If you’re considering moving to an independent living community, it is likely that you’re curious about the dining services that are available. Part of the appeal of these communities, after all, is the idea of worry-free living. For many older adults, there is an allure to finally being free of the task of planning and preparing nutritious meals, as well as the drudgery of cleaning up afterwards.
Before you form expectations based on brochures that may offer limited information, it’s important to ask a few vital questions about the meals and dining services that are available.
9 Questions to Ask a Senior Living Community Regarding Meals and Dining
1) What is included in the monthly rent?
Many communities offer a certain number of meals per day or per week in the standard monthly rent. This allows residents the opportunity to choose which meals they’d like to prepare for themselves and which ones they choose to have provided for them. Some communities even offer three meals per day in the dining facilities (or delivered to your home) and provide small kitchens or kitchenettes for the occasions when you simply want to cook for yourself.
2) Are there additional fees to plan for?
No one wants a surprise bill at the end of the month – especially if you thought it was food you had already paid for. Best to get the details about snacks, treats, and beverages, for instance, clarified ahead of time.
3) Is there a fine dining option?
It’s nice to know if there are opportunities to dress up for dinner on special occasions and appreciate the finest meals in a luxury setting. It never hurts to ask.
4) Is there a café?
Sometimes you want a quick meal on the go rather than a complete meal. Inquire whether a café option is available.
5) Is there a private dining option?
There are special moments when you want to gather your family or friends together to celebrate life. Whether it’s a birthday, a holiday, or a family tradition, you may need private dining services to help put the event together.
6) Is catering available?
Catering services allow you the opportunity to host gatherings in your own home or in various gathering places throughout the community – with delicious food options for your guests.
7) How many meals are included in your monthly fee?
Part of your financial planning for an independent living community involves food costs and meal planning. Understanding the actual costs before moving in can help you narrow down your options.
8) What types of food are available?
You definitely want to know if the food offered in your independent living community is something you can get excited about. Take the time to learn about the cuisines and flavors ahead of time.
9) Can you bring food to your room if you don’t want to eat in the dining hall?
Whether you’re feeling under the weather or just want to watch your favorite team on a Sunday afternoon, there are times when you want to bring your food home. Make sure that’s an option.
The more you know about the dining services in an independent living community the wiser decisions you can make. If possible, find out if you can tour the dining facilities and have a meal during your visit. Then you’ll have a much better idea of how you feel about the dining services on site.