Is Your Community Dining Room Rising to the Challenge Set by the American Geriatrics Society? Part 1

Is Your Community Dining Room Rising to the Challenge Set by the American Geriatrics Society? Part 1

Remember being 24 years old, going out to dinner with the person/people you wanted most to spend time with. See yourself being recognized when you were greeted at the door of the restaurant and was led to a table you favored. This was where you wanted to savor your choice of food, chat about the day’s happenings and share ideas about what was going on in your life and what the future held. You wanted to linger over dessert without anyone rushing you. You waited all day for that moment. You prepared for it, selected what you wanted to wear and maybe gave thought to subjects you wanted to discuss with that special someone or that special group.

A senior’s physical and cognitive functions may have changed and may have cause for adaptive tools or assistance in one way or another but, inside they are still twenty-four years old and wanting the same joys as when they were that young age. When your community food servers look into a senior’s eyes, as they greet them, and call them by name, they will see that long ago sparkle of youth that still resides within.  This moment will relay to the sensitive food server that this person deserves the best service she can give. This is a focus of Kind Dining® training.

Our B♥ Kind® Tip: Your community dining room can improve resident weight-loss management!

Is Your Community Dining Room Rising to the Challenge Set by the American Geriatrics Society? Part 1

Is Kindness the Answer?

Maybe when you are unhappy it is better to go out for a walk instead of feeding your unhappiness with a plate of pie a la mode. In a study conducted at Iowa State University, students were directed to walk around campus for 12 minutes and practice one of three different techniques to lower anxiety. The first set (loving-kindness) was to look at people and think sincerely “I wish for this person to be happy.”  The second group (inter-connectedness) was to look at each person they saw and wonder if they might have something in common. The third group (downward social comparison) was to think if they were better off than those they met.

Results showed that offering kindness to others gave the student extending well-wishes higher feelings of caring, happiness, empathy, and lowered anxiety.  The second group resulted only in effects of beneficial social connection. The third group had no beneficial effects.

Think of happiness filling your community dining room when your serving team extends positive thoughts of wellness to each person they meet. Anxiety and stress between food servers would be replaced with laughter and joy. New residents would be greeted graciously and invited to sit with those who are already comfortable in the dining room. Food servers would naturally and automatically help their coworkers without waiting to be asked, when help was needed. When people are happy they open up, inviting conversations that find solutions on how best to decrease conflicts with caregivers that resist the new mode of adding serving meals to their responsibilities. This leans toward all food serving staff working as a team to create a happier environment for the residents. It’s all about kindness to each person you meet in your working day.

If your community has similar needs in learning how to have all your food servers happy and working together as a team, Kind Dining® can help. Kindness and all it entails is at the heart of Kind Dining® training. Opening conversations can help a colleague with poor work habits learn how to improve them with confidence instead of criticism. Food servers who have insecurity problems due to less experience or lack of good training will learn easier and happily with good leadership showing the way with positive encouragement. Silence and holding insecurities for fear of losing your job only creates more problems. Replacing unhappy employees who do not perform their work as expected are costly and time consuming to replace. The company benefits overall with a well-trained food serving team.

Our B♥ Kind® Tip: Remember your vision to build stronger mealtime relationships.

Is Your Community Dining Room Rising to the Challenge Set by the American Geriatrics Society? Part 1

Do Your Food Servers Have Conversations?

Communication is the glue that holds people together creating better working environments that create happier atmospheres for residents. Kind conversations are the handiest way to have communications between co workers. Food servers are the leaders in moving forward toward complying with new regulations. When food servers extend a helping hand and kind comments to their coworkers, especially those who are new to serving food such as caregivers, they are cementing working relationships that matter. To have a community operating at peak performance you must have all hands on deck; everyone working for the benefit of all. That includes all employees and all residents.

Silence festers. When there is a problem that needs to be addressed or a problem coworker that needs to be confronted (and who likes confrontation?) it can only be corrected if the problem is brought out into the open and talked about. Talking about it means positively, together, as a team with kindness and courtesy. All spoken opinions and ideas count but must be presented without emotions, only with reason, rationale and kindness. If your community has issues that need to be resolved and no one seems to know how to do that, Kind Dining® can help. It’s what they do best. Happy, smooth running communities don’t just happen. Training, making not only physical habits change, but how food servers think is the path to a happy community. Happy dining rooms have food servers who take pride in their work, come to work smiling and are delighted to be in your community. They offer that comment that will help a coworker, a cheery ‘hello’ to every resident who enters her domain because she is sincerely glad to see them . . . and says so.

It’s just as important for cheerfulness to float in the air of your dining room as it is for the delicious aroma wafting out from the food being served. It’s just as important for the smiles to be cast around freely as it is to assist your teammate who came to work with the world dragging her shoulders down. It’s just as important to leave the pantry full for the next shift as it is to find the pantry ready for your own shift.

Your residents may be the most important people in the dining room but unless your food servers, and that includes those in the kitchen that you may not see, are an uplifting, positive-attitude-minded  team, you won’t have happy residents. Emotions and attitudes overflow and touch everyone that happens to come into your personal space. And the space that drifts around you as you move is the result of a choice you make.

Our B♥ Kind® Tip: We can all be leaders—we just have to be brave enough to make positive changes.

Are Your Meal Servers Ready for Culture Change?

Are Your Meal Servers Ready for Culture Change?

When Sally helped her mother select a long term community to continue her life after selling her home, she felt it was time for a change in her own life too. She left her job on cruise ships to working in her mother’s community, primarily in the dining room.  Even though she was the ‘new kid on the block’ she quickly became a leader. The skills she had learned serving people who demanded the best service now came easily and naturally to her. Her coworkers noticed how the residents looked for her and the joy she brought into the dining room when she entered it. She nearly glowed! It wasn’t long before they asked her for her secrets. She was happy to share her thoughts about the training she had accomplished.

Hiring Sally was a benefit for the community because their food serving staff badly needed training to bring them up to the new tightening standards required by Federal regulations. The future is here and the spotlight in today’s retirement communities is on the dining room with food being the catalyst. Fortunately for communities who do not have a Sally, Kind Dining® is passionate about training your food servers and caregivers so your dining room may achieve higher customer satisfaction ratings. When meal servers are smarter about their job they find solutions to solve problems that arise in an unexpected instant.

Many poor habits of food servers can be corrected with immediate results. Other poor habits need the practice of working together led by masterful administrators who believe and take ownership which catapult their dining room team passed the fear of change to become successful. Culture change is here to the betterment of all, residents and employees alike. Good training inspires your meal servers to share the same vision for the happy, well-run dining room. Included in the meal serving team is the chef who oversees the plans and preparation of meals. It is the ultimate compliment for the chef to leave the kitchen to visit the residents in the dining room; to interact with those who enjoy the results of a caring and wise chef.

Our B♥ Kind® Tip: Remember, your food serving team has the power to raise resident satisfaction to the highest level!

Is Your Community Dining Room Rising to the Challenge Set by the American Geriatrics Society? Part 1

What About Short Term Residents?

Rebecca thinks back to ten years ago when she suffered a stroke at 52 years of age and wound up in a short term Rehab facility. In the beginning meals were brought to her room. There was a noticeable difference in the attitude of who delivered her meals. One gal plopped her meal down with a “Here’s your lunch Dearie” and hurried out of the room to get the rest of her job done. Rebecca became furious and grossly disappointed when the sugar was missing for her coffee.  By the time the tray was picked up, her coffee was too cold to enjoy now that she could ask for the missing sugar. Annoyance set in when the food server remarked gruffly that she should have asked for it earlier. Well the mind doesn’t think as fast when you’re having difficulty just getting through the day filled with therapy and learning to live in a new way.

The CNA she remembered most fondly also brought her meals, wearing a pleasant smile, sharing an uplifting comment and asked if there was anything else needed. After she delivered another meal or two, she poked her head back into the room for just a second, to ask again, “Did you get everything you needed?”  Thinking ahead, she carried extra condiments with her for such occasions when the resident needed them while the food was still hot and items had been left off the tray. Taking the time to know the resident she was serving, the CNA also informed Rebecca that she could order a rocker knife that would make cutting her food much easier. This was a small item that made a tremendous difference at mealtime and no one had told her that such an item existed.

Before her stroke Rebecca taught Occupational Therapy to college students. The stroke taught her that much helpful information was missing from the material she taught and made note of it even though she was not capable of teaching at her college again. Arriving home, she wrote and published a book that would be informative to the patient and even more importantly to show the family their role in recovery. She also noted the difference of attitude in the food servers and how it affected her.

She wrote letters on her computer thanking each individual at the Rehab facility who extended kindness and help to her explaining exactly how they impressed her. She wrote a letter of commendation about each of the staff including the food servers who had performed above average service.

When attitude is changed from just doing your job to get through the day, to loving what you do at work by using kindness and thoughtfulness that improves a resident’s stay,  improves your life.  Kind Dining® benefits everyone who learns it.

Our B♥ Kind® Tip: Practice showing extra courtesy today.