At UMH communities, we understand how important meals and mealtime are for our residents; often they are the highlight of each day. Meals are a time to meet up and socialize with friends, a time to talk with dining staff, and get caught up on what’s new and exciting, and a time to choose from a variety of menu items that are both nutritional and nurturing. For those on a restricted diet, we offer choices so they don’t get into a food rut. No one wants to eat the same old food each day at every meal.
All of our communities enjoy the support of a dietician who works with us on recipe choices for our menu, therapeutic diets, and managing food allergies and intolerances. Dieticians meet regularly with our chefs to review selections to provide the best variety of choices.
We encourage our residents to share their recipes with us. Our Activity staff work with our residents to use their favorite recipes and prepare food to share at recreational programs. There is nothing tastier that Antoinette’s famous pasta fagioli soup, Julia’s oatmeal cookies, Bobbie’s pimento cheese or Fred’s potato salad! Our residents have centuries worth of experience perfecting their family recipes, so why not share that expertise with the community? Our chefs regularly meet with our residents for food tastings, trying out a variety of recipes for green beans, mashed potatoes, shrimp and any food you can think of; taste testing hamburger patties to select the most popular for the menu, and even comparing local apples at harvest time to provide a choice to meet varying taste preferences.
Food comment cards are available for residents to provide immediate feedback on their meals. If we don’t hear from them in a timely manner, we can’t provide a quick remedy. Our chefs are encouraged to walk through the dining room for feedback from residents. They love to receive compliments and are looking for ideas of how we can improve the meal experience.
Sometimes residents just don’t want what is on the menu. That is why we provide alternative. Perhaps spaghetti and meatballs is what you are craving. Or maybe a plain piece of chicken breast is what you want to settle your stomach if you aren’t feeling well. One resident always wanted a sardine sandwich when she was having “one of those days” where you just are craving a comfort food; easy enough for us to provide! As we practice a relationship-centered approach to caring, we get to know what our residents like and can stock up on those special items; like Chef Loretta says “if we have the ingredients in the kitchen, we are happy to make it.”
Contact one of the UMH communities nearest you or your loved one to learn more about how we meet the nutritional, and social aspects of dining.