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Dished: How Benchmark is Reinventing the Dining Experience for Seniors

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There’s no denying that the world of dining and nutrition has developed rapidly in the last couple of years. 

Dining programs at senior living communities are keeping in step with these larger cultural trends. It’s no surprise. Senior living has long followed the lead of the hospitality business. Many communities aim to replicate the experience of eating-out or staying at a resort, which makes sense. Residents want to enjoy the comforts of home, or be reminded of their favorite restaurants.

At Benchmark Senior Living, dining has always been a point of emphasis. The reason for this is simple—resident satisfaction surveys clearly outline a correlation between favorable dining programs and overall resident contentment. But dining isn’t just about the food. It’s also a time to relax, catch up with friends, and meet some new ones too.

There are other changes in dining, too. In the past, dining programs in senior living were informed by limitations and restrictions, not choice. Meals were kept intentionally basic and usually served buffet-style. Now, we’re seeing more table service, which not only replicates the restaurant experience, but makes dining more convenient for residents with limited mobility and promotes a true dining experience.

Another huge shift has been in cuisine itself. Previously, the emphasis was on basic nutrition. With today’s ever-growing focus on health, there is a more emphasis on providing seniors with a personalized dining experience. At Benchmark, our chefs meet with each resident to discuss and understand their dietary needs, special requests, and favorite recipes. We also capture all food allergies and dietary concerns as comprehensively as possible.

This may all sound complicated, but the translation to the plate is simple–new menus, fresh textures, and bold flavors. Senior living residents value taste and menu variety, and at Benchmark we approach mealtimes with thoughtfulness and creativity.

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Jayne Sallerson is a warm, enthusiastic and compassionate executive with a heart for working with seniors. Jayne has been in senior care for more than 20 years and she says, “I still love what I do.” At Benchmark Senior Living, Jayne now serves as Executive Vice President. A native of New England, Jayne loves to travel, meet new people, and hang out with her favorite pug, Henry.
Jayne started this blog as a way to share the many questions she and her team get every day with other people looking for answers.