For older adults, the benefits of healthy eating include increased mental acuteness, resistance to illness and disease, higher energy levels, faster recuperation times, and better management of chronic health problems. As we age, eating well can also be the key to a positive outlook and staying emotionally balanced. But healthy eating doesn’t have to be about dieting and sacrifice. Eating well as an older adult is all about fresh, colorful food, creativity in the kitchen, and eating with friends.
Montana’s assisted living facility regulations pertaining to food service can be found at ARM 37.106.2860 FOOD SERVICE (see statutes and rules governing assisting living). They state, in part, that foods must be served in amounts and variety sufficient to meet the nutritional needs of each resident. The facility must provide therapeutic diets when prescribed by the resident’s practitioner. Records of menus as served must be filed on the premises for three months after the date of service for review by the department. In addition, the facility shall take into consideration the preferences of the residents and the need for variety when planning the menu.
Meal planning and preparation should not be stressful! In today’s internet environment, many resources are available regarding menu planning, meal preparation, planning a shopping list, recipes, and senior nutrition. A simple Google search will reveal many options. Be sure to include residents in the meal planning process – what a great way to celebrate their traditions, customs, and cultural backgrounds!
The department does not suggest or endorse the following resources, but assisted living providers may find them to be helpful.
Menu Planning and Preparation:
Sample 5-week menu
Food Services of America
Simplified Diet Manual
TUFTS Food Guide Pyramid
TUFTS Food Guide Pyramid for Older Adults
USDA Food and Nutrition Information Center