Aged care facilities that decide to outsource their catering typically do so with a desire to save time, money, or both. Sometimes, during their decision-making, there could be a loss as to who these decisions should be made in the best interest of: the residents.
Aged care residents generally spend much of their time gathered around the dining table and transform that into a focal point of their day. It is important, then, that the facilities make maintaining a high standard of catering a top priority.
Aged residents first
For the facility, it is important topartner with a caterer who places the residents first when considering your choice of aged care catering companies.
Your partner-caterer should be genuinely concerned with providing your residents with high quality, freshly prepared (and most importantly, delicious) meals.
The biggest benefit in choosing to partner with a resident-focused catering company is the improvements your residents will stand to gain in terms of their nutrition and overall level of health.
This might be a long shot goal but it should be a primary one.
Reheated food vs freshly-cooked
A freshly-cooked nutritious menu designed by dietitians and executed by experienced chefs
is always the most ideal. This is always better compared to the limited benefits of reheated, pre-packaged or low-cost meals provided by cost-focused aged care catering companies.
The quality is far more likely to deliver quality nutrition with genuinely enticing flavors that are bound to excite and delight the elderly residents. In addition, the residents are more likely to finish their meals.
As a result, it places them at a lower risk of malnutrition and requires less with regards to dietary supplements.
Sharing meals together in a community setting can be a key aspect of socialization. Aged care residents are some of the most at risk of their mental health. This is fueled with their feelings of isolation and loneliness.
When the food provided in the home is of a consistently high quality, then residents will typically spend longer socializing more happily. Likewise, they are more inclined to finish their meals and generally maintain a higher quality of life from the basis of good food .
High food quality
In-house catering solutions may be the easiest way for administrations to feed their residents, although there are other better solutions available.
Aged care catering companies that take a special interest in the quality of their food often have extensive experience in providing tailored menus to meet the specific dietary needs and preferences of residents.
The menus go beyond those designed by dietitians and some seasonal menus already offered. This can help ensure that every one of your residents are receiving all the nutrition they need, and all in a form that’s enjoyable to them.
Fast, flexible, and easy
Compliance work is expensive, time consuming and sometimes complicated. Maintaining compliance in any area of operations requires expensive time and effort.
With pressing concerns like medical and living standards,catering compliance risks falling by the wayside. With these difficulties pressing down on your staff, it sometimes is easier not to follow.
There is a big advantage to partner with a resident-focused catering company. An outsourced catering partner will care for your catering compliance from beginning to end, freeing up your staff to focus on their core duties.
With a truly food focused catering partner, your administration can rest easy knowing that their passion for food ensures that there’s no chance of any corner-cutting.
It is important to consider the heart and culture of your potential catering partner before committing to a partnership. A quick and easy catering solution from an en-masse caterer may be cost effective.
However, it does not compare to the real-world benefits of a caterer who is genuinely passionate about the quality of their food. You would need to choose your partner regarding his passion alongside with the quality of food you create.
Investing on the dining experience
Depending on how extensive the catering solution is, the residents could be spending up to six meals a day around the dining table.
With residents spending so much time in a single room, it’s important that your aged care catering provider invests in making this the best dining experience possible for the sake of their well-being.
There’s far more that goes into creating a positive dining room experience for your aged care residents than just a high-quality diet or nutritional support. Your residents will spend so much time each day sitting in their dining area that it becomes a permanent fixture of their day-to-day as well as a major hub for their social lives.
The important factor for your dining area is the overall atmosphere and can be achieved with styling. Studies (Lowndes et al, 2015)have shown that utilitarian cafeteria servings were uninspiring and unappealing to residents.
On the other hand, open-access buffet-style serveries increased resident engagement and enjoyment – all of this while serving as a social focal point.
Sights, sounds, and smells
Controlling the flow of sounds and aroma can act as part of the culinary experience as well beyond the look of the interior design.
Studies have shown that residents who have their food prepared in an attached area where they can hear and smell it being prepared are more likely to be regarded as appetizing. Moreover, they are more likely to finish their food.
A layout that exposes the sights, sounds, and smells of the chefs at work can go a long way to making your food and your mealtimes far more appealing to residents.
Good food, good company
Undoubtedly the most important part of your residents’ dining experience is that of their social experience.Your dining area is an area of the residential facility that your residents are likely to spend more time in than anywhere else.
As such, the dining area is going to become the de facto social hub of your facility. With this in mind, you need to carefully consider your facility’s dining area design to make it as inviting and social as possible.
For caterers, especially for aged residents, creating the best dining experience is always the top goal.
The work will center on the right atmosphere, the sounds and the smell, the engagements (dining themes and motifs) and the social atmosphere, plus the social opportunities all around will all play vital roles in helping their dining an amazing experience.