Loraine likes the pork because it’s tender. Mary Anne’s favorite dish is the cream of squash bisque. For Herold, the soup of the day is most exciting because, well, it’s different every day.
At The Ivy at Ellington, you won’t find frozen, processed cafeteria food — you’ll find healthy options, comfort foods, and resident favorites.
The Heart of the Community
Step into the dining room at The Ivy at Ellington, and you’ll see why it’s the hub of social life in assisted living.
“The atmosphere of the dining room at The Ivy is very lively,” says Lindsay Redin, Executive Director at The Ivy at Ellington.
Residents are calling out to one another, sometimes stopping to check in with a friend before sitting down. Polite conversations and jovial banter fill the room as residents share the latest news on families, argue politics, and discuss the weather.
People who were accustomed to eating alone before moving into assisted living find themselves in the heart of community life. Dining room rituals — from mealtime to tablemates to serving staff — help new residents transition into the assisted living setting and assimilate into the established community.
“Eating in the dining room and socializing with peers helps residents create friendships,” says Bianca Syriac, Marketing Director at The Ivy at Ellington. “This not only helps create a sense of purpose for the resident but also lowers their anxiety.”
Cooking with The Ivy
The Dining Services Directors at The Ivy at Ellington and other Arbors’ communities collaborate with a registered dietician to develop the menu. Using the freshest ingredients available, including many locally sourced, seasonal items, the chefs cook up crab cakes and grilled swordfish in the spring and summer and meatloaf and beef wellington in the fall and winter.
“The dining experience at The Ivy offers a wide selection of meals,” Syriac says. “Residents try things they may have not had in the past, but we still offer familiar comfort food options as well.”
The Ivy at Ellington recently hosted an event the pub where the Dining Service Director talked to the residents about their favorite recipes and planned upcoming menus around their input. For example, a resident shared memories about a salmon dish that he used to cook for his wife, and it was put it on the next week’s menu.
“Everyone loves being able to sample a resident’s family recipe,” Redin says. “They were licking their plates clean. There’s something about that that makes you feel good.”
And that’s what The Ivy at Ellington dining philosophy is all about — making the residents feel good, both with healthy and hearty meals and personalized attention.
Encouraging Choice and Independence
Rather than the cookie cutter offerings other assisted living facilities have, The Ivy at Ellington allows and encourages residents to customize their meals. By reinforcing choice — a value important to seniors — residents exercise their independence by selecting their meal options from the menu, just as they would in any restaurant.
“We also have a dining staff that is compassionate to all of the residents and knows their dietary needs and restrictions,” Syriac says.
Plus, no one has to wait until 8 a.m. for breakfast, noon for lunch, or 5 p.m. for dinner. They can eat throughout the day. Although with the daily chef specials, all-day options are also available on the menu.
“Residents can just come in and order food any time during the day,” Redin says. “It’s very geared toward a restaurant-style experience. The residents have the ability to come in at their leisure.”
For many residents, the most welcome choice assisted living offers is the choice to cook in their apartments kitchenette — or to hang up the apron.
For Elinor*, who recently moved into The Ivy at Ellington with her husband, Frank*, one of the benefits of assisted living is that she doesn’t have to do the cooking anymore.
Fellow resident Mary Ann echoes her sentiments: “I’m very glad that I don’t have to cook dinner anymore and I don’t have to clean the house anymore.”
If your loved one would benefit from the social atmosphere, better food, and independence offered by assisted living, stop by The Ivy at Ellington for a meal or schedule a tour today.
*Names have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals.