Florida offers an array of excellent senior living accommodations—which is why it’s one of the most popular states for retirement living. And kosher-certified assisted living is just one of the excellent options available to seniors.
Home-style dining? Check. Personalized gourmet menus? Check. Midnight pizza hankering? Check. In many areas of Florida, all of the above and more are available for residents of independent living and assisted living communities—and all of it’s kosher-certified.
In recent years, demand has been ballooning for resources for Jewish seniors, from shops and hotels to synagogues and restaurants. According to a 2009 study from the University of Miami, South Florida is second only to New York with respect to the size of its Jewish community, and many of these are seniors with an active interest in staying healthy and keeping kosher. Kosher dining and shopping establishments number in the hundreds in South Florida alone.
It’s no surprise that more and more retirement and assisted living communities are offering meal options that range from customizable menus to fully kosher dining environments catering almost exclusively to Jewish seniors.
The upswing in resources for Jewish seniors, particularly the increase in kosher food options, is happy news for caregivers—not least because food is a major contributor to satisfaction and quality of life in senior communities, according to the Assisted Living Federation of America.
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For one thing, dining in assisted living facilities provides the opportunity for seniors to socialize on a regular basis in a relaxed environment, whether their community offers casual cafeteria fare or restaurant-style meals. Also, assisted living facilities provide trained help with eating and mobility as needed, ensuring a safe and comfortable dining environment. And when residents are confident that the meals they are being served are kosher certified, seniors (and their caregivers) can relax and enjoy all the culinary creations the facility has to offer.
Keeping kosher while dining in assisted living doesn’t have to be difficult. Communities that cater to Jewish seniors ensure that meals are healthy, varied, and adhere to dietary guidelines. While some offer fully kosher-certified dining for a primarily Jewish clientele, even facilities with a diverse religious population make it a priority to consider individual dietary preferences.
Freedom Inn at Countryside in Clearwater, Florida, to name just one, offers three kosher meals a day for its residents. However, even communities that don’t cater specifically to Jewish clientele provide plenty of dining options.
“We always try to accommodate preferences and we offer lots of selections,” says Steve McLaurin, Sales and Marketing Manager for Homewood Residence Boynton Beach. Though the Homewood Residence at Boynton Beach does not offer fully kosher-certified meals, most assisted living facilities tout their flexibility for individual dining needs, and it is often possible to arrange appropriate meals for your loved ones.
Kosher dining in assisted living doesn’t have to be boring, either. The Carlisle at Naples, another Florida assisted living community, offers linen tablecloths, china plates, innovative presentation, extensive menus, and—perhaps most importantly—an individual touch for those with specific dietary needs: “our goal is to craft a personalized retirement community dining experience that caters to your tastes and desires.”
Caregivers will, of course, want to ensure ahead of time that any senior living situation fits the needs of their loved ones, from kosher dining options in the community to residential meal plans that are kosher certified. All it takes is a quick phone call to the facility to inquire about its resources for Jewish seniors. A Place for Mom has contact information for dozens of Florida assisted living communities right here at your fingertips.