Mom isn't satisfied with the menu or food in the assisted living facility she resides in. - AgingCare.com

Mom isn't satisfied with the menu or food in the assisted living facility she resides in.

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We discussed it with the Administrator, and suggested he add her to the Resident Council at the facility, but I would like to learn more about the regulatory agency licensing/laws for Assisted Living facilities in Iowa. Mom is an insulin dependent diabetic and only needs assistance with making sure she checks her blood sugar, administers the correct dose of insulin every four hours, and is following the diet plan from her dietician. She doesn't need any additional services like assistance with bathing, etc. Thanks so much!

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It depends on where you go, I guess, whether the food is good or not. It sounds like you need to intervene for her, find out what she likes, why she doesn't like what they are serving. Maybe you need a doctor's order to make sure they serve her what she needs?
At Mom's IL they had fantastic gourmet food. (My sister sold her house and moved to the same place - loves the food!) Mom's AL had horrible food. I couldn't believe it, considering the price of the place! The meat was tough and veggies were overcooked and nasty. It was truly cheap, overcooked institutional food. They had a choice of one of two dinners, both not that great. But if the resident requested something else, they would do it. Mom had dementia though and didn't know enough to ask for anything else so she barely ate and they never tried to compensate with other things. I was disappointed with AL, that it seemed they didn't pick up on her needs and the family had to constantly tell them what she needed. We paid extra to have them get her for meals but a few times I arrived in time to see they had let her skip breakfast and lunch) You have to drop in the AL's a lot to make sure they do what you are paying them to do.
The NH where she spent the last 6 months of her life had really really good food, and the dietician interviewed the patient (and family) to make sure each resident got what they needed and liked and it was well prepared and not cheap.
I was impressed. In fact, sometimes I ate Mom's lunch because she would only eat the puddings and drinks but they did everything to entice her to eat.
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I agree that it is a very good idea in principle for the Resident Council to be consulted on all sorts of issues, including menus, and this might be a very good way for your mother's voice to be heard.

One tiny reservation. I am just this minute home from a Christmas lunch organised for all the 170+ volunteers at my local hospital, where I shared a table with eleven other ladies, most of them well over seventy. The Volunteer Services Co-Ordinator was doing the rounds and made the mistake of asking us how we'd enjoyed our lunch. I expect she was sorry she'd asked.

The plates were cold, the vegetables were underdone, the potatoes were overdone, the beef was tough, they'd been expecting to be served wine...

I managed not to burst out laughing - but for heaven's sake! This was supposed to be a get-together and thank you combined, not gourmet dining.

So, anyway, it just occurs to me to wonder whether you agree with your mother that the facility is falling down on acceptable standards, or whether there perhaps might be some expectation management required?
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Pegster...I think getting your Mom on the Resident Council at the facility is a great idea.
She will be engaged, meet new people and have some input as to what goes on where she lives. If it improves the food for all that is a great bonus. If it only serves to make her THINK it improved the food then that is great for her. Doing this will empower her and possibly give some purpose. I am sure that when she moved into a facility that she though some if not all her independence was gone this will give some of that back.
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Does the facility follow the diet plan from Mom's dietician? If Mom was following that diet at home, how does the menu at the ALF differ from what she had at home? Is the food she is given much different than what other residents have?

I'm just wondering if they are being overly restrictive because she is insulin-dependent.
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Food is a very important component in quality of life (at least for many people) so this is not a trivial concern. My mother loved the food in her NH. (When I ate with her I wasn't so impressed but it was generally well-received by the residents.) When my aunt talked about her Assisted Living experience she said, "Well at least they had good food." Another aunt said the same thing about her NH. Food is really important to these folks.

So I hope that your Mom does join the Resident Council. And I hope that a few small changes will make her experience more pleasant.
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In NY assisted living facilities, the resident council has a "food committee". They make suggestions to the food service for what changes they want. The facility is required to respond to them and the resident council. At one facility, new owners decided to do away with the food committee. They were quoted chapter and verse of NYS law that said they could not do that.
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Pegster, does the dining room off a menu type fare for each meal? Or is it family style?

Where my Dad had resided, he had numerous choices off the menu. My Dad was lactose intolerant and once the waitstaff got to know him, they were careful about not giving him dairy products. Dad loved ice cream, so I needed to bring to the kitchen Lastose-free ice cream that the kitchen staff kept on hand for him.

My Dad also was a member of the "food council" at his place, that way the facility could get ideas from the residents.
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Sorry Pegster did not mean to mispel your name.
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Pester I do not know anything about regulations fro assisted living anywhere but suspect the problem may be with her prescribed diabetic diet. Does the food appear sufficient for you with enough variation. Do you know if it food she has always hated or is it just not cooked the way she prefers. Things cooked without salt or sugar and fat free to me are unpalitable and I just can not eat them. Does she have fridge in her room. Can you take food in for her as an alternative to what is served on occasion. You will be better able to choose alternatives to the dietitians recommendations. Try and keep the diet healthy and include all the food groups but everyone has choices even when it comes to Drs orders whether it is "good for them" or not. For instance a good alternative for a dinner i hated would be a hard boiled egg with potato salad made with low sal/t fat mayo and some fresh fruit.
Can you have a discussion yourself with the dietician with Mom present and see what she can actually have. I am sure that in an ALS your Mom is not the only one on a special diet. I was put on a soft cardiac diet in a hospital and i threatened to throw it out in the hall if they served me "cream" of wheat made with water and no sugar one more time or a sandwich with meat slapped between two slices of bread with nothing on it. Evertime I complained the kitchen people just said it was the Dr's orders and they had to follow the diet plan. I bet they pulled straws as to who delivered my tray.
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These places have to try to satisfy a group of people with very diverse tastes and dietary requirements so the food in even the best of them isn't going to be able to please everyone. I think that the Admins reply was probably a standard way to fob off unhappy residents as the resident's council is really just a powerless paper tiger.
Those in the kitchen have to work within a set budget and follow a menu that is nutritionally balanced and approved (and often written) by head office. They will have to purchase food from an approved supplier and may not have the freedom to bring in fresh, seasonal produce or specialty items. Even a gourmet chef (which many facilities boast) often has difficulty putting together anything that does not seem institutional when facing these realities.
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