Restorative Dining

A concept has been put in place called Restorative Dining which is a practice to bring residents together in a social setting, resembling a restaurant, with the idea of enhancing the dining experience, and giving some a time for socializing with other residents. A syndrome called "Failure to Thrive" and loss of appetite in the geriatric population is a very big problem. Nurses General Nursing Article


Restorative Dining

Nursing homes are finding this new method of bringing residents to a dining room setting to be very effective in managing weight loss.

Part of my supervisory responsibilities on a 3-11 shift was to oversee the dining room, assisting anyone in need, and be there in case of an emergency if a patient should choke, or some other physical medical problem requiring an immediate nursing intervention. Going table to table greeting everyone with a smile or simple "Hello" soon I knew all the residents by their first names.

One table was particularly interesting with a group of two white-haired ladies and one crusty old man. Without even having to ask there was no doubt one had been an old school "marm" evident by her hair styled in a bun on top of her head that I am sure was her hairstyle for the past fifty years. She had impeccable manners. One of the other old ladies had a sweet demure smile and greeted everyone with a "Hi honey" as they passed by the table. An old gentleman who made up the threesome was a total recluse during the day, but somehow it fits the three of them dining together.

During the day he would go out of his way to avoid any form of human contact unless absolutely necessary. A real eccentric whose room was a disaster area filled with piles of old newspapers, books and other articles given to him over the years. He would not allow anyone to remove anything, or housekeeping to come in to clean.....

He was particularly memorable because he put vinegar on all food forms (the only exception was oatmeal) stating it "keeps your arteries clear." (Well, I guess my arteries are going to remain clogged). Approaching the table one evening and giving my usual cheery greeting with a little added small talk, one of the ladies responded to me.

This cute little old school teacher totally and completely caught me off guard with her next sentence. With no change of expression, she asked me, "Are you married?"

When I replied quietly "no" she responded without hesitation as she blurted out "How do you ever plan to have any sex?" Since this statement and subject matter was not usually something little old ladies discussed with me, I just stood there with my mouth gaped open slightly, trying to catch my breath and regroup without losing my composure totally.

My face was turning red evident by the heat coming from my cheeks. Just when I was ready to turn and casually walk away the other sweet little white-haired old lady chimed up, "Really, it is okay honey, don't blush my friend. Mary told me you should always try a man before you marry a new pair of shoes. Honey, you could marry him and then find out he is not very good."

While this whole conversation has been transpiring I could see out of the corner of my right eye the old crusty dude's bushy eyebrows furrowing on his forehead.

Oh wow, I am thinking at this point what "pearl of wisdom" is the old geezer going to add to this already embarrassing conversation.

Looking over at me nonchalantly he just added. "You are much too young for me. I am 97 years old. Yup, bet you didn't know why I never got married?"

At this point, I am thinking no way does anyone really want or need to know. As he continued to speak, volunteering this information before my escape plan was made possible, telling me that in years past he had an affair with a nun lasting 34 years but she would never leave the church. The finale came when he told me, "By the way, she died." At this point I am past the point of being cordial I'm just looking for a way out. Excusing myself I ran out into the nearby hallway to share my story with one of my colleagues who was passing by. Weeks passed and while doing dining room duty, I made a point of rotating tables and keeping my conversations light and airy with no mention of "marriage" at all when conversing with the old folks.

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65 Posts

Specializes in OR, Informatics.

I was in a facility once and somehow the topic at the table I was serving turned to strippers. The lone man at the table was excited and couldn't say enough on the topic. One woman seemed sort of embarrassed. The third woman was a rather quiet woman who would only speak when directly spoken to or when she had something important to say. Thanks to a mild case of expressive aphasia, she had trouble getting all of her words together. Well, on this say, clear as a bell, she said, "I've been to those places. I wasn't impressed. You'd think those ladies would have nice bodies, but they don't! They're fat!"

fuzzywuzzy, CNA

1,816 Posts

Specializes in LTC.

I was getting this one little old lady dressed one day and I was having a hard time pulling her pants up. She sighed and apologetically said, "I have a big bottom" but then her whole tone and expression changed for the better and she goes, "but my husband LOVES IT!!!!"


116 Posts

Specializes in Peds Rehab, Informatics.

I once worked with a little old lady that was known for her inclination to "speak her mind." We were finishing up a meal one day and one of my co-workers began to shuttle the little old lady out of the room. My coworker stated, "Okay time to get to bed." As the resident passed me she smiled and pointed at me and said, " I'd like to go to bed with him!" Needless to say my 20 year old face was quite red.

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