Encouraging residents to embrace communal dining again

Figures suggest that malnutrition and loneliness continue to be significant issues among care residents. But what role can the dining environment play in overcoming this?

It’s no secret that the move to a care home can be difficult for many older people to adapt to. The consequences of this difficult change can, in all too many cases, be severe, leading to issues such as isolation, prolonged negativity and even a growing disinterest in nutrition.

Figures from the Nursing Times show that at least a third of care home residents are suffering from some level of malnutrition today, despite the best efforts of catering teams to provide balanced meals. What’s more, a report from Age UK revealed that more than 200,000 older people have not had a conversation with friends or family for over a month, and 3.9 million older adults state that the television is their main source of company. 60% of care home residents also receive no visitors.

These are worrying statistics, especially when considering further research from the Campaign to End Loneliness which states that loneliness can be as dangerous to our health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

Communal dining tackles both of these issues head on, offering residents nutrition and socialisation every day. Encouraging residents to engage in communal dining can be a challenge, but one way to appeal to them further is to create as attractive and comfortable a dining space as possible. While well-chosen fabrics and tactile materials may not seem like the solution to dietary problems, there is more to establishing good eating habits than you might think.

MHA – Mickle Hill, furnished by YTM

A dining area doesn’t have to feel like a formal environment. At Mickle Hill the dark wood bar and upholstered bench seating we designed, served to create a relaxed bistro environment, while the use of bold green tones gave the space an energetic feel. Open shelving and metallic pendant lighting was used to prove that care home settings need not be old fashioned.

Leadbitter – Buttercross, furnished by YTM


Pattern and colour are powerful tools when it comes to creating an exciting and engaging communal space. In this dining room, light neutral walls and wood tones helped to make the most of the natural light filtering into the area, while our Olivier tub chairs were upholstered in contrasting deep grey and bright blues and greens. The simple pattern all served to add a sense of fun and vibrancy – intended to welcome in even shy and introverted residents.

Restful Homes Group – Austen Court, furnished by YTM


Of course, a care home dining area can also be a space that embraces the decadence and celebration of more formal dining. In past projects, we have even accommodated the inclusion of private dining rooms which can be used by residents to make occasions feel extra special.

Springfield Healthcare – Mayfield View, furnished by YTM


It is often the case when furnishing a space that thinking outside the box creates the best results. At Mayfield View (pictured above), we introduced multi-purpose dining spaces as part of a relaxed “pub” environment for residents to enjoy. Our Classic Charles wing chairs were installed to welcome people in and enjoy social time.

Create the perfect space with YTM

YTM can help you discover the perfect communal dining environment for your care home. With almost 40 years of experience in contract furniture manufacture, the pieces in our vast collection are made by hand and on-site in West Yorkshire. We are also leaders in bespoke contract furniture solutions for care homes, enabling you to tailor your design to suit your needs rather than those of others.

So what are you waiting for? Get in touch today and discover just how many options are available. Call our team on 01977 66 50 50 or click here to leave an enquiry.

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