A millennial talks college vs. senior dining

Three questions

senior couple eating meal assisted living

Hayley Jenkins, a 22-year-old singer and music major at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, moved into Deerfield Retirement Community in Urbandale, Iowa, in January, and performs twice a month for residents in lieu of rent. Here’s what the millennial had to say about how the college and senior living dining segments compare.

Q: What is something you think university dining should adopt from senior living?

A: Something I would recommend for Drake to do is a themed dinner—I know they have Thanksgiving and kosher meals. But we do a gourmet dinner at Deerfield with the artists that have paintings in our gallery. We had this beautiful gourmet dinner with steak and lobster—kind of a surf and turf—and amazing desserts. It was very high-class and felt very special.

Q: Do you think other students are also craving a finer dining experience sometimes?

A: I do. I think the older you get, the more flavorful your palate gets. I love going out downtown and experiencing new foods that I wouldn’t normally eat; for example, Thai food or French cuisine or high-class dining.

Q: Do you find any similarities in what the collegiate and senior demographics enjoy?

A: [Deerfield] goes all out for their Sunday brunch, and that’s maybe a similarity at Drake—their breakfast is really good as well. Breakfast also starts earlier [at Drake] for people with 8 a.m. classes.

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