Empowered and Engaged Resident

Dining Experience

Dining – Heart of the Home Program

The kitchen has affectionately been called  “the heart of the home”and for our residents, Terra Vista is home.  So we decided to bring our heart, the kitchen, out to the residents, creating a more comfortable, recognizable space that offers a more intimate feel than that of an institutional, stale and/or larger bistro style dining room.

Design:  Each of our four neighborhoods has a separate kitchen and intimate dining room with a residential, community feel rather than that of a utilitarian public space.

Studies have shown that people with dementia ingest more food and have an easier time eating in quieter settings with minimal distractions. Our novel Heart of the Home concept was designed with this mindset.

Terra Vista focuses on family style dining, i.e. staff will be dining with the residents, not just serving them.  Dining together creates a stronger bond and a sense of family between staff and residents as well as provides extra hands to assist those who may need extra help during mealtime.

Though residential in look, all of the neighborhood kitchens have been specially designed for our dementia community.  With no ovens or stoves to pose a danger, the food is prepared in our main,commercial kitchen and served by staff members in each neighborhood.

Utilizing technology, heating elements are minimal, mobile and safe to the touch.  Each neighborhood kitchen is equipped with a full size refrigerator for storing daily necessities as well as special items that family members bring in for their loved one.

As each of our residents has a unique variety of needs and degree of physical capabilities, our dishware and silverware were designed and chosen for the person with dementia, making meal times easier and encouraging independence.

Though we encourage socialization, especially during meals, we understand that there may be times when a resident may function better in a quieter space.  Each neighborhood dining area has been designed with a small, semi-private area where they may feel more comfortable.  The space is also available to families wish to dine with their loved one and have additional privacy.

In addition, each resident apartment is also equipped with a mini-fridge so that the residents will have instant access to food and beverage items that are deemed safe.


Cuisine:The most important attribute of any kitchen is the food that comes out of it.  Terra Vista is constantly evolving in developing menus and recipes that are “brain” healthy as well as delicious.

Our nutritionists and dietary health managersdon’t simplycreate daily menus that far exceed state and federal guidelines, rather these culinary craftsmen provide a sophisticated, nutritious blend of tastes, colors and platting presentation that please the palate and eye.

Terra Vista has adopted the MIND diet as a guide to supplementing our meals and snacks.  Created byMartha Clare Morris, PhD, a Rush nutritional epidemiologist and her colleagues, the diet is a combination of the Mediterranean and DASH diets, both of which have been proven to reduce the risk of hypertension, strokes and heart attacks.

As documented in Alzheimer’s & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association, The MIND diet lowered the risk of Alzheimer’s by as much as 53 percent in participants who adhered to the diet rigorously, and by about 35 percent in those who followed it moderately well  ((Insert link:  https://www.rush.edu/news/diet-may-help-prevent-alzheimers)

In addition to threedaily primary meals, Terra Vista offers light, supplemental snacks between meals:

  • Brain Boosting Smoothiesbetween Breakfast and Lunch (Consisting of fresh, healthy ingredients to provide natural energy)
  • High Tea between Lunch and Dinner (Consisting of antioxidant rich tea/juice and such things as finger sandwiches or baked treats to maintain metabolism and increase appetite)
  • Goodnight Granola between Dinner and Bedtime (Consisting of natural sleep-inducing ingredients such as honey, almonds, oatmeal, dark chocolate…)

We also work closely with families to understand the resident’s like and dislikes so that we can alter items to suit their tastes, within reason.  In addition, we are able to modify most foods, such as pureeing or thickening, if instructed by their doctor.





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