Local senior living facilities offer a plethora of dining options
There are some assumptions or stereotypes about senior living facilities. One of them—the food is bland and the choices are limited. But seniors at The Summit, Westminster Canterbury and The Williams Home would disagree; each offers a range of options for residents to enjoy.
The Summit, which opened in 2003, is home to approximately 275 seniors at various levels of care: independent living, assisted living, long-term care and rehabilitation. The 143-acre campus is complete with an 8.5-acre lake, walking trails, benches, a gazebo, dock and, best of all, top-notch dining options.
At The Summit, residents are served a restaurant-style dinner Monday through Saturday, complete with a seasonal menu and daily specials.
“Residents come in, and they order off a menu,” said Brenda Dixon, marketing director. They try to offer a variety of options that will satisfy all of their residents.
“Our Sunday Brunch Buffet is extremely popular, and many residents host family and friends for brunch on Sundays,” said Mary Margaret Little, director of dining services for dining service management company Meriwether Godsey at The Summit. Their current menu features grilled salmon with apple chutney and a harvest salad made from locally-grown hydroponic greens, roasted butternut squash, diced local apples, quinoa, toasted walnuts and apple cider vinaigrette. Grilled chicken can be added to the salad upon request.
“One of Meriwether Godsey’s Core Values is ‘Embrace Fresh, Local, Scratch.’ This includes incorporating current trends in food as well as presentation and style and trying to make sure our choices are seasonal,” Little said. “We believe that good food should also be fun!”
They have partnered with Homestead Creamery to offer fresh, local milk and ice cream on a daily basis to their residents, both in the dining room or delivered directly to their door.
“Recently, Homestead representatives brought two of their calves, Butter and Pecan, to visit The Summit, along with samples of their wonderful egg nog, custard, ice creams and milk,” Little said. “The calves were even decked out with Santa hats!”
Typically, all the food can be made to order, and food allergies are accommodated.
“We work really hard to meet people’s dietary needs,” Dixon said. “Even in independent living there are a lot of allergies, so they’ll offer gluten free options…They really can do most any dishes to order, which I think is really nice.”
The Williams Home
Nestled on six acres in a residential area off Langhorne Road, The Williams Home provides independent, residential and assisted living facilities
for women. Their core values are courtesy, dignity and respect, while giving residents comfort, security and enjoyable daily activities. The dining staff at The Williams Home strives to provide delicious, healthy meals daily that will satisfy everyone.
“We offer a food meeting to our residents to voice their opinion on their likes and dislikes on the menus,” said Denise Dombroski, director. “We incorporate their ideas.” This leads to diversity on the menus; they change every week. Dombroski says the ladies’ favorite dishes include meat loaf, oysters, prime rib and mashed potatoes. They also enjoy the salad bar.
Focusing on the health of residents, each quarter a dietitian visits The Williams Home and reviews their menu options. They also strive to always include healthy alternatives on their menu.
“We cater to our residents’ special diets and special food requests,” Dombroski said.
Dining rooms are designed to have an elegant, sophisticated feel, and private dining rooms are available for special occasions.
Westminster Canterbury is a life plan community that serves over 400 residents at various levels of care. The dining service staff strives to provide popular, trendy meals that satisfy everyone. For independent living residents, there are three dining options offered.
The Westminster Dining Room is a formal dining room open seven days a week. The Canterbury Café operates six days a week for breakfast, lunch and dinner and is opened for dinner on Sundays. The café offers plate selections, including two or three entrées to choose from, and a variety of sides. The café also hosts a deli station where sandwiches can be made to order, a soup and salad station, and a grill with hamburgers, grilled cheese, hot dogs and other typical grill items. And let’s not forget a dessert station complete with fresh fruit and a variety of ice cream. Finally, the beverage station provides fountain drinks and specialty coffees.
“The café also serves our employees…not only residents,” said Debbie Callahan, vice president. Visitors also enjoy dining at the café.
“Families who come to visit, or just people from the greater Lynchburg community who may be visiting someone who lives here at Westminster Canterbury (as long as they are a guest of resident), can come and enjoy any of our dining options,” Callahan said.
The third option for residents is the James River Grille.
“To me it kind of reminds me of a men’s grille in a country club or golf club,” said Michael DeWinter, dining services operations manager. “It’s a more intimate atmosphere.” Not only do they offer different lunch and dinner menus but they also change the menus seasonally and offer breakfast on weekends.
“For our assisted living residents we have another dining room,” DeWinter said. “It’s a smaller, more intimate dining area, but it’s really nice.” The dining room has a buffet, but servers are also available to assist residents if they choose.
The menus at Westminster Canterbury change every five weeks and every season.
“We don’t take off the popular items, like the grilled burger or mac ’n’ cheese,” DeWinter said. Their winter menu this year includes a salmon dish and a Cuban sandwich.
“We go through a lot of salmon,” DeWinter said. “Salmon is very popular here.” The salmon is brought in fresh multiple times each week, and they fillet it by hand.
During the spring or summer, they often serve lighter options such as a blueberry salad or a strawberry pecan salad.
“We’re very sensitive to bringing in as many fresh fruits and vegetables from the local area as much as possible,” Callahan said. The majority of the food served is fresh and made from scratch.
“All of our soups are made fresh every morning,” DeWinter said. Nearly 98 percent of the baked goods are also made on-site.
“We’re so interested in healthy, fresh and local, we even have a farm that comes every Thursday and sets up a little farmer’s market in our lobby for the residents to buy produce,” DeWinter said.
By Megan L. Horst