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The Bristal Assisted Living Blog

Posted by The Bristal  |  May 26, 2021

Senior Living Dining Trends in 2021: Outdoor Dining, Farm-to-Table Eats, and Unique Dishes

In 2021, many senior living communities are continuing their upscale, restaurant-style experience while shifting their dining trends to include interesting ingredients and expanded options. For residents, this means more delicious, exciting meals and more choices than ever before, which adds to the quality of their everyday life and ultimately, their senior living experience. Here are some ways the senior living dining experience is evolving in 2021.

Varied Venue Options

When it comes to where to eat their meals, senior living residents have more choices than ever before. Whether it’s a relaxing night in or a more elegant dinner for two, there’s a venue to fit every taste:

  • Outdoor Spaces. Just like many mainstream restaurants, more senior living communities are offering al fresco dining areas for residents, such as open-air patios or courtyards.
  • Dining Rooms with Adaptable Features. The traditional dining room setting remains an option for those who want a restaurant-style dining experience. However, communities are making these spaces more adaptable and customizable through steps like adding seating times and adding dividers to better define personal space.
  • Hospitality-Style Dining. Meal delivery programs are becoming more commonplace at many communities, and some are even incorporating features you might find at high-end hotels, such as room service and mobile delivery carts.

More Meal Choices

Variety is important, especially when it comes to meal choices. Many senior living communities are taking steps to increase variety and shake up the presentation options. Focusing on adding action stations as well as new and interesting ways to present ingredients enhances the visual aspect of meals.

The restaurant-style dining experience naturally complements this senior living dining trend. Expanded menus and made-to-order meals ensure that residents have more flexibility in their daily meal choices.

High-Quality Ingredients

Nutrition is, of course, vital to wellness, especially as we age. Diet can even play an important role when it comes to recovering from illness.

The rise of the farm-to-table movement -- which advocates for the use of ingredients sourced directly from local farms or companies -- has made its way into more and more senior living dining experiences. Communities partner with local farmers and agricultural outfits to ensure residents have access to nutritious, sustainable meals made with fresh meats and produce.

Accommodating Specialized Diets

For residents with certain conditions, following a special diet can often be part of their treatment plan. Offering more types of specialized dining programs tailored to residents’ needs is a senior living dining trend which is gaining popularity. Senior living communities are becoming increasingly accommodating to residents who adhere to special therapeutic diets, or even modified diets. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, examples of conditions that may require special diets are:

  • Cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Food allergies and intolerances
  • Osteoporosis
  • Digestive disorders

Examples of specialized programs could be a gluten or lactose-free diet, a texture-modified food program which presents a wide variety of foods in puree form for residents who may have trouble chewing or swallowing, or a finger foods program for residents who have difficulty with utensils.

Fine Dining at The Bristal

Unique fine dining experiences are something you’ll enjoy every day at The Bristal Assisted Living. Gourmet meals are prepared and served three times a day, and we partner with local growers and providers to ensure that every meal we serve meets or exceeds The Bristal standards of excellence.

Learn More about Assisted Living at The Bristal

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