Gluten Free and Vegetarian Seniors

Gluten Free and Vegetarian Seniors

Living Gluten-Free for DummiesAre you hearing about more and more seniors who are either vegetarians or need a gluten-free diet? How are your chefs and dining directors accommodating these new dietary restrictions at your senior living communities? Do these diet-restricted seniors have more than one choice for lunch and dinner at your retirement community? Or are they stuck with the salad of the day or a vegetable plate?

Let’s hear what is happening in our senior living industry on a nationwide basis. Join the conversation at the bottom of this blog.

Younger seniors want choices.   My Continuing Care Retirement Communities offer 14 entrees, which include vegetarian and gluten-free options. The culinary and serving teams have been trained to accommodate five gluten-free residents at one community. There can be no mishap because a gluten-free senior can get deathly ill if even a crumb of gluten is on their portion of food.

Soups that used to be made with a flour-based rue have been replaced with gluten-free options. A gluten-free pasta dish is always one of the 14 entrees. New gluten-free rolls and deserts are available now.

What are you doing to accommodate seniors with dietary restrictions? Have you had to expand beyond the standard three entrees a night? Please share what dietary changes you have made at your senior living community.

Photo credit: Living Gluten-Free for Dummies

Diane Twohy Masson writes this weekly blog to support and engage with other senior housing professionals.  Her first book is Senior Housing Marketing – How To Increase Your Occupancy and Stay Full.  Many sales teams and organizations have used the 12 keys contained in this book for their weekly book review.  Diane is working on her second book to help seniors select their senior housing options.  Masson enjoys setting move-in records as the regional marketing director of two debt-free Continuing Care Retirement Communities in Southern California – Freedom Village in Lake Forest and The Village in Hemet, California.


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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:

Calling it – “The steak is the shoulder of a cow” – In Senior Living?

Calling it – “The steak is the shoulder of a cow” – In Senior Living?

Prime cuts of beefThe first impressions of the dining experience at your senior living community can affect occupancy…or someone coming back…

Is your community twenty years old and does it look it?  Can you add fresh flowers on each dining table to spruce it up?  Are linen tablecloths and napkins a standard?  Or have you cut these items from your operations budget?  You may have a great chef, the best service and a beautiful dining room, but the wrong words can also leave a bad impression…

On a recent trip to Seattle, my family decided to go to McCormick and Schmicks – a nice dining restaurant on the water.  The waiter greeted us and shared his steak and lobster special of the day.  Hmm, I thought – that sounds good.  We asked what type of steak it was.  Then he said, “The steak is the shoulder of a cow.”  He walked away from us, so we could contemplate the menu and we immediately started saying – what???  Why would someone talk about the steak as the shoulder of cow, which is not very appetizing?  My sister-in-law said, I envision a cow with a hacked off shoulder.”  We all started getting grossed out and laughing.    When the waiter came back, we teased him and told him that the shoulder of a cow did not sound good.  He apologized and said he forgot the proper term to say which was “Terrace Major.”  We all agreed that was not appetizing either.

What descriptor words are on your retirement community’s menu?  Is the dining staff trained to sell the food?  We’ve all been to fine dining restaurants where they describe the desert in a magnificent way or they bring a tray to show the yummy deserts – then it is really hard to say no.  Many senior living communities that I have visited – say, “Would you like desert?”  That’s it!?!!  They should say we have 10 deserts for you to select from, can I share the choices with you?  (Most retirement communities have many ice creams to choose from, a sugar free desert, a baked desert, fresh fruit and canned fruit.)

Let’s make our residents feel special every day of the week!  Dining should be a stimulating experience for them!  What does your senior living community do to make the residents feel like they are experiencing fine dining?

Diane Twohy Masson is the author of Senior Housing Marketing – How to Increase Your Occupancy and Stay Full,” available for sale at  If your curiosity is piqued to inquire on Diane’s availability to speak at a senior housing conference (CCRC, independent living, assisted living, skilled nursing or memory care) – please call: 206-853-6655 or email  Diane is currently consulting in Southern California for Freedom Management Company, the proud debt-free owners of Freedom Village in Lake Forest and The Village in Hemet, California.  For more information:   Twitter: @market2seniors Web: Blog: