted living communities offer choices for most if not all meals. In other words, a resident is able to select a particular entrée, perhaps a particular dessert, from a number of different options. In order to more efficiently accommodate menu choice, and in order to reduce food waste, most communities that offer meal choice are using technology that permits residents the ability to order the specific options they desire for a particular meal. 

In some cases, meal selections occur on the same day of service. In other instances, meal selections occur the night before. 

Through the use of a device like a tablet, a resident has a considerable amount of flexibility in regard to putting a specific meal selection into the system. This process also saves staff time. Staff members no longer need to be running around tracking down the meal choices being made by residents. 

Technology and Special Diets

A considerable percentage of residents of assisted living do have some special dietary considerations. For example, residents with diabetes have specific directives they should follow when it comes to what they eat. The same holds true for individuals with a range of other types of health conditions.

Thanks to technology incorporated into an assisted living community, special diets can be more effectively and efficiently managed. Residents and community staff can stay better connected when it comes to special dietary needs – literally on a daily basis. 

Technology also permits the ability to involve residents’ healthcare providers more closely into the diet process. In other words, residents and staff at an assisted living community are better able to access a physician to get more information about a person’s dietary needs, information that is readily accessible to anyone who needs this data.

Ordering Food to Living Quarters With Digital Communications

Residents of assisted living are encouraged to take meals in dining rooms regularly. With that said, they are not pressured to do so. They are free to eat in their rooms or apartments if they so desire. 

If a resident of an assisted living community wants to eat in his or her room or apartment, technology in place in many facilities permits the ordering of a meal to private living quarters when desired. In addition, technology can be used by a resident to order a meal to be picked up in the dining room as well. 

Requesting Additional Meal for a Visitor

Residents of assisted living are encouraged to have family and friends over for visits. This includes having loved ones join residents for meals. Many assisted living communities provide residents with credits for a certain number of guest or visitor meals each month at no additional cost. Meals needed for guests beyond that amount are billed at what most consider a very favorable cost.

Technology also enhances the overall process of requesting additional meals for visitors. If a resident has a guest coming for a meal the following day, he or she can put in an order for an additional meal for breakfast, lunch, or dinner using technology like a tablet with a specific ordering app.

Communicating Food Service Concerns to Administration

While assisted living communities strive to provide the best when it comes to food services, work hard to ensure that residents get tasty and wholesome meals, every once in a while something can go a bit off track. If an assisted living community has incorporated technology more closely with food service, a resident is likely to have confidential digital portal through which he or she can communicate with administration. For example, if a resident has some sort of concern or issues with food service, that individual can reach out to administration from the comfort of his or her own personal quarters via a confidential digital communication portal. 

Many assisted living communities now provide their residents with tablets. It is through these devices that a variety of matters can be undertaken associated with day to day living in an assisted living community. Food service is a prime area in which residents of assisted living connect with the community’s team in regard to a wide array of different matters of issues. 

When considering a particular assisted living community, inquiring about how technology is incorporated into the lives of residents is an important line to pursue. In the end, even if an older person is not currently adept with certain types of technology, having access to this tech truly can enhance the overall experience of living in an assisted living community in a highly positive manner.