the nearby pub before and after dinner. The community’s activity room is just across the hall—another connection to spark interest, anticipation, and socialization. Residents were involved in planning the

renovation project from the get-go. They were invited to participate in focus groups to determine their preferences and desires for the new space. Their main concern was maintaining a wide selection of menu choic- es. They also requested a bar and a café with grab-and-go items. With live entertainment, the bar creates a well-rounded experience. “That definitely has been a huge win,” says Reid. The café is still in progress. Resident satisfaction increased after the

renovations. “We were giving them back more than we took away,” says Phillip Dop- son, who spearheaded the project as vice president of design and retail at Morrison Living. “There are so many ways to gather around food in these beautiful spaces.”

Interactive opportunities Mosaic also includes a teaching kitchen where hands-on classes are held for resi- dents, families, and prospects. The classes can be streamed into apartments or gather- ing spaces via the community’s TV channel. “Residents enjoy the fact that we have what is truly like our own Food Network show,” Reid says. Food can be an attractive way to engage

residents in volunteer projects. At Dominion Senior Living’s Everlan community Everlan of Louisville, executive chef Jim Cipkowski creates public to-go lunches every other month to raise funds for worthy causes. July’s offering was hamburgers, pasta salad and watermelon; it will benefit Blessings in a Backpack. September’s menu will feature chili and corn muffins. The entire amount of the $5 requested

Everlan at Louisville collects snacks for children for the Blessings in a Backpack charity as part of its culinary-connected community volunteer program.

donation is given to each month’s chosen charity. Everlan donates all the lunch food and staff time. For the Blessings in a Back- pack activity, purchasers could donate non- perishable kid-friendly foods in lieu of cash. Residents will fill backpacks with collected items for the students at a local school. Many of the residents also contributed food and funds. Cipkowski finds that participating in

the fundraisers helps residents as much as the recipients. “We want them to

“Get creative and think outside the box on how to get residents engaged in the process,” says Tracy Blazer, regional vice president of operations at Morrison Living. “When they’re engaged in food, they’re much happier.”


understand that they are still important in the world, that they can still make a contribution.”

Culture and traditions Cultural traditions around food can be springboards for enrichment as well. Un- derstanding and meeting the needs of a community’s various cultural groups can go a long way toward making everyone feel at home. Tracy Blazer, regional vice president of

operations at Morrison Living, manages numerous Jewish communities and noticed a need for more cultural education of staff, particularly around holidays and food customs. With better staff understanding of how, when, and why to offer particular food experiences, Jewish residents would be more engaged in celebrating their holidays, she thought. At Blazer’s suggestion, Morrison created

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