How Evidence-Based Dining Programs Will Drive Memory Care Move-Ins

Evidence-based dining programs will drive memory care move-ins

Today’s senior living decision-maker — often the adult child of a potential resident — grew up in the 1960s and 1970s, a time when television still fell into the category of “cutting-edge technology” and “making an informed decision” meant employing a mix of anecdotal evidence and national ranking systems.

That generation is now aging into the role of senior living residents, and Generation Y and millennials are entering the decision-making role. The habits of these younger generations will propel a significant shift in how senior living providers build their dining offerings, a new report from Senior Housing News shows.

That’s because as consumers, this next generation of decision-makers is increasingly data-driven. Indeed, tomorrow’s senior-living buyer might already be today’s daycare or preschool decision-maker. While they choose schools for their children in part using time-tested methods, they also make decisions based on the mountain of new data now available.

These people will likely bring to senior living these same expectations for evidence-based programming, and that puts new demands on senior living providers, including in dementia dining, where proof of a successful program is often hard to come by.

One thing that memory care dining programs already do have is research. Lots of it. Senior living providers and dining services companies are increasingly building and adjusting their memory care programs based on research and data, and consistently searching for best practices to provide the best dining to dementia residents.

To further augment a program’s empirical foundation, providers are also branding their memory care programs, including in dining. Watermark has Thrive Dining. Belmont Village’s memory care dining area is called Josephine’s Cafe, named after founder Patricia Will’s mother-in-law Josephine Will. Morrison calls its program “Dignified Dining.”

As the generations change, providers should expect more and more families to go beyond names and anecdotes. They will want data that backs up everything that providers do, including in dining.

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