Innovative Solutions for Senior Living Dining Services
Posted in Blog on August 1, 2023
Advances in technology are continually enabling senior living communities to provide better standards of life for their residents, with the latest innovations streamlining the dining experience for residents and staff alike. Senior living menus and dining rooms are no longer consigned to a trail of paperwork, tracking everything from allergies to meal plans. Instead, these services are transitioning to point-of-sale systems that accurately track food ordered, services provided, residents' needs and so much more.
The Importance of Innovation in Senior Living Dining Services
Innovative senior living solutions improve residents’ quality of life across the board. Making use of modern dining solutions that streamline the ordering process and track resident data removes most stress from mealtimes. These solutions also enable staff to spend more time engaging with residents by reducing their administrative burden. Further, the right solutions can improve community revenue capture and making organizations more profitable, simply by making it easier to track the food and services provided and ensuring accurate invoicing of residents.
With the dining program innovations available today, residents and staff can make reservations, order meals at their convenience and keep track of any dietary requirements, all without the hassle of physical paperwork. Changes can be made on the spot by any authorized user, and so, if a resident’s doctor updates their diet or a resident wants to change their lunch reservation to coincide with a friend’s, they can make that change instantly.
The Most Innovative Solutions for Senior Living Dining Services
Numerous improvements are now available for senior living dining services. Today’s point-of-sale technology uses tools like digital menus; online ordering applications; robotic delivery systems; and individualized tracking of dietary restrictions, allergens and meal plan balances. These dining solutions not only streamline the whole process but also reduce overhead costs and simplify things such as billing and updating dietary changes. Some of the best innovations include the following.
Digital Menus, Tablets, and Reservations
Integrating digital menus and tablets into senior dining systems can considerably ease the work of dining staff while simultaneously improving resident experiences.
Tablets prevent miscommunication by providing clear descriptions of available items and prominently displaying any dietary restrictions or meal plan balances to both dining residents and dining staff. This also gives the residents added autonomy in placing their orders. After perusing the menu, residents can order through the tablets by themselves or communicate their order to a staff member. In addition, different menus and prices can also be displayed for guests, staff and other non-residents at the click of a button.
Another thing of note is the digital dining services' capabilities to accommodate reservations for communal dining venues. Apart from helping senior dining communities reduce congestion and meet social distancing guidelines where applicable, this feature also helps residents plan their day and schedule their mealtimes to coincide with that of friends or other residents. Moreover, combining reservations with online ordering allows the kitchen to plan its meal prep accordingly, thereby ensuring the availability of freshly prepared food for each patron.
Web and Mobile Apps
Using web and mobile apps to place resident meal orders is perfect for independent living solutions where residents might not have any staff supervision. Such programs enable them to choose their meals from the comfort of their own devices and send the orders to the kitchen to be prepared with no special tech requirements.
Intuitive apps enhance the residents' dining experience by relieving them of the pressure to place an order on the spot at the venue. Instead, residents can choose their meals in advance after reading clear descriptions of the available options. Any relevant dietary restrictions stored in their account are also communicated to the kitchen along with their order.
Online Meal Ordering System
Residents can use online ordering systems to place orders at the dining venue without having to wait for staff to take their orders. They could also pre-order meals for dining in, taking them away or having them delivered to their room or apartment, depending on the community. Just like the web and mobile apps, online ordering systems also provide a clear view of residents’ meal balances and dietary needs by streamlining the process and limiting communication errors between senior dining communities and residents.
Dietary Tracking Software
With resident data integrated into ordering platforms, each resident can see delicious meals tailored to their individual dietary needs. Residents can order from their personalized profiles that take dietary restrictions and preferences into account (and communicate those needs to the kitchen) so they can be sure each meal is catered to their health and tastes.
This is especially helpful in independent living communities, where resident food intake may not be as closely monitored as in assisted living or nursing homes. However, even in the latter, dietary tracking features can ensure that health data is up-to-date and that nothing gets missed during the meal ordering process.
One of the latest innovations in assisted living technologies is robotic delivery systems for meal service. Though there is some concern about robots taking jobs away from human staff, these actually serve the opposite function.
These robots are not replacements for the nurses or waitstaff. Instead, they only enable those employees to spend more time with residents instead of milling around the area doing menial tasks. It is the humans who still take orders and serve meals.
Moreover, the truth is that many senior living communities are struggling to fill their open positions. There is a shortage of qualified applicants, increasing the workload for those who remain, leading to burnout and increased employee turnover. Robotic meal delivery enables these staff to focus on the finer aspects of senior living service – from the provision of medical assistance to simple human connection – leaving the bots to do the more mechanical tasks.
Harness the Future of Senior Living Dining Services
At eMenuCHOICE, our mission is to take the routine tasks off your plate so you can focus on making meaningful connections with your residents. We offer both assisted and independent living solutions, fully customizable to the needs of any community. To see how our innovative technology for assisted living communities can improve your senior living community, request a demo now!