We should not underestimate the power and influence that Baby Boomers have in shaping today’s trends in long-term post-acute care. The Pew Research Center estimates that 10,000 Baby Boomers are turning 65 every day, resulting in a large influx of potential entrants into Senior Living and Life Plan Communities, alike.
These new entrants into the LTPAC population have expectations that differ from the previous generation. For one, they love their smartphones. In fact, they are the fastest growing segment of smartphone owners. They are also highly accustomed to dining out. They want familiarity in terms of atmosphere, as well as food choices. They seek value and are health conscious.
In order to attract an increasing number of seniors and to keep them happy and engaged, here are a few considerations to keep in mind, especially in terms of dining:
- Interesting and healthy menus
Healthy menu options are key; in fact, more than 25% of Baby Boomers say they are on a diet. And this means not only a selection of foods with reduced fat and sodium, but also a selection offering the extra benefits of inherently nutritious ingredients like whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. This is increasingly important because as seniors are living longer than ever before, they want to maintain a healthy lifestyle as they age.
- Don’t ignore breakfast and snacks
Many senior diners seek personal growth through dining and are willing to experiment with new flavors and cuisines. This extends to breakfast and snacks as well, where the traditional options can be slightly bland. With more seniors embracing an active lifestyle, you should also strive to offer snacks that are fast and convenient.
- Focus on dining environments
Seniors’ current expectations for in-facility dining are heavily influenced and shaped by mainstream dining. These new members of your facility will be benchmarking your dining options against more recent experiences of dining out at local restaurants. However, this doesn’t mean that you should mirror every single offering available from mainstream restaurants, instead, it affords you the opportunity to create dining experiences that are interactive and extend beyond just satisfying hunger.
To provide a meaningful dining experience for residents you could:
- Offer various styles of dining (g. bistro, café, buffet, restaurant style, grab and go)
- Expand your hours of service
- Use different spaces to facilitate meals
- Offer multiple payment options
As senior living and LPC providers begin to accommodate the dining preferences of Baby Boomer residents, they may also find themselves serving people outside of their immediate community. Expanded menus, new and diverse venues, and more flexible hours will likely encourage new residents to invite friends and family members to enjoy the facility’s dining experience with them. Being able to “entertain” in this way can boost residents’ mood immensely, which further supports the individual’s overall wellness.
A nutrition management software program like MatrixCare MealTracker allows you to build and adjust dietary options around individual resident needs and allows facilities to provide the highest level of person-centered care. By incorporating this product as well as the suggestions and additional feedback from your residents, you can ensure that your organization’s dining program becomes a competitive strength in attracting baby boomers to your facility.
Learn more about keeping up with Baby Boomers by checking out our latest feature in Argentum’s Senior Living Executive Magazine: