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Getting the Aged Care Dining Experience Right: It's more than just choosing the right aged care dining chairs and tables

Friday, April 8, 2022

Getting the aged care dining experience right is more than just choosing fit-for-purpose dining furniture...

A quality aged care dining experience is vitally important to the health and wellbeing of residents. For many, this is their only opportunity to consume food and fluids to provide nourishment.

As an Australian furniture manufacturer, we partner with Australian aged care facilities to handcraft quality custom-made aged care dining chairs and tables. We take this task seriously and each dining chair and dining table is fit-for-purpose, designed and manufactured with the needs of the elderly in mind.

While our priority is designing and manufacturing high-quality dining furniture, we also consider the full aged care dining experience and how our furniture will contribute to an overall satisfying dining experience.

Choosing the right furniture to enhance the aged care dining experience

Let’s begin by exploring the features of fit-for-purpose dining furniture which will assist in contributing to a comfortable, safe, and clean aged care dining experience.

When considering dining chairs, it’s recommended to choose a sturdy chair, featuring robust armrests with sufficient grip to aid in sit-to-stand transfers.

In terms of seat height, research conducted by the Queensland University of Technology indicates that residents prefer chairs that are above the recommended height for older people so that they will be able to get out of them more easily.

Other dining chair features to consider are firm seat cushions with smooth, attractive upholstery, such as flat pile or vinyl, with a protective treatment applied to ensure chairs are easy to clean.

Some things to avoid in dining chairs, which lead to discomfort and difficulty cleaning are chairs that have backing with leans backward; chairs that are too deep in the seat; chairs with fabrics that have a high pile and have a lot of seams and folds.

Beyond the furniture: 5 tips on offering the best aged care dining experience

Once you have chosen the right dining furniture, here are 5 tips to get you started when planning the overall perfect aged care dining experience.

1. Tasty and Nicely Presented Meals

Dietitians suggest that meals in aged care facilities should be prepared with care and presented nicely for residents to create a positive aged care dining experience.

The meals should be fresh, nutritious, tasty and residents should be provided with a choice of meals. Variety is key in ensuring aged care residents enjoy their daily dining experience, offering a changing menu will add to the overall satisfaction for residents.

2. Person-centered Dining

To ensure that residents of aged care facilities experience their desired dining experience, it’s important to ask residents what they want from an aged care dining experience including asking them what special features they feel will offer a relaxed dining experience and what they need to feel comfortable. Gaining resident feedback is essential in designing the layout of the dining room.

3. Social Dining

In most cultures, the kitchen is considered the heart of the home and meals are something to be shared in good company. The dining room of any aged care facility should be treated as the heart of the facility, where meals and company are shared.

Making the aged care dining experience a social event each day encourages residents to step outside their private rooms and spend much-needed time with other residents.

Often meal times can be the highlight of the day for residents, so offer dining tables that can seat several residents at a time and offer residents extended dining times so they can settle in and enjoy some social time.

4. Comfortable and Welcoming Environments

Creating a comfortable and welcoming dining environment should involve more than providing comfortable and well-designed furniture. Other aspects of the aged care dining experience you might consider are temperature control, reduced noise, replacing televisions with relaxing music, and adequate lighting.

Aged care facility staff, who remain in the dining room during meal times, should have a specific purpose, such as to supervise and provide support and assistance to residents, waiters, and staff to serve the food. Facility staff should avoid administering medications in the dining room during meal times, as this can be very distracting for residents and impact their appetite.

Also consider quality silver cutlery, assisted cutlery, white crockery, table cloths, and flowers to offer residents those special touches to the dining experience.

5. Planned Spaces

Aged care facilities should take the time to plan out the space in the dining room. Here are some ideas to consider when planning an aged care dining experience:

Offer a designated dining room that is separated from other areas;

Provide enough space and seating for visitors to sit with residents;

Adequate space between the tables to ensure residents can independently move their wheelie walkers, wheelchairs, and other equipment with ease around the room;

Adequate space between chairs for those who require wheelchairs or other equipment while they dine;

Avoid clutter and aesthetically chaotic spaces, as this can result in safety risks and make the space unpleasant to sit in for long periods.

Are you looking for furniture for your aged care facility?

At FHG, we understand the need to provide the aged care sector with fit-for-purpose furniture and we partner with Australian businesses to provide end-to-end custom furniture solutions; from quality-controlled design and manufacturing to ongoing after-sales care.

With over 20 years of experience in the aged care furniture manufacturing industry, we bring solutions to our client’s unique circumstances; it’s what we do best.

Call us today on 07 3808 7922 or send us a message and we will share with you how you can strike the balance between function, aesthetics and budget.


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