Recent research shows that menu planning programs are a highly effective means for improving nursing home residents’ quality of life.
Planning food menus for seniors in a residential care setting poses a variety of challenges. Overcoming these challenges often results in limiting residents’ food choices and nutritional autonomy, both of which are shown to decrease quality of life.
Fortunately, menu planning software can help residential care facilities to overcome these challenges and provide residents with greatly improved menu options.
Menu Planning Strategies for Seniors in Residential Care
To effectively meet the nutritional needs of seniors in a nursing home setting, you must consider a variety of factors.
Primary among these are the dietary needs and restrictions of each resident. However, their overall physical, mental and emotional health is important, as are environmental factors. The amount of exercise a resident gets, for example, or how much time they spend outdoors in the sun can affect nutritional needs.
Many nursing home residents also face challenges related to chewing or swallowing. Medications can suppress senior appetites as well, making it difficult for residents to eat enough to meet their nutritional needs.
Why Senior Food Choices Are Important
New research conducted by the University of Queensland demonstrates how important it is for senior menus to offer choices.
Choice and control over many aspects of life are automatically diminished when an individual enters a residential care facility or nursing home. Often, that includes the ability to choose what’s for dinner (or lunch, or breakfast).
Losing choice of any kind rapidly degrades the quality of life. This research demonstrated that losing the ability to make food choices is especially damaging, as this is a level of autonomy that adults have enjoyed their entire lives.
Nursing home food service satisfaction was shown to increase significantly when choice was incorporated into the menu planning program and process. Nutrition levels were also shown to increase as a result, as residents who were given food choices were more likely to consume the optimum level of food to meet their dietary needs.
Menu Planning Programs Increase Quality of Life
The University of Queensland research demonstrated how effective menu planning programs are for improving nursing home residents’ diet, nutrition and quality of life.
The most significant point was that menu planning programs allow care facilities to forecast well in the future, which provides the ability to offer choices in both regular and texture-modified menus.
The Grove Menus food menu program and planning tools are specifically designed to facilitate flexibility and choice in nursing home menus. Our meal planning software allows your staff to create menus well in advance and to access nutritional information. Grove Menus also allows the culinary staff to generate shopping, ordering and pick lists and to monitor inventory.
And, to ensure that you can control costs, our meal planning software features a robust cost monitoring and reporting module, which allows you to project future costs quickly and easily.
Contact Grove Menus today and let us show you how you can improve your residents’ quality of life by using our meal planning program.