When reviewing services and expenses in a Retirement Residence; think about the costs, flexibility, and impact of the meal service on your budget.
Enjoyable dining in a comfortable setting is a pleasure in itself. Good food, interesting company, and attractive surroundings contribute to the experience. Never underestimate the importance of food when reviewing retirement homes. Compromise may exist in some areas, but are you willing to overlook food quality?
When touring a Retirement Residence, ask about enjoying a complimentary meal as part of your tour appraisal. Hopefully you will be given an invitation without hesitation. As a business, this is a small "advertising cost" if they manage to procure your residency.
During the dining experience, pay attention to the key points that make a meal enjoyable:
Is there attention to how the food is plated and presented?Is the food served hot and fresh?
Are the servers neatly attired and are they observant of etiquette when delivering a meal? No one wants thumbs and fingers encroaching on the plate as the order is served.
How do the current residents like the food?
Is there repetition every few weeks with the menu? What type of rotation occurs with the menu items, is there a 4-6 week cycle?
Ask about flexibility. if you would like some basic fare like a sandwich, scrambled egg or soup, can these be made without undue duress?
Are there snacks and beverages available throughout the day? Are these fresh or packaged? Are snacks inclusive in the meal plan, and can you share with visiting guests?
If you are an individual living with diabetes or have dietary restrictions such as gluten free or no added salt, inquire as to the home’s ability to manage these modifications. How about vegetarian choices? Is there are an added fee to manage special diets?
A wise consumer understands the cost structure of each home regarding meal service, so as to contrast and compare services with other residences.
Does staff summon you if a meal is not attended, to determine if you are safe? Is there tray service in the event of illness, and will the kitchen provide light fare for recovery?
Ask questions during the tour to determine if meals are included in the base fee. If 3 daily meals are inclusive, is there an option to opt out of lunch or breakfast to reduce costs?
Not all retirement homes have the same type of meal plan and hence asking questions before making a decision, will eliminate later disappointment. Asking to see a menu rotation and fee breakdown for review and consideration is more than “food for thought.” It’s wise consumerism…dollars to donuts!
Download the free Elderpilot: Retirement or Elderpilot: Long-Term Care mobile tour app (iPhones and Androids) for more information. The resource section is full of tips and strategies. The apps will guide you on your tours, providing a report to share with others. Looking for more help? Visit us at www.elderpilot.com