How Skilled Nursing Facilities Help Keep Residents Nourished

The importance of nutrition in healthy aging is well established. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that poor diet and inactivity cause 310,000 to 580,000 deaths per year, and are major contributors to numerous diseases and conditions, such as diabetes, obesity and stroke.

Seniors may be at greater risk for malnutrition due to a range of physical, social and medical issues – from a decreased sense of taste and smell, to living alone, to chronic illness. Skilled nursing facilities work diligently to help ensure their residents receive the nutrition they need to maintain optimum health. They do this through a number of ways:

Creating more food options to accommodate special diets and tastes
Many nursing home residents have dietary restrictions, including those living with diabetes (who need low sugar diets), high blood pressure (who need low salt diets), and those who are overweight (who need low calorie/low fat diets). Additionally, there are people who are vegetarian, or on Kosher and other religious-based diets that prohibit certain foods.

Getting resident input
More and more nursing homes are getting input from the residents on the kinds of food they like. If you create foods people like to eat, the greater the chance they’ll enjoy their meal and eat with greater appetite. This, in turn, helps ensure residents are getting the nutrients they need and helps them stay healthy.

Consulting registered dieticians/nutritionists
It seems there is always a new study that warns us about the dangers and/or benefits of a certain food. Having someone trained to know the latest information helps ensure residents receive well-balanced, nutritious meals.

Creating a restaurant-style dining experience
Part of helping ensure nursing home residents get the nutrients they need includes creating an experience the helps create an appetite for the food being served. Many skilled nursing facilities have separate dining rooms, where residents enjoy restaurant-style dining.

Allowing residents to eat when they want to eat
Many skilled nursing facilities now offer “anytime dining,” which allows residents to eat whenever they want. With this innovative approach to dining, if a resident wants to sleep in, they can do so without the fear that they will miss breakfast. If they get hungry at 4:00, they have the option to eat during a time that best suits their schedule.

By creating food and experiences that whet the appetite, today’s skilled nursing facilities are helping ensure their residents get the food they want, while helping ensure they get the nutrients they need.

Source: Real Properties in association with IlluminAge Communication Partners; copyright 2018 IlluminAge.