Mount Baker Care Center & Summit Place Senior Living
Assisted care facilities typically serve a large number of residents on a limited budget. As a result, the options for meals and living accommodations can sometimes feel slim. Mount Baker Care Center & Summit Place Senior Living, however, has found a way to offer improved dining services while saving money along the way.
In everything they do, the care center’s philosophy is centered around the residents, Dining Services Director Jozef Bosman says with enthusiasm. The staff likes to imagine what it would be like to live there, what services they would want. To create the kind of dining experience they would enjoy themselves, they developed a completely new menu tailored to the residents’ needs.
MORE THAN JUST A MEAL
The resident dining room now offers a full menu with daily specials. They offer build-your-own sandwiches, and even have a chef who specializes in pastries. All of this is available for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
The new menu, which offers diverse choices and provides residents a sense of agency, has had a rippling effect. Some of the changes were expected, such as reduced food waste—residents now order only what they want, thereby reducing waste and saving the care center money—but what’s most interesting to Bosman are the unexpected effects.
One unanticipated change is that, rather than prepping for a large, single meal, the cook staff now prepare many small meals throughout the day. This makes the environment more relaxed. Some say they’d never go back to the old way.
Residents are also showing signs of improved physical and mental health. Dietitians have noticed trends in weight gain and stabilization, and staff have noticed greater alertness and livelihood in the dining room.
Residents interact a lot more, comparing food choices and getting ideas for meals, Bosman says. Complaints have gone down, so staff attitude has risen. The overall dynamic of the dining experience has been much happier and more enjoyable since these changes.
Mount Baker Care Center & Summit Place Senior Living also offers plenty of activities, such as movie showings, wine and cheese tastings, beer and pizza nights, and a senior prom. In partnership with a nearby daycare, they host intergenerational activities such as barbeques, art sessions, and reading time. Bosman also leads cooking classes, many times with dishes from around the world. If a certain food item is popular, it often ends up on the menu.
All of this revolves around a simple philosophy: Put the residents’ needs first. “A lot of people with dementia and Alzheimer’s, their memory has gone a bit, and they might not remember,” Bosman says. “But in that moment, they’ll be very happy.”
2905 Connelly Ave., Bellingham
888.603.9945 | mtbakercarecenter.com
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