How’s the Food in Rehab?

Dear Sharon,

My mother is having her knee replaced, and she will be staying at a Central Ohio rehabilitation facility to recover.

However, she is an extremely picky eater.

I’m concerned she won’t like the food and will be miserable during her stay.

Yours Truly,


Choose the Food You Like at Rehabilitation Centers

Dear Cynthia,

Your mother doesn’t need to worry about eating foods she dislikes because she’s able to choose the food she wants to eat unless she is on a restricted diet for health reasons. At most rehabilitation centers, patients (or family members if the patient is indisposed) select the type of foods they want to eat and can be as specific as asking for toast with strawberry jam each morning.

If your parent is temporarily unable to answer when she first arrives at a MacIntosh rehab center, we’ll work together with the family to develop a nutrition plan that accommodates your mother’s health and satisfaction.

Meals Should Be Appealing and Nutritious to Promote Healing

One of the main reasons driving high-quality dining options at rehabilitation and skilled nursing centers is that patients today have higher expectations for food. They are more knowledgeable about nutrition, have dined out on a regular basis and enjoy a variety of foods, from hamburgers and chili dogs to Chinese and Mexican food.

As a healthcare provider, I have seen how patients recover quicker and healthier when they are eating foods that are both nutritious and enjoyable for them.

Also, your mother is likely to heal faster when getting nutrients that promote healing, such as foods rich in vitamins C, D and zinc. It’s also important for her to stay hydrated for kidney function, which helps the body deal with illness and healing. Getting the proper nutrients and hydration is much easier when you have a licensed dietitian planning her meals.


Related: Quick & Easy Recipes You’ll Love Post Rehab


Tasty, Healthy Food Served at MacIntosh Rehab & Skilled Nursing Care Centers

At our seven Columbus rehabilitation centers, we offer a seasonal menu and alternative menu selections, as well as ethnic favorites and homemade soups and desserts. Our registered and licensed dietitians work with our culinary staff to provide a wide variety of made-from-scratch dishes specifically created to tempt the tastebuds of the most discriminating diner.

For example, one evening, the dinner menu included smothered pork chops, German potato salad, stewed apples, rye bread, a frosted brownie, and their choice of beverage. However, your mother can always choose an alternate meal. If she’s not on a special diet, you may bring in a favorite dish to enjoy, too.

We also offer a variety of tasty treats for her to snack on between meals. She can even order coffee service.

If your mother is on a low-salt, low-fat, or sugar-restricted diet, our dietitians work together with our dining services manager to ensure each meal is appealing and nutritious. We also monitor what your mother eats to ensure she’s eating enough to stay healthy.

Your mother can eat in our dining room, stay in her own room or join family and friends in our café. No matter where she chooses to dine, she’ll be served her meals when she’s ready to partake.

If you have any additional questions about skilled rehabilitation, call West Park Rehab & Nursing Center at (614) 274-4222 or contact any of our Central Ohio communities.

Best Regards,

Jeremy Evans
Rehabilitation Manager
New Albany Rehabilitation, Skilled Nursing & Assisted Living


Dining in Assisted Living

Dear Katrina,

I’ve been helping my dad look into assisted living communities. I know this might not seem like a big deal, but one of his main concerns is what the food will be like.

He’s worried that if he moves, he’ll be stuck eating boring, bland food every day. He’s also a pretty independent person and doesn’t like the idea of being told what and when to eat.

Can you help us get a better idea of what the food is like in assisted living? Also, what does it cost?


Corrine L.

The Dining Experience at an Assisted Living Community

Dear Corrine,

It’s a perfectly valid concern—and one that many seniors share before moving into an assisted living community. I will say, most if not all of them are pleasantly surprised at how good the food is when they do.

To help your father feel more comfortable about the possibility of moving into a community, here’s what he can expect when it comes to dining.

Is Food Included in the Cost of Assisted Living?

Food is included in the monthly cost of most assisted living communities. Different communities offer different amenities and services as a part of their monthly rates, but dining is usually covered with that cost.

At MacIntosh care communities, residents receive three meals daily and snacks. Guests are also welcome to dine with residents. Guest meals are available daily and can be ordered by contacting the receptionist at the community.


Related: Convincing Mom or Dad that It’s Time


How Is the Food in Assisted Living?

Nutrition is key for any diet but especially so for seniors.

In 2016, nutrition scientists at Tufts University, with support from AARP Foundation, introduced an updated food pyramid for seniors. To best meet their nutritional needs, seniors are encouraged to structure their diet around these guidelines:

  • 50 percent fruits and vegetables
  • 25 percent grains (whole grains are ideal)
  • 25 percent protein-rich foods (such as nuts, beans, fish, lean meat, poultry and fat-free and low-fat dairy products such as milk, cheeses and yogurts)

Included in the new recommendations is an emphasis on healthy fluids. Liquids such as water, milk, tea, soup or coffee are a great way to maintain an appropriate fluid intake.

Now, the question on many seniors’ minds (including your father’s) is: “Will the food be good, or will it be boring and tasteless?”

Many seniors assume that healthy eating at a senior living facility equals bland, boring food. Not so.

In a healthy diet, there’s room for fats such as vegetable oils and soft margarines, which are heart-healthy. Overconsumption of salt should be avoided, especially for people over 50, but herbs and spices are healthy, tasty alternatives that make food flavorful and delicious.

At MacIntosh, selection and enjoyment are just as important as nutrition. Our dining service teams plan seasonal menus and offer a variety of foods. Residents can enjoy numerous side dishes, ethnic favorite and homemade classics.


Related: Ask the Expert: How’s the Food in Rehab?


Sample Assisted Living Dining Menus

To give you an idea of what is served, the seasonal food menus at our assisted living communities include dishes such as savory roasted chicken, hearty vegetable soup, beer-battered fish, braised Swiss steak and herbed pork loin.

Special dietary restrictions are also taken into consideration. Registered and licensed dietitians work with dietary services managers such as myself to provide food choices tailored to any diet restrictions residents may have.

While the dietitians make recommendations based on their expert opinion, residents are not left without a say. Each diet is set with the resident and his or her choices are taken into account.

This is important to note because many seniors assume that moving to assisted living represents a loss of independence, but this is not the case.

Residents in assisted living receive access to services and amenities, but they are still independent. They get to make their own choices about what they do from day to day, and that includes dining decisions.

I hope this helps! Please contact us if you have any further questions about assisted living.

Katrina Self
Dietary Services Manager


Sharing a Room in Long-Term Care: A Resident’s Perspective

Meet Craig, a veteran long-term care resident and community staple of our Monterey location.

When visiting, you can often find Craig tending to the plants and animals in the courtyard, exercising his passion for gardening. He sat down for a visit and shared his many experiences as a long-term care resident, plus what you can expect when choosing MacIntosh as home.

A Resident’s Perspective: My Experiences in Long-Term Care

When asked about his long-term care experience, Craig openly shared his responses about MacIntosh and how he continually choses MacIntosh for the best quality of care. Read Craig’s insights below.

The Long-Term Care Experience
The experience is what you make it. Keep an open mind, especially with roommates. The pairing of roommates is key and the staff at MacIntosh work hard at creating good relationships between roommates.

It’s important to stay connected and active, I’ve made a lot of good friends during my time here. The staff here come to work with care and compassion. To them, it’s not just a paycheck. When you’re here a long time you get to know the staff and residents very well.

Sharing a Semi-Private Room
Sharing a room has never been a concern of mine. I have always shared a room since living at MacIntosh and my experience has been pleasant. My current roommate is one of the best I’ve ever had! We give one another mutual respect, which even includes asking if the television is too loud.

 What Activities Do You and Your Roommate Enjoy?
Although my roommate is limited in what he can do, we enjoy attending the weekly church services together and I continually encourage him to participate in what he can. This winter, we are planning to do a puzzle together.

>>View a sample calendar of our resident activities

What Has the Experience of Sharing a Room Been?
I enjoy being connected with people. Sharing a room with my current roommate, it makes that easier. I like to encourage others to take advantage of what MacIntosh has to offer in order to make their experience the best it can possibly be.

What Happens When There’s Roommate Conflict?
The staff will mediate the situation. If roommates do not get along they will work to change rooms and roommates. Personally, I have never had to change rooms or roommates due to conflict. I adapt to the situation. You’ll find kindness, being courteous and offering respect go a long way.

Why MacIntosh?
I initially chose the Monterey location to be close to Grove City, for a central location to my family so they could easily visit me. I continued to come back after each of my hospital stays because I created a lot of friendships with other residents and staff.

What Amenities Do You Enjoy Most?
I enjoy the courtyard the most. I am able to garden and watch the family of ducks. I also enjoy the weekly church services and other activities regularly. I have my own hobbies, too, that include genealogy, writing a book, watching movies, and staying connected with people on Facebook and email.

Experience the MacIntosh Difference

At MacIntosh, our long-term care provides for those in need of support with daily care activities. Our staff is here to provide the necessary level of care for your loved one.

The MacIntosh difference is one you hear residents like Craig speak about. Our staff and residents are one family that enjoys each other’s company and companionship daily. With our long-term care amenities, hospitality and activities our residents remain active and live a life of comfort.

See what Craig’s excitement is all about and discover the MacIntosh difference today!


>>Schedule a Tour of a Long-Term Care Community


Providing Long-Distance Care for My Aging Parent

Providing care for a loved one from afar doesn’t have to be a challenge.

With these tips, you can develop a meaningful long-distance caregiving relationship with your parent or loved one that will be rewarding for everyone.

Let’s get started!

What is Long-Distance Caregiving?

Providing care from a distance of more than an hour is defined as long-distance caregiving by the National Institute on Aging.

A long-distance caregiver can be anyone who is providing care to a relative, parent, friend or well-known acquaintance from a distance.

4 Meaningful Ways to Provide Long-Distance Care

There are many roles a long-distance caregiver can assist with from afar. When determining meaningful ways to provide long-distance care, the best approach is to create a mutual plan with the primary caregiver and your loved one to develop the most meaningful way you can provide support.

Here are helpful ways you can create meaningful caregiving relationship for the aging adult in your life:

  1. Keep your parent engaged from afar

Providing a device such as a cell phone or iPad for your loved one is a way to allow them to still feel connected to friends and family. Although you may have a little training time involved, it’s sure to pay off when you’re caring from a distance.

You might be left asking, “How do I avoid over-usage of the device?” Set guidelines. Let your loved one know the best times to contact you; that way you’re not overwhelmed with messages and they’re not left questioning why you’re not responding.

  1. Plan active visits with your parent

When allocating time to spend with your parent, make the visit meaningful. Plan activities to participate in that they enjoy. Whether playing a board game, attending a musical therapy or participating in the creative arts, determine what they like and offer to attend and participate alongside them.

View the full array of activities our residents enjoy!

  1. Create the best care environment

The best gift you can provide as a long-distance caregiver is one of comfort and peace of mind.

When you’re providing care from a distance, you can’t always see the needs of your loved one. Exploring living options such as an assisted living center can allow your parent to enjoy all of their daily activities with ease and comfort and provide you, as the long-distance caregiver, relief in knowing your parent’s needs are being met.

  1. Serve as an information coordinator

When providing support from a distance, keeping an open line of communication with your parent’s care provider and being aware of your parent’s care routine is vital to ensure that their needs are being met.

Stay up-to-date with key information by participating in their doctor appointments by phone or having a follow-up of their visit sent to you. Serving as an information coordinator to collect and maintain all medical information is a valuable asset for your loved one. You’ll have all their information stored securely and sealed with your review.

Discover how to be actively involved in your parent’s care

Determining the Best Care for Your Parent

Exploring the best care option for your parent, near or far, can be a hard task to balance. Involving your parent in their care decision will help them feel empowered and in control of their decision-making.

There are different levels of care available based on the needs you or your loved one identify. These include assisted living and long-term care.

Use our helpful guide to determine if assisted living is the best option for your loved one.