Grind Dining in Action at Watermark Retirement Communities

See a demonstration of the Watermark Retirement Communities Thrive Dining program by Grind Dining from Chefs Pat Caffery and John Luzader on the KGUN 9 Morning Blend Show in Tucson, AZ.

These two chefs do a fabulous job of demonstrating the Grind Dining technique and program on this segment.  They discuss the Thrive Dining by Grind Dining innovative dining experience for memory care residents and how Watermark Retirement Communities and The Fountains at La Cholla in Tucson, AZ.  is using this program to enhance the lives of their residents.,d.cGc



Teepa Snow's Positive Approach to Brain Change Online Dementia Journal - September 2015

In this newsletter, Teepa shares some great insight on balancing a day through dining for those living with dementia and Grind Dining is featured as a Positive Partner in the link below. Please take a moment to read and share with a colleague, caregiver, friend, or family member that may benefit from these resources:


An Extraordinary Way To Solve The Dementia Weight Loss Problem.

The University of California San Francisco published a study that suggests a commonly used class of drugs used to treat dementia is causing unintended weight loss in individuals being treated with these drugs.

What if you could modify the food program in such a fashion that dementia residents would eat more food, which would allow residents to continue to take these medications and maintain or even gain weight?  See the "Out of the Box Thinking" by Grind Dining as a dining  solution and program for your dementia and skilled nursing residents:

 Original article published by Senior Housing Forum at:

Written by Steve Moran



Grind Dining Dishes Up New Menus for Memory Care

People with Alzheimer's often can't feed themselves anymore, right?  Not necessarily!  This alternative to spoon-feeding is not only appetizing, it promotes dignity, independence, and even happiness.

See original article published by Crisis Prevention at

Written by Erin Harris


No Teeth Required - Fixing the Crazy Food Problem for Dementia Residents

I first started chatting with Sarah Gorham and Stone Morris many months ago about their way cool approach to food for residents with dementia.  They have an amazing story that is one of serendipity and opportunity and creative thinking.

See original article published by Senior Housing Forum at

Written by Steve Moran

4 Techniques on Memory Care's Cutting Edge

As memory care providers compete to meet the needs of a growing segment of Americans with dementia, many are turning to innovative solutions that revolve around engaging the senses.

By 2050 the number of those 65 and older in the United States is expected to almost double, and those 65 and older with Alzheimer's disease, the most common type of dementia, may nearly triple, from 5 million to as many as 16 million, according to the Alzheimer's Association.

Grind Dining

A new approach to dining in memory care is doing away with the days of applesauce and fish sticks to give residents a contemporary dining experience: Grind Dining

See original article published by Senior Housing News at

Written by Cassandra Dowell

Grind Dining - A New Experience and Food Choice For Those With Dementia

Alzheimer's Speaks Radio gives voice to all trying to improve the world for those living with dementia.

Today we have two top chefs with us who have been touched by dementia and decided to make a difference.  Stone Morris and Sarah Gorham created "Grind Dining", a new way to experience food and allow those living with dementia to maintain their independence and dignity.

Listen to the original podcast aired on September 9, 2014 at

Hosted by Lori La Bey - Founder of Alzheimer's Speaks

Grind Dining Advisory Board Announcement

We are pleased to announce that effective July 1, 2014, Nancy Page Forbes, MSN, RN has joined the Grind Dining, Inc. team as an Advisory Board member. Nancy brings a wealth of knowledge within the clinical healthcare industry and will serve as a nursing process and healthcare advisor to Grind Dining.

Nancy has a diverse professional background and nursing is a second career for her.  Leaving the residential construction business, applying for and being accepted into the nationally recognized School of Nursing at the University of North Carolina - Greensboro was a life changing experience.

After graduating from the UNCG School of Nursing in 2009, Nancy worked as a bedside nurse at Cone Health in Greensboro, North Carolina where she focused on cardio pulmonary disease in a mostly geriatric population.  She left the hospital environment to do home health nursing in a rural North Carolina county while returning to college to pursue a Master's Degree in Nursing and received her MSN in Nursing Education from Walden University in 2012.

While working in home healthcare Nancy's clients were almost exclusively a geriatric population and the position took her into many long term care and rehab facilities in the area.  After some reflection on how she could positively impact this population, Nancy went to work in case management with the Medicare and geriatric populations at Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina.  Nancy currently works as a case manager with the AAPR Medicare Supplement "My Path" program for United Health Group/Optum Services.

Nancy recently completed her board certification for case management and continues to work in North Carolina serving a geriatric population with a focus on Health and Quality of Life Promotion.

Sarah Gorham and Stone Morris - Cofounders/Chefs at Grind Dining, Inc.

The Big Idea 2014: The puree alternative

Written by Paul King at Foodservice Director - Foodservice Ideas and Innovation

Stone Morris and Sarah Gorham


Grind Dining, Atlanta

Gorham:  The Arbor Co,. operators of senior living units based in Atlanta, hired us last year as consultants to come up with a solution for residents who have chewing disorders and cannot use utensils when they eat.

Morris:  We have never been involved with senior care, but Mary Campbell Jenkins, Arbor's VP of operations, knew we were chefs and asked if we could help.  Sarah went in and did an observation, and what she saw was disheartening and depressing. The solution, for most people with such problems, was simply soft foods: scrambled eggs, mashed potatoes, etc.  We thought with 60 years in foodservice collectively, surely we could come up with something.  But it would have to be simple, streamlined for production and easy for semiskilled labor and nutritionally complete.

I had a memory of my great-grandmother grinding up fish with a meat grinder to make gefilte fish.  It had body and texture, and you could feed it to toddlers.  So we bought a grinding attachment for our mixer and three chickens and went to work.

Gorham:  We focused on breakfast, lunch, and dinner entrees and sides.  Desserts, we found, were not a problem.  We developed some foods and piloted the program as Arbor Co.'s Dining with Dignity in two of their communities.  We did it in an engaging environment, elevating the experience across the board with plates, linens, décor of the dining room, and other things to engage the residents and preserve their dignity.  In those two communities, residents' caloric intake was up 30%, and because the nutritional value of the food was still there dietitians saw better clinical outcomes.

Morris:  Grind Dining is not a puree program.  Our method is just to grind the cooked proteins, carbohydrates, and vegetables so that they will be easier for residents to chew and swallow but formed in a way that hey can pick up with their fingers.  We found that just by making the food small, compact, neat, and easy to pick up, the mechanics of eating with the hands came quite naturally to folks after a while.

As toddlers, eating with our hands and fingers was quite acceptable and tolerated until society put the pressure on us to conform and become "civilized".  Older adults have to unlearn 60 to 70 years of using utensils and that it is now OK and perfectly fine to eat with their hands.

See original article, published by Foodservice Director at

ALFA Honors New Best Practices in Senior Living

2014 Best of the Best Awards

WINNER: The Arbor Company - Dining with Dignity

"Favorite foods that once were forbidden are now back on the menu for residents of Arbor Terrace’s Engaged Living memory care program who cannot easily manage utensils or swallow solid foods."

View the complete article online at:

Sarah Gorham and Stone Morris have broken new ground! Their Grind Dining program has brought dignity to many of our residents in memory care, while helping them rediscover the joys of a satisfying meal. As a team they have worked effectively with our corporate office and community staff to build the foundation for a new approach to dining which supports residents with changing cognitive and physical needs. Our residents and their families have benefited enormously from Sarah and Stone’s visionary Grind Dining program.
— Mary Campbell Jenkins, VP of Operations at The Arbor Company, Atlanta, GA

Arbor Company's "Dining with Dignity" meal program, designed, developed and implemented by Grind Dining, wins The Assisted Living Federation of America's Best of the Best Award

June 14, 2014

Grind Dining,™ the innovative food-preparation process that restores enjoyment of mealtime for individuals with cognitive, neuromuscular and chewing disorders, is gaining national attention. The creation of Atlanta chefs Sarah Gorham and Stone Morris, Grind Dining™ enables assisted living communities to serve all their residents from the same menu without the need for personal assistance at the table.

The Assisted Living Federation of America presented the Arbor Company - Grind Dining’s™ first client – with its prestigious Best of the Best Award at the group’s annual conference on May 20, 2014 in Phoenix, Arizona. The award, which recognizes unique and innovative ideas that directly impact residents, their families and the staff of assisted living facilities, went to the Arbor Company’s “Dining with Dignity” meal program. Grind Dining™ designed, developed, and implemented the award-winning program in 2013 after months of training, menu planning and testing under the contract with the Arbor Company.

The Grind Dining™ culinary technique involves grinding precooked food and presenting it in a way that retains the taste, texture, nutrition and consistency of the regular menu items being served to non-impaired residents. The converted dish can be eaten by hand and is easy to swallow, freeing impaired residents from having to rely on routine finger-food menu items or being assisted by a caregiver.

Deborah Osterhaudt, vice president of sales and marketing for the Arbor Company, described the Grind Dining™ experience: “While traditionally prepared foods served to residents with swallowing or motor issues are safe and nutritionally sound, the food may not taste good or is not easily manipulated and we find that our residents do not enjoy the dining experience and eat less,” said Deborah Osterhaudt, vice president of sales and marketing for the Arbor Company.  “Foods that stimulate the senses with the same tastes and textures allow our residents to once again enjoy a delicious meal in a way that was thought to be long forgotten.”

The Arbor Company and Grind Dining™ kept detailed resident satisfaction surveys during the” Dining with Dignity” testing and found that 30 percent of the memory care residents improved food intake and 90 percent of residents and their families were happy with the new menu choices.

Grind Dining™, located in the Candler Park area of Atlanta, continues to create new menu items and is working to implement similar programs for other assisted living communities.

More news about Grind Dining™ can be found on Facebook and the company’s web page,

MEDIA CONTACT: SARAH GORHAM 404-953-1363 or email:

About Grind Dining™, Inc.: Grind Dining™ is a dining management consultant company that has developed the solution and dining program for individuals with cognitive, neuromuscular, or chewing disorders who find eating with utensils frustrating and challenging.  Grind Dining™ develops customized dining programs for residents or patients in senior assisted living, skilled nursing facilities, and hospitals. The method and techniques used to produce the Grind Dining™ product and dining program promotes individuals with unique and complex needs to "Eat with Ida" - Independence, Dignity, and Accessibility. More information about Grind Dining™ is available at

About the Arbor Company: Arbor, based in Atlanta, operates more than 20 independent living, assisted living and memory care communities in nine states. With 30 years of experience, the company strives to deliver the highest quality care to residents and their families. More information is available at

About the Assisted Living Federation of America: ALFA is the largest national association exclusively dedicated to professionally managed, resident-centered senior living communities. More information is available at

Innovative Dining Program Brings Dignity Back to Mealtime

The Arbor Company's 'Dining with Dignity' program wins Best of the Best Award

The Arbor Company May 21, 2014 8:59 AM

ATLANTA, May 21, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Favorite foods that once were forbidden are now back on the menu for residents in The Arbor Company Engaged Living memory care program who cannot easily manage utensils or swallow solid foods.

The innovative Dining with Dignity program became the newest winner of the coveted Best of the Best Awards at the Assisted Living Federation of America conference yesterday in Phoenix.

After months of collaboration with two chefs in a test kitchen, Arbor communities now use a culinary technique that involves grinding cooked food and presenting it in a way that retains the full taste as well as the texture, consistency and "five star" attractiveness. The converted dish is finger-ready, easy to swallow and as nutritionally complete as the original. Now all residents—even those who typically would require a caregiver's assistance or prepackaged processed foods—can order from the same menu.

"While traditionally prepared foods that are served to residents with swallowing or motor issues are safe and nutritionally sound, the food may not taste good or is not easily manipulated and we find that our residents do not enjoy the dining experience and eat less," says Deborah Osterhaudt, vice president of sales and marketing. "Foods that stimulate the senses with the same tastes and textures allow our residents to once again enjoy a delicious meal in a way that was thought to be long forgotten."

So far, 30 percent of memory care residents participating in Dining with Dignity have shown improved intake, and 90 percent of respondents to a resident and family survey approve of the menu choices. After their successful collaboration with Arbor Company, chefs Sarah Gorham and Stone Morris cofounded Grind Dining™, a consultancy that trains chefs in the innovative preparation technique.

About The Arbor Company: The Arbor Company is an Atlanta-based operator of more than 20 independent living, assisted living and memory care communities, serving seniors in nine states. With nearly 30 years of dedication and experience, The Arbor Company strives to deliver the highest quality care and service to residents and their families. The company's innovative Engaged Living program creates meaningful moments through structured activity programs and spontaneous interactions, filling each day with the right balance of purpose and fun. More information about The Arbor Company is available at

About the Assisted Living Federation of America and Best of the Best Award: Program submissions for the Best of the Best Award were judged for their uniqueness in the industry, innovative use of ideas, impact on residents and families and embrace of industry core principles. The Assisted Living Federation of America is the largest national association exclusively dedicated to professionally managed, resident-centered senior living communities and the seniors and families they serve.

The Arbor Company
Media Contact: Chris Harper
3715 Northside Parkway, Atlanta, Ga. 30327
Office: (678) 539-8966
Cell: (678) 725-1955

# Original Article #


Dished: Grind Dining Redefines Menus in Memory Care

Elizabeth Ecker  |  April 30, 2014

 Grind Dining Chicken and Rice

Grind Dining Chicken and Rice

Senior living food service bears many similarities to what you might find in any other organized form of dining—or in some cases, exactly what you might find in a restaurant.

But there’s one distinct challenge found among senior living providers when it comes to planning and delivering meals to some of the clientele: food that can be enjoyed without the help of a fork, knife or in some cases, teeth.

For a proportion of the aging population who suffers from memory impairment or lack of cognitive function, eating without common utensils is a daily challenge. But gone are the days when highly processed or soft foods were the only options.

Enter: Grind dining.

Grind Dining is the brainchild of two former foodservice professionals, Sarah Gorham and Stone Morris who are both chefs and have served in hospitality management roles among other foodservice professions.

They were hired as culinary consultants by The Arbor Company to develop a dining program for their memory care residents that met their individual and nutritional needs as well as providing all residents a dignified and quality dining experience.

“We found that finger food was an underserved area,” says Gorham. “It was part of the strategic plan to provide more variety and balance for memory care.”

After an observation, the team, whose tagline is “Dining with Dignity,” found that by no fault of the staff or suppliers, residents were largely existing on finger foods like chicken finger, peanut butter and jelly and applesauce, and that the food often wasn’t able to be served hot.

“It was no fault of the kitchen staff,” says Morris. “They were just ill equipped and didn’t know what to do. We hoped there was an answer. There had to be something we could do.”

The concept was inspired by the memory of Morris’s great grandmother, known as “Bubbie,” who in her childhood had often prepared gefilte fish (“a.k.a. the ‘holy grail’ of Jewish Appetizers,” Morris says), a cooked, ground, and poached whitefish, for a Sabbath meal. The partners had the inspiration to grind cooked traditional food items to preserve taste, texture, and composition of the menu items for residents.

The team also leaned on research from the University of Alabama and Harvard University that found cooked and ground proteins were 24% more digestible than just cooked or raw proteins.They began adding carbohydrates and vegetables for complete meals that were nutritionally complete and  didn’t require eating with a fork, knife or spoon or require chewing in order to consume. The anthropologists and scientists used Burmese Pythons for their research due to the fact that the pythons don’t have teeth.

The menu

The Grind Dining concept includes a training component where the Grind team works with a community’s dining services team to analyze and rearrange the menu and come up with new takes on menu components.

 Pictured above: Traditional chef's salad

Pictured above: Traditional chef's salad

 Pictured above: Grind Dining's chef's salad

Pictured above: Grind Dining's chef's salad

The equipment, which usually requires little more than a food grinder, is usually already on site with the food costs already built in. The team then develops menu extensions for each meal service and provides menu direction such as portions, vegetable garnishes and photos of completed meals. The menu doesn’t change, but one menu item is converted a la Grind Dining’s method and technique.

“It’s usually not an easy finger food conversion,” Gorham says. “It might be brisket. Or spaghetti and meatballs. Once we develop those extensions, we put together a tool kit for the community to train.”

To get around the lack of utensils often demanded by memory care units, Grind Dining utilizes lollipop sticks, popsicle sticks and other disposable tools that can help a resident enjoy a meal without the traditional finger food experience.

The food might look different, but the presentation and taste are maintained. Sometimes aromatics are also used to incite the senses of memory care residents before eating.

The result

The outcome from the Grind Dining pilot and implementation was several-fold. Resident family members reported that the residents expressed more enjoyment of their meals, a renewed sense of anticipation at mealtimes, and were more engaged and had responded favorably to the new menu offerings. Likewise, caregivers reported improved experience during meal times and residents needing a lot less help than they had previously.

Some communities have rolled out the program to other residents as well.

“Every community is different,” said Gorham. “Some said this was designed for memory care, but others found it to be so successful they rolled it out into their main dining rooms. It meets their dental needs and nutrition needs.”

Ultimately the program has worked best when it gains the buy-in of the entire community, regardless of need. Comparison plates have showed that the taste can be maintained even if the format has changed.

“It can be used as a point of distinction,” Gorham says. “Dining is an important consideration.”

Written by Elizabeth Ecker

See original article, published by Senior Housing News >