The Bristal Assisted Living Blog

Posted by The Bristal  |

Senior Living Dining Trends in 2024

A formal restaurant experience? Outdoor ambiance? A quick catch-up in a cafe? Dining in senior living communities will be all about flexibility and variety in 2024. 

Residents will have more choices than ever before in what and where to eat. Making mealtime a customizable experience adds to their quality of life and brings novelty to each day. 

Here are some senior living dining trends to watch in the year ahead. 

More Dining Venue Options

Senior living residents have different preferences and needs when it comes to dining venues, and communities are responding. Whether residents want a more relaxing night in or an elegant  dinner experience, there’s a dining concept for every taste:

  • Outdoor Dining Spaces: Like many mainstream restaurants and breweries, senior living communities are offering al fresco dining for residents, from open-air patios to 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 flexible and customizable by adding seating times and dividers to define personal space better.
  • Grab-and-Go Meal Options: Meal delivery and grab-and-go programs are becoming more commonplace in many communities. Some senior living communities even incorporate features you might find at high-end hotels, such as room service, food carts, and 24-hour food service options.
  • Cafes and Bistros: For a more informal dining experience, senior living communities are incorporating cafe-style concepts into their dining options. 

More Meal Choices and Special Concepts

Many senior living communities are taking steps to increase their menu options and customize their presentation of meals. Action stations (like a hibachi grill or meat-carving station) and fun presentations enhance the dining experience for residents.

Short-term, pop-up dining concepts will also be popular in the year ahead. From specialty stations to themed dining, residents will have plenty of menu variety. The Bristal at Mount Sinai launched an “Adventurous Eaters Club” at the suggestion of a resident, where cuisine from a different country is explored each month.

Fresh vegetables and fruits in a farm to table concept

Seasonal, High-Quality Ingredients

Expect to see senior living communities rolling out more plant-forward meal options and seasonal menus in 2024. With the cost of ingredients changing rapidly and challenges in sourcing certain foods, maintaining a regular menu can be difficult. 

More senior living dining programs are rising to the challenge by purchasing from local vendors. For residents, locally-driven, seasonal menus are a delicious way to fuel up with nutrients and maintain variety in their diets. 

Related: Why Eating Real Food is a Healthy — and Delicious — Option for Seniors >>

Chef uses immersion blender to puree food for special diet

Special Diet Accommodations

For residents with certain health conditions, following a special diet can often be part of their treatment plan. Senior living communities are responding with dining programs tailored to residents’ dietary needs and special menu options. 

Some conditions that may require special diets are: 

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

Senior living dining teams are increasingly able to provide specialized diets that are gluten-free, low-sodium, lactose-free, and sugar-free. Other types of specialized diets include 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 using utensils.

Related: What’s It Like to Dine at an Upscale Senior Living Community >>

Enjoy Fine Dining at The Bristal

Unique fine dining experiences are something you’ll enjoy every day as a resident 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 maintains The Bristal standards of excellence.

Here’s what you can expect from The Bristal’s culinary team:

  • Memorable Dining Experiences - food tastings, demos, themed dinners
  • Taste of Home program - cooking demos featuring resident recipes
  • SmartChoice - healthy ingredients and clean foods that promote healthy brain function
  • Farm-to-table - in-season ingredients from local farmers
  • Modified diets - therapeutic and mechanically altered diet accommodations

Find Chef Prepared Cuisine at The Bristal


This post was originally published in 2021 and is updated yearly with new information. It was last updated in January 2024. 


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