The importance of communal dining in care homes

In a care home environment, mealtimes aren’t just about food

Loneliness is an ongoing issue among the elderly, particularly those staying in care homes. Age UK reports that more than one million elderly people regularly go for a month or more without speaking to anyone, reflecting how effective care for care home residents must include methods to tackle social isolation.

At YTM, we specialise in furnishing care home environments and we believe that as part of our service we must understand the type of interactions that occur in care homes in order to support the needs of residents effectively. And nowhere is this more true than in the dining room. A dining area isn’t just a place for residents to sit down to eat; it’s a chance to socialise and form connections. We believe that the perfect dining design can help encourage this interaction.

Let’s take a closer look at the importance of the dining room, and what you can do to create a positive dining environment.

A chance to get together

Although many care homes offer the option for residents to eat in their rooms, encouraging able residents to eat together in the dining area allows them to make the most of this valuable social time. It’s impossible to overstate the importance of social activity in the wellbeing of older adults, particularly those with dementia. In fact, research earlier this year funded by the National institute of Health Research found that just one hour of social interaction a week can be beneficial for dementia residents. Dining together encourages conversation between residents; between residents and carers; and between residents and their loved ones.

Cementing clear routines

Mealtimes are key to all of our daily routines. They help us gain a clearer picture of what to expect from the day ahead. Research has shown that a set routine helps reduce stress levels, increase energy levels and improve sleep quality, and this is particularly important for care home residents. Making communal dining a staple feature helps further pin down a clear and comprehendible routine for residents.

Dining with a sense of dignity

Sitting down to eat at an attractively laid table, surrounded by friends, allows residents to maintain a sense of dignity and normalcy. What’s more, residents can be invited to take part in cooking and dining preparations, promoting independent living skills, mobility and a sense of purpose.

Creating the perfect dining environment

The perfect dining environment is absolutely essential in a care home setting. Using our new Care Collection, here is how to make it a reality in your establishment.


Soft lighting and sumptuous upholstery can be combined with classic furniture shapes to create a dining room that feels both opulent and inviting.


A large item of furniture like a room divider can be used as a source of interest in a more open dining space, while also helping to create clear zones. Pops of fresh colour have been used here to inject energy into the space.


Earthy tones and warm woods can help care homes feel cosy no matter what the weather is doing outside, creating an inviting space. The right table settings can also give your care home a luxe hotel feel.


This Vesta sideboard is perfect for reflecting light back into a dining room, while also adding a sense of glamour. Statement pieces like this help residents appreciate their surroundings and enjoy the dining experience.


Dining furniture can be used to cater specifically to dementia residents by creating environments reminiscent of bygone eras. This can help residents feel less confused and more comfortable in communal settings.

The new YTM Care Collection perfectly blends functionality with luxury to provide the very best in care home furnishing. Call our team today on 01977 66 50 50 to start a conversation or, to see more of the Care Collection, click here.

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