DOA Highlights Dining Choices for ‘National Resident Rights Week’

HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania Department of Aging is marking “National Resident Rights Week,” Oct. 3-9, by stressing the importance of meal choice and delivery for older Pennsylvanians and those with physical disabilities who reside in long-term care facilities. This year’s theme is “Defining Dining – It’s About Me.”

Secretary of Aging John Michael Hall is asking residential long-term living providers to be creative in developing ways to improve the quality of meals they serve.

Meal choice, along with how and when residents may get food, is an ongoing challenge for many residents of these facilities, Hall said. A recent statewide survey found that seemingly simple things can make life easier and more enjoyable. Readily available toasters, coffee and ice-cream stations, vegetable gardens, open dining times and family-style meals are among the survey’s suggestions.

Pennsylvania has more than 840 Pennsylvania’s Empowered Expert Residents, or PEERS, who advocate for the needs of older citizens and those with disabilities, and interact effectively with providers to address residents’ needs. Input from 300 PEERS has been used to develop training designed to help facility managers better serve consumers, especially in the area of meal planning and delivery.

The Department of Aging is working with the Pennsylvania Culture Change Coalition to transform dining into resident-centered events. The department encourages providers to take advantage of free, one-hour training opportunities in each county.

Resident Rights Week has been marked since 1981.

For more information on the Department of Aging, visit www.aging.state.pa.us or call 717-783-1549.

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