In our prime of life, we can have as many as 10,000 taste buds. But by age 70, many older adults have lost two out of three taste buds.1 The sense of taste deteriorates, often reducing the joy and desire associated with food. Plus, chronic conditions such as diabetes, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, as well as medications, can interfere with the sense of taste and smell, likely leading to a decrease in appetite. This can potentially cause senior malnutrition, resulting in poor wound healing, weakened immune system and higher risk of hospital admission.2
It’s why we believe the dining experience is so important at Brookdale. We’ve developed an Optimum Life® dining program to help combat many of the challenges seniors face with food as they age. It’s our goal to produce nutrient-rich meals for all our residents, regardless of dietary requirements, by sourcing quality products and adhering to quality standards governing food preparation and service. A key component to providing healthy, flavorful meals to our residents is starting with fresh ingredients. Because of our size, we’re able to build partnerships with national, regional and local vendors and suppliers that allow us to purchase best-value products. Here’s a look inside Brookdale’s Dining Program Features.
- Optimum Life Cuisine is abundant in whole grains, lean meats, poultry and fish with low-fat dairy and a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. Prepared with healthy fats, fresh herbs, spices and other low-sodium seasonings, options are offered at every meal and are indicated on our menus with an insignia.
- The Culinary Arts Institute is our professional development program to support community dining leaders and assist in their advancement to make sure our associates are prepared to provide our residents with the best dining experience possible through hands-on training, tools and resources.
- Menu Chats encourage residents to share their menu ideas and even personal recipes with dining associates.
- Menu Manager is used by our communities to oversee standardized recipes, menu inserts and Daily Diet Modification summary reports, where applicable.
- The “We Say Yes” program empowers our associates to say yes to the requests of our residents and guests. If we aren’t able to accommodate the request, instead of saying no, we offer an alternative item to meet the needs of the residents.
- Our Fresh Approach starting with fresh ingredients is a key component to providing a healthy, flavorful meal to our residents and guests. Menus comprising seasonal and regional favorites are developed by the communities to celebrate local, fresh tastes.
- Signature Seasonings were developed by our registered dietitians with our culinary experts and designed to add more flavor to food without adding salt or fat. These seven mixes of particular herbs and spices specifically target seniors’ remaining taste buds.
- Guiltless Pleasures are portion-controlled desserts that either have no added sugar or are reduced in sugar or sugar free. These dessert options are ideal for anyone with diabetes or on a carbohydrate-controlled diet, as they are lower in calories and fat than regular desserts.
- For the Therapeutic Diets we support, recipes are able to be modified to meet the specialized needs of our residents. Modifications are pre-approved by a registered dietitian and options include Liberalized Renal, 2-Gram Sodium, No Added Salt, Texture Modified, Carbohydrate-Controlled, Puree, Low Fat/Low Cholesterol and more.
Know a senior who could benefit from Brookdale’s approach to dining? Refer them to Brookdale today! Call and schedule a visit to the community and lunch at 205-870-0786.
We are excited and proud to say that Brookdale University Park is open to new residents! Brookdale residents enjoy an engaging lifestyle with a selection of care options to meet changing needs. The community conveniently located off Lakeshore Drive offers a full continuum of care, including independent living, assisted living, Alzheimer’s and dementia care and skilled nursing and rehabilitation. Call 205-870-0786 to connect with one of our team members who would be delighted to help you plan your personal visit, www.brookdale.com.