Feeding Residents in Residential Assisted Living

Food, It’s important for all of us. In assisted living, it’s actually the number two activity, if not number one inside an assisted living home. If we feed the residents properly, they’ll be healthier. They’ll live longer, they’ll be better behaved, they’ll be more comfortable, they’ll be a joy to be around. However, if somebody is uncomfortable, with either the food choice, the amount of food, the quality of food…that is so easy to fix. 

How much does it cost to feed residents? 

The cost of food is not very much at all. The national average per day per person in assisted living is $5 to $7 a day per person.  If we’re to take a 12-ounce piece of Filet Mignon, and bring it to the seniors, that would easily feed four of them. Buying that filet at the store might cost $15 a pound. So if you bought $15 a pound and you bring that into the home, that’s about $4 per person for that filet. If you had filet once a week, you’re head and shoulders above every other assisted living home out there. 

What do the residents want to eat? 

I always ask the residents when they come in, what’s your favorite? What do you love to have? What haven’t you had in a while? What’s your favorite cake and pie and the rest of it? If they say, I love seafood, shrimp, fish and so on. You can get jumbo shrimp the size of your finger that costs you very, very little and if they ate one, two or three of them, that’s all they need. For them, the high-quality foods served on a special occasion is a real special treat. 

Can you hire a chef? What are my options? 

Now, if you really want to go for it and be special, if you really want to have a home that people will wait in line to get into, have a chef, a dedicated person who is culinary trained. Maybe even having a menu on the table. Do cook to order breakfast. How much extra did it cost you? Not much at all. The reality is most of those seniors are going to eat the same exact meal every single day and there’s probably not going to be that wide of a variety, but if there were five things they can choose from. How special would that be? Lunch could be a set lunch, or maybe two choices. You have one simple that’s a staple. It’s soup and sandwiches, and another one to choose from. Maybe it’s chicken salad or it’s some other meal that’s available that you have, and that’s the one meal that’s made. In between breakfast and lunch, they’re making a wonderful meal for dinner. With wonderful smells throughout the house, the seniors are looking forward to it all day long and then that food will be served by the caregivers when it’s dinner time. You could charge a thousand dollars a month more because you have a chef. The chef is a feather in your cap, it’s what will bring people in and they’ll stay with you for it. 

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