The importance of food in retirement living

Chartwell’s retirement and long term care communities across Canada place a special emphasis on healthy eating, taking steps to ensure residents not only have access to nutritious and delicious meals, but welcoming and inviting dining environments.

As residents and their family members trust that they will receive high-quality, healthy meals, food is a top priority at Chartwell. Dining facilities in these communities provide residents with delicious dishes that not only leave them feeling full and satisfied, but include nutrients essential to maintaining and improving overall health.

Study will examine the impact of food in long term care homes
Heather Keller, a professor of applied sciences at the University of Waterloo, will be conducting a research study on how seniors living in long term care homes are impacted by the food options available to them. According to The Record, Keller has secured nearly $1 million in funding to examine why some older adults living in long term care are not receiving high-quality food services. As part of her study, she will examine exactly what meals seniors are being served, dining atmospheres and what kind of access seniors have to nutritious offerings.

Keller hopes her study will not only reveal which long term care homes may benefit from improved food services, but also demonstrate how they can provide better meals to their residents. She noted that while the study will take place over the next two years, several themes have already emerged as important for retirement homes. For example, meals should not only be healthy, but should account for residents’ personal preferences, nutritional restrictions and cultural needs.

Although nutritious food is essential for senior health, the dining atmosphere is also important. Keller explained that dining facilities should be warm and welcoming, creating environments where residents are eager and willing to enjoy their meals. Accommodating older adults’ needs, as well as ensuring staff are properly trained to assist when necessary, are both crucial for promoting healthy eating habits in long term care homes.

Keller’s study is funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, and will examine the eating patterns of more than 800 residents in 32 long term care homes in Canada. She hopes that by the end of the study, she will have identified patterns and trends that will help retirement homes to promote better nutrition among their residents.

Dining with Chartwell Retirement Residences
Dining at Chartwell is a tasty and entertaining experience, as residents enjoy socializing with friends and family over delectable meals in beautifully-appointed dining rooms. Chartwell’s Food Service Managers craft meals that both look and taste great, designing menus that provide residents with many choices and with locally sourced ingredients when possible. With the preference of today’s senior in mind, residents enjoy home-style favourites, themed meals and delicious desserts.

To learn more about Chartwell’s dining experience, or to download a sample menu, click here.