Person centered care involves residents being better able to direct what services they receive. This way residents can continue to lead a life that is both meaningful and have a feeling of control. Person centered dining includes a myriad of things, including letting the resident decide who they sit with. Instead of having assigned seats, let residents sit with friends or maybe even decide to sit at a different table to make new friends. Provide resident’s with a menu that has variety, liberalize diets so that these residents can enjoy food and not feel like they are on a “special diet” different from everyone else. Also, if a resident is on a mechanically altered diet, make these foods more visually appealing (adding garnishments, food molds, etc.).

Timing of meals is also another important factor. Many people have different routines at home and when they go into a nursing home or assisted living environment, many times meals are at certain times of the day. Providing extended dining hours is an excellent way to accommodate individuals so that they feel they have some control over what time they choose to eat a meal. For example, some residents may be used to eating an early lunch at 11 am where as other are used to lunch at 12:00 or 12:30 pm. Providing snacks between meals is also another great option if people like to graze more during the day.

The dining environment is another area where residents can have some control over.   Offering a more home like environment can make people more comfortable and maybe even socialize more. Make the environment colorful and cheerful, a place where residents want to come to socialize and enjoy a meal. Also, background music can be a nice added touch, because let’s be honest, who wants to sit in a room full of quiet people eating!

So, as you can see, there are many ways to improve a facilities resident centered dining experience. Treat all clients as you want to be treated and make the dining experience one to be remembered!