How Much Time Do Residents Spend on Meals?

Have you ever noticed how often residents in your senior living community comment about the food and dining room? How many times do they check the menu or ask a staff member, “What’s for dinner?” Does it sometimes feel like mealtimes are the only thing on everyone’s mind?

Consider the amount of time residents spend preoccupied with dining and you’ll begin to see how important the dining experience is to overall resident satisfaction and community building.

Up to 60% of a resident’s day is focused on mealtimes.

Think about it. They are either anticipating a meal, preparing for a meal, going to a meal, eating a meal, visiting with friends in the hall after a meal, or returning from a meal.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner make up the framework the rest of their day is built around.

Mealtime means much more than food to our residents.

Too often we fail to appreciate that, to our residents, the social aspects of dining are as important as what is on the plate.

Imagine what life is like for a resident in a senior care community. It can be a solitary existence, especially if they’ve lost a spouse and live alone. It’s no wonder meals become the highlight of the day. It’s true, in the dining room, residents will be able to satisfy their physical hunger. But mealtime also means getting out of their rooms, socializing with friends, and catching up on the neighborhood news.

In the dining room, residents bond as a family, even though they come from different backgrounds.

You and your staff are an important part of that family bonding. In many cases, residents interact more with your staff than they do with their own family members.

Smart leader s work to proactively build community in the dining room.

You and your staff have an important role to play in helping residents overcome loneliness and isolation and build a sense of belonging. Through hospitality, you can help build relationships one meal at a time.

Learn more about how to help your staff build community in Hospitality for Boomers: How to attract residents, retain staff, and maximize profitability.

About Cindy Heilman

Cindy is the founder and owner of Kind Dining®, which she began in 2006. She’s traveled across the country and Canada working with and training senior living communities that want to create an exceptional dining experience for their residents and staff. In addition, she certifies select professionals in her Kind Dining® philosophy and provides tools, now in an eLearning format, that make learning stick and help people put insights into action. As a result of her work, clients often share their staff has a new sense of purpose, get along better and keep their focus and energy on what matters most. In fact, she wrote a book, Hospitality for Boomers on how to attract residents and keep good team members. In her free time, she enjoys walking Oregon trails and cheering on her favorite soccer teams, the Portland Thorns and Timbers.

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