Food in aged care facilities is a hot topic these days, with Managers of facilities reporting that the quality and variety of food is one of the most important things their residents focus on. A supplier of fresh food to hotels, restaurants and aged care facilities reports that fifteen years ago facilities would buy frankfurts, devon and cheap foods, but he says “These days that is not accepted. It is just not tolerated.” Now aged care facilities’ focus is on quality and variety with lean meats purchased and meal planning four weeks in advance. Menus are changed three or four times a year and in the last five years residents are demanding more traditional home style cooking.
Some facilities have food focus groups that provide feed-back to the Chefs. One large aged care group have an annual in-house conference with all their Chefs to review menus and food policies, exchange ideas and experiences and introduce some taste innovations. Other facilities serve meals in intimate dining rooms where the residents are served individually plated meals. Some facilities provide a private dining room where families can gather to celebrate special occasions together, whilst another provides private dining experiences with access to the Executive Chef to discuss the menu. Most have in-house dieticians and nutritionists to ensure residents’ meals are nutritionally balanced.
Special diets may be catered for should they be for cultural, religious or medical reasons. Many facilities also provide morning tea, afternoon tea and supper as well as main meals, with some having an emphasis on fresh home baking
With all this on offer I recommend asking about the dining options offered in each of the aged care facilities approached. I certainly do as an Aged Care Placement Consultant, on behalf of my clients.