Some notes from the front line kitchens...

If it was just about grinding up food and putting it on a plate so people could eat it with their fingers, all you need is a commercial grinder and some plastic trays. But changing the kitchen culture in senior assisted living means more than just providing the minimal food service needs of your residents. You want them to enjoy their dining experience and you want their families to know they are getting great meals and great service.

Most importantly, you want your residents to be happy, to have their spirits lifted by a dining experience that allows them menu choices and the chance to eat without assistance.

That's our goal. And here's some of what we've learned so far in working with the facilities we serve:

  • Food service staff and caregivers are great at cooperating with us to refine our menu items and tailor them to the specific needs of their residents. We perform community taste panels for the entire staff before implementing the Grind Dining program, allowing everyone to taste the new menu items. The staff is happy to try something new and different and they respond to the positive feedback they get from the residents.
  • We've created customized Grind Dining menu extensions so memory care residents can enjoy the same delicious foods as everyone else in the community. Our Dining Director Finger Food Toolkit provides the management resources needed so the staff can easily carry out the program once we have finished training.
  • Memory care residents register over a 90 percent approval rating that the food was more accessible and intake increased by 30 percent for those eating Grind Dining meals. The additional nutrition improves the overall health and well being of some of the community's most vulnerable residents.
  • The "service standards" we employ make a huge difference in how our meals are enjoyed. Tablecloths, napkins, even aromatherapy, can enhance the dining experience. Try it. They'll like it.