COVID-19 Response: Message from Caitlin Rogers, VP of Dining and Nutrition Services

Sunrise Senior Living  |  April 22, 2020

There is a reason why it’s called “comfort food,” why we bring meals to help loved ones after the birth of a new baby, or support our neighbors with home cooked dishes after they’ve experienced a loss.  There is a reason why family recipes are sacred things passed along from generation to generation, why family dinners are cherished moments, and why the kitchen is considered the heart of the home. The reason is that food does so much more than just fill the stomach. Food feeds the soul. 

In response to COVID-19, our operations have evolved over the last few weeks, with one of the more noticeable changes being the transition to in-room dining. While we know that this has been critically important to help keep our community members safe, we also recognize this presents unique challenges for us to promote opportunities for resident engagement.  

Meals are a time for residents to meet up with friends, entertain family, chat with team members and, of course, enjoy a well-prepared meal.  With the move to room service, the question became, “How do we continue to engage our residents during meals and nourish not just the body but the spirit too?”

Not surprisingly, our talented Dining Services team members have risen to the occasion, finding creative ways to show their care and concern, even when they are not able to connect with residents directly in the dining room. A few examples of this in action include:  

  •  Special meals prepared and delivered for residents celebrating birthdays or anniversaries
  •  Messages of positivity written on delivery containers for residents to read 
  •  Beautiful, handmade desserts prepared for an extra pick-me-up
  • One musically talented Dining Services Coordinator (chef) has even taken to the halls, playing guitar for residents between meals.

And all of this while continuing to ensure the nutritional needs of our residents are met, hydration is encouraged, choice is provided, and dignity is ensured. 

I am so grateful to be part of such a talented group of Dining Services professionals that sees meals as three opportunities each day to connect meaningfully and thoughtfully with our residents.  I have been reminded these past weeks that there is great power in a meal prepared with love and care.  Power to comfort, encourage, support, and nourish both body and soul.  Thank you for all you do.  It’s true what they say – at Sunrise, our Heroes Wear Orange.