The story came to me about a woman lamenting the loss of her friend’s meeting for meals at
noon. It was her big social time of the day. Special. A reason to pouf her hair and add a pretty
scarf around her neck. Now she was hovering in physical distancing. All meals were brought to
her room. Her lifted spirits drooped after a few weeks of bad news on the TV. Then she paid
particular attention to her food server who was now taking a few minutes to pass the time of day
and share the news from the community.
One day last week the food server complimented her on the rings she was wearing. It was just
enough to put the sparkle back in her mind. She began dressing up again at noontime. The food
server smiled noticing the difference. Each day at noon the food server looked for that extra bit
her resident wore and complimented her on it. It made them both laugh and created a bond
between them. It was nothing humongous but it was important enough to create a flicker of
enjoyment in life, even in physical distance time.
Modern technology finally entered in with ways to use the cell phone and the internet to connect
with her friends again. They noticed how well put together she was like she had not lost her zest
at all. “It was my food server,” she said as she called her by name. “We’ve gotten to know each
other like we never have before. It’s wonderful.!”
What Kind Dining® has been teaching and coaching is more important than ever. The basics are
the same for food servers whether in the dining room or in the residents’ rooms. Emit that homey
feeling. Allow those you serve to know that you care, that you want to do a little extra to add to
their contentment and well-being. When your food servers create good relationships the
community moves forward.
Food servers who bond with their coworkers, help create a team ensuring that everyone wins.
Teammates enjoy being together and look forward to coming to work to see each other. The
residents receive the overflow from that good team energy. The food serving team receives the
benefit of loving what they do and the amazing results their efforts bring about. They see it
happening each day.
Our B♥ Kind ® Tip: Thanks for the responsibility you shoulder and everything you do to honor
A friend of a friend told me how upset he was because he couldn’t enter his mother’s assisted living community to visit her. “That’s why I moved to this area,” he said. “I visit her three times a week until today. The door was closed to me. I want to see how she is doing.” It was explained to him about the COVID-19 virus and this is what they were doing to stop the spreading of the disease. It is a time for active commitment for the common good-social solidarity– in order to stop the spreading of this disease. It was difficult but essential for him to understand the depth of their continued care. He was informed that they were even delivering all meals to each resident’s room as a way of fulfilling physical distancing.
Kind Dining® stresses that mealtimes are the most important time of the day for residents because they benefit from social contact. Until presently, communal dining has been an essential social time for residents. Now food servers will be filling that mealtime space by individual service to each resident’s room. At a time when the general population is upset, worried, stressed, and concerned, your food serving team can embrace being calm, uplifting, pleasant, chatty, and reassuring to each resident served. Add remembering to constantly wash hands to the list of duties. Find ways to give your food serving team time and techniques to give extra care and attention to residents who need to stay in their rooms for solitary meals for the common good of all. It’s what a food serving team does. It’s what a good food serving team does.
It is also important that every food server in your community needs to understand their vital role during this time of crisis. Let them know how valued, appreciated and supportive they are to the community, resident, and resident’s family. Facilities must include a training program for volunteers if they are brought in to help in the food serving process.. This pandemic will not disappear overnight. Communities ought to prepare for a lengthy stretch. We at Kind Dining are here to support you and your success.
Thank you for your service and the hard work you do.
You are needed
You are appreciated
Remember, coming to work today, you made a difference.
Additional Resources you may not know about:
Suzanne Quiring with her SuzyQ cart system: Please email Suzanne directly or check out her website
Becky Dorner with Becky Dorner & Associates: Becky Dorner & Assoc: Becky Dorner resources
In case you missed it-repeat: My latest video message on the LiveWell site
Our B♥ Kind® Tip: In-Kind Dining® service, all food servers can be leaders and empathize enough to extend work commitment.
Kind Dining® has always stressed the importance of mealtimes in the community dining room. Now that residents have been restricted from coming into the dining room for meals it is more important than ever for food serving teams to take up the social aspect of mealtime. Take at least a minute, or so to talk with each resident served. Ask if everything for the meal is on the tray. Chat for a moment. Ask, “How are you today?” Listen to the answer. Show that you care more than just bringing in a tray of food. After you have delivered to the next resident, stop back to your last room served and ask if all that was needed was on the tray.
Surveys report that residents spend a good portion of their day preparing for mealtimes for social exchange. It is essential for food servers to fill a small portion of social interaction at mealtimes now that the community dining rooms are closed. Even brief comments will help the resident feel like they have not been forgotten but are still connected. You are their link to what is the latest happening in their community. Keep your conversation pleasant and promising. Remember that your personal appearance speaks for you and the community. Don’t let the current COVID-19 situation fluster you. Allow reassuring words to pepper your conversation. Residents will pick up your sensibility. Stay clean and neat. It represents a calm environment. Be polite and courteous. Tell your residents that all is well within the community. Kind Dining® training is available to help your food serving team to learn quickly how to lead in this time of pressure and need.
Your food servers set the ambiance for your residents. Let them know their value, the company, and the community’s appreciation. Demonstrate extra kindness to all your food servers for the excellent job they are doing just by coming to work. Notice and support their sense of serenity. Mealtimes have been the social highlight of the day for residents. Now they are even more dependent on their food servers. Show compassion and give special attention to those who are in their rooms by themselves and those who do not have access to the internet for staying connected socially.
Our B♥ Kind® Tip: You have the power to make today’s meal more special than usual.