This summer, when seniors living in Bria Communities retirement residences emerged from Covid-19 self-isolation, they discovered a significant change in their dining rooms—open seating!
Seniors Enjoy Dining With Friends
Gone are the days of assigned seating times and locations. Residents are now free to enjoy lunch and dinner in the dining room at their leisure and with whomever they choose. Matthew Jackson, General Manager at The Waterford, reports that it’s been a big hit with the seniors who live there.
“Our residents love it,” he says. “They can dine with someone new each night, or enjoy dinner with the same friend at each meal. Those social connections are important, and they’re the advantage of living in a retirement community.”
The dining rooms at all four Bria Communities seniors’ homes operate differently than it did before Covid-19. Safety precautions require residents to sanitize hands before entering the dining room and to sit six feet apart. Cutlery, condiments and dishes arrive individually with their meals, and culinary prep and service staff wear masks. “It’s not exactly back to normal,” notes Matthew, “but everyone is happy to be out of their rooms and enjoying meals together.”
Flexibile Dining Times
Ellen Pollo-White, enjoys the flexibility of dining at a time that works for her. While her life isn’t as busy as before Covidp-19, the active 74 year-old looks forward to the days when she’ll be able to visit friends, attend church and continue her poker lessons.
“It will be good that I don’t have to schedule things around when my meals are served,” she says. “I’ll be able to go out and come back at any time without needing to make special arrangements.” Residents have a window of time in which the dining room is open for meal service, and can come when they want.
Open seating is popular among senior retirement living communities and often is a big decision making factor in which one to call home. The change has been positive for Bria Communities, but it’s not the only change in the works.
Something New on the Menu
“We recently started a trial run serving wine with our dinner service,” reports Matthew. The option of a glass of red or white, or even a foamy beer for a reasonable price is very appealing to some of The Waterford’s seniors. “We had about 20 people opt-in on the first night, and I think when we return to having guests in our dining room, it will be even more popular.” Simplicity is important to Matthew and his crew, so just like in a five-star hotel, residents sign a tab at the table, and the drinks are charged to their room.
Seniors Deserve Choice
“These changes reflect our desire to give seniors lots of choices. It’s one of the things we say right in our mission statement,” says Matthew, “these are places where seniors’ choices are valued. Sometimes it’s the simplest things that make you feel at home.”