Ready for Boomers Texting Your Food?

Ready for Boomers Texting Your Food?

Long-term care foodMy husband Chris and I received this unappetizing text, with a photo of food, from our friend Dave in rehab.  This was the text:

Chris:  How are you, what are you doing?

Dave:  Nothing, this is my meal…

Chris:  That looks horrible.

Dave:  Yeah tell me about it.  This tastes as good as it looks – which is terrible.

Diane:  Which rehab are you at?

Dave:  XXXX in Federal Way, WA.

Diane:  The food looks disgusting, I am so sorry, how have the other meals been?

Dave:  Just as bad…

Would I ever recommend this place to anyone based on this photo – no way!  Get ready for the boomers texting their meals to their other boomer friends.

Institutional food is a thing of the past.  Most retirement communities offer chef prepared meals now.  The boomers have a discriminating palette and won’t tolerate bad food.

Are you proud of the food you are serving at your Rehab, Skilled Nursing Center, Healthcare Center, Long-term Care Facility, Assisted Living, Independent Living, Memory Care or Continuing Care Retirement Community?  Would you eat it?

Please comment to join the conversation and interact with other senior living professionals on what is currently being effective to increase occupancy on a nationwide basis.

Diane Twohy Masson is the author of Senior Housing Marketing – How to Increase Your Occupancy and Stay Full,” available for sale at  Masson’s book will be required reading at George Mason University in the Fall as part of the marketing curriculum.  She is currently consulting with Seniors For Living and two debt-free Continuing Care Retirement Communities in Southern California – Freedom Village in Lake Forest and The Village in Hemet, California. Connection and partnership opportunities: Email:


  1. I see this type of disgusting food regularly in rehabs and skilled facilities. It’s enough to make anyone sick to their stomach. To add insult to injury, how about the pureed food for stroke patients. They make it look like someone did their business on a plate.

    It will be great if active adults in rehabs and elsewhere begin sending food pics to their people; then maybe the facilities will start thinking about what’s going on in their kitchens when no one is looking.

    • I think texting baby boomers will force them to serve better food!

  2. LinkedIn Alzheimer s Association

    Great post Diane. Now how can we have them text thhe good stuff?
    By Angelina Muscat, LMSW, Geriatric Care Manager

  3. LinkedIn LeadingAge Marketing & PR Member Group

    By Alishia Parkhill

  4. Linked In American Society on Aging

    What a great way to differentiate your food service if you actually serve appetizing food. Social media is giving power to the people!
    By Carol Marak

    • I love your comment Carol!

  5. Linked In Senior Care Services Companies

    Love this article! How true! Food is such an important part of any senior living community!!!!
    By Angela Stanfill

  6. Linked In Senior Care Services Companies

    Wow, talk about the power of a photo! Food is one of those things that can sell people on your community… or make them want to run away! We see opinions of the food mentioned very frequently in community reviews on
    By Amelia E. Willson

  7. Linked In Assisted Living Professionals

    Yikes! Yes, as baby boomers our food will need to be good and definitely organic. I wonder if any communities are using organic food in their meals right now. Anyone? Or, maybe you know, Diane. Thanks!

    By Diane Castro

    • Great question Diane! Can anyone share if their community serves organic food?

  8. “Maybe it will make facilities pay a little more attention and at least make it look appetizing.:-)”
    Kathryn Watson (Eldercare Advisor/ Life Coach at Assisted Living Locators-Houston/ Professional Speaker at Relax For Success) wrote:

    • I hope so!

  9. Linked In Boomers: Aging Beats The Alternative

    You’re right and it looks pretty bad 😉
    By Lorie Eber

  10. Linked In Senior Care Services Companies

    Amazing! I understand that there is a budget to follow and that there are dietary restrictions HOWEVER, there are so many options available to season food. Presentation also means a lot. If the food doesn’t look good the patient has already decided they are not going to taste it. What I find AMAZING is many facilities have FAMILY DAY, EAT WITH YOUR LOVED ONE. It’s really sad, when the chef doesn’t even try to impress the FAMILY. WOW!!! How do we fix this problem???
    By Phoebe Wallace

    • Phoebe, unbelieveable that the facility did not try to impress the families, I guess we have to say they were consistant though…

  11. Linked In Senior Care Services Companies

    When my mom was in a local rehab facility, we laughed that they must have bought up the world’s supply of canned green beans because they literally served them at least five times a week with no seasoning or anything to make them visually appealing or appetizing. It was sad that they seemd to take the attitude that the residents were too “out of it” to notice whether the food was decent or not. I agree that the Boomers will not tolerate this well!
    By Cindy Erwin

    • Cindy, way to go for laughing with mom and sharing a moment…green beans 5 days a week?…That provider should be shot!

  12. Linked In Senior Housing Forum (

    The standard nutritionist who is responsible for diet in these facilities is generally restricted by the budget. I know from personal experience a limiting budget does not mean the food has to be restricted to coming from cans or heavily processed, overcooked or poorly presented. Food and eating is a spiritual as well as nourishing experience and needs to be addressed in that fashion. I would love to sink my teeth into improving the diet in many of the facilities that are there to help people recover . Unfortunately most of these places are somewhat subsidized and politically motivated by the bottom line , not true health .
    By Marcia Hassman

    • Marcia good points. My chef says the first taste is always with the eyes…even on a limited rehab food budget – there is no reason to serve gross food.

  13. Linked In Senior Housing Forum (

    this could be a great grass roots effort to have improved food in facilities. Watch out facility owners!
    By Karla Gustafson

    • Karla – Yes, let’s start the grass roots movement to protect vulnerable senior residents!

  14. First, regarding the comment about serving Organic food – In the United States, Federal legislation defines three levels of organic foods. Products made entirely with certified organic ingredients and methods can be labeled “100% organic,” while only products with at least 95% organic ingredients may be labeled “organic.” Both of these categories may also display the USDA Organic seal. A third category, containing a minimum of 70% organic ingredients, can be labeled “made with organic ingredients,” but may not display the USDA Organic seal. In addition, products may also display the logo of the certification body that approved them. That is a whole different topic, because there are multiple certification bodies that can aid in getting what you and I might not consider organic, certified so they can label it as such. So don’t put too much faith in that label.

    I think the efforts should be more focused to using fresh whole foods, balanced diet offerings, and obsessive focus on plate presentation, as we eat with our eyes first. As we age and senses dull, it becomes even more important that food is enticing on the plate, the right temperature, and paired properly to provide good healthy offerings. Our job should be to see our residents physically healthier than when they moved in, within the first 30 days, and much of that is accomplished by eating well prepared and presented meals.

    Good topic Diane

  15. Linked In American Society on Aging

    The social interaction during meals and the quality and visual appeal of the food is so important. Meal time is a major daily social experience for many in assisted living. For many, there is little appetite with associated weight loss so serving unappetizing food is a good strategy for greater occupancy.
    By Candyce Henry, CEO

  16. Senior Housing Forum (

    I agree that first taste is with the eyes but when the eyesight weakens it is important to have choice, a sense of community and service that cares.
    By Karla Gustafson

  17. American Society on Aging

    Oh my, how funny. My granddaughter was out for dinner with our family and I saw her take a picture of her plate of food with her cell phone. She sent it to her friends to show what she was having at Red Lobster. This is just an example of how things have changed. Way to keep the services on their toes!
    By Janice Dressander

    • Janice, you are so right! Texting food photos is here – teenagers are doing it more than boomers, but senior housing needs to be prepared!

  18. “A picture’s worth a thousand words”. If more and more residents took pictures for sharing with others and getting them posted for all to see, what they are being served at mealtime, those facilities guilty of serving unappealing meals would get the picture…if their smart. Nutrition is so important as we know for staying healthy. If it’s not eye appealing when served, chances are much isn’t going to be eaten, resulting in the increased possibility of having an adverse effect on the seniors. Learn more about “Smart Food Choices for Healthy Aging, Dietary Guidelines for Older Adults” from the National Institute on Aging: