Evaluating Food Service Programs For Your Senior Living Facility: Questions To Ask

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When you're the person who needs to find a good food service program in the area for a senior living facility, it can be a hard job. In order to best serve all the residents at your facility and keep them healthy, you need to ask some or all of the questions below.

What Types of Diets Do They Provide For?

As you already know, having different seniors in one community means that a food service program not only needs to cater to people who prefer different food choices such as gluten-free and vegetarian. A good program will also accommodate those who cannot eat solid foods or those who require low-sodium or diabetic meals. It's particularly important that those choices be not only nutritional but good-tasting as well. You might ask for a few samples so that you can invite some residents to test the menus.

What Kind of Food Prep Support is Offered?

Your dining staff works hard each day to prep and cook the meals for the entire facility. At times, they may also assist in feeding some of the residents. They are often pressed for time, so it can be a relief to know that the food service program that you choose will help them do their jobs more efficiently. Whether certain vegetables are cut before they arrive at your facility or the program pre-mixes salad dressing or other items, finding out what prep support a particular company provides is essential.

Where Does the Food Come From?

Depending on the mission and philosophy of your own facility, you may find it useful to know more about where a particular program gets their food. Do they work with local farmers? Do they only work with organic suppliers? The information supplied may help you decide on one program over another.

What Meal Planning Standards Are Used?

Most food service programs employ dieticians and nutritionists who plan meals and ingredients and come up with labeling that lists ingredients and nutritional content. Do they use your state's directives on aging nutrition to plan the meals they send out, for example? Do they use their own system to determine how much protein, sugar, and sodium is appropriate for seniors? Understanding how meals are planned will help you to be sure that the meals are nutrient-dense and healthy.

The food provided by a service program is nourishing the bodies of the seniors who live in your facility. Do what's best for them and ask these questions; find out as many details as you're able to before contracting with a particular program in your area.