Last month, Cura Hospitality rolled out a memory support dining initative—Connections—with a focus on how mealtimes and memories can intersect. Using “memory cards” to spark conversation, creative (and more manageable) finger foods, food-based aromatherapy and innovative puree presentations, the program seeks to create a better meal and quality of life for those living with memory loss.
A task force of Cura managers, chefs and dietitians early this year teamed up with the Connecticut Alzheimer's Resource Center to develop the program.
From a provider's standpoint, we looked at what we needed to do differently in terms of customer service for this population,” says Deb Santoro, RD, LDN, SPHR, director of staff development for Cura.
Using techniques to tap into client “emotional memory” can be the key to helping the memory-impaired engage in more meaningful conversations, adds Josh Crandall, director of partnership development for Cura. “A bit of success in this area can help carry a resident through the rest of the day.”
The group is also challenging its chefs to create new kinds of finger foods as another way to increase meal time engagement, he adds.