While waiting in line to mail packages at the post office, a friend noted two women discussing, behind masks, of course, their disappointments in the year 2020. They both believed it was going to be a super year instead of the shocker it became, teaching us all new ways of living. “We are ending a year of living carefully in our attempt to stay safe and healthy,” one woman claimed. “Major changes happened in our household. I insisted everyone pay attention to the new guidelines and have respect for each other by not bringing any virus home with them.” The other woman commented that 2021 was starting out with the promise of vaccines though it may take time to get around to everyone. Still, changes were in place and going to stay in place for the good of all the family. “A new year is a great time to change into positive attitudes and continue, realizing that the new wealth is actually good health. Add ‘kindness is the new cool’ and we have a good year beginning for all of us.”
Long term living communities at all levels of care, made enormous strides in educating, changing, and adapting to new ways in 2020 out of necessity. Disaster tends to bring focus to meaningful goals. Speed in placing new guidelines because of the extensive demands the coronavirus made on communities this past year has resulted in positive advancements that had been lingering for future progress. Some communities are entering 2021 with a stable and promising outlook. Food serving teams, including personal care and nursing, have taken on added responsibilities in culture change with a people-centered focus.
Kind Dining♥ training methods lead your food serving teams into 2021 with knowledge of how they can serve older adults by working smartly with better results. Online training instills new ideas and educates your food serving teams for a more prosperous new year, starting 2021 in the right direction. Increased communication and bonding with residents and coworkers will help accomplish those goals within the company. Isolation has been difficult for many older residents. Being separated from their friends and families has added stress that is hard to overcome. Our trained food servers, in particular, have helped greatly by using kindness and thoughtfulness in their newly learned social skills of communication.
B♥ Kind ®Tip: Remember, kindness is the new cool.
We often can benefit from learning a new way of doing something we’ve always done without thought. This applies to the workday of many food servers in the community of older adults. Learning how to work smarter on the job, by finding solutions to our communication shortcomings is a goal. It takes cooperative teamwork to deliver top-notch food service. Holding a weekly discussion group can lead to finding out where the lines of communication between food server and resident plus food server to coworker have broken and how they can be repaired. Discussions will show where focus and concentration are needed to make positive change. The manner in which your food serving team treats each other is driven by the values of the company. The company establishes those values to open a path of clear direction and guide employees in shaping their behavior on a day to day performance and to bring out the leadership qualities in the community employees. It may surprise you when the leader who evolves is the food server who speaks another language besides English. The housekeeper who steps in to help serve meals during this short-handed time of COVID-19 is a leader. The teenager who works as a food server and often volunteers her assistance to a fellow food server or nurse overloaded with work is definitely a leader in the making when she steps in to help pour coffee and deliver a kind word to diners.
Kind Dining♥ training isn’t simply a talk on how to change your routines. It is full of hands-on practice, interactive group discussion, and knowing how to apply them. Some ways can be corrected easily and take effect immediately, others will take time and practice, practice, practice. Continuing group discussions can only work to help your food serving team to become a smooth conveyance through rekindled education. Communities that excel in resident care and food service turn their servers into company assets. They are your best marketing tool. Teach kindness and courtesy by intertwining them into serving skills. Guide your food serving team to develop camaraderie, lift spirits, and make high standards of quality service a goal to achieve. Role players that emerge from practice sessions can become excellent leaders as they gain experience. They take ownership and become passionate about their work, loving what they do. Their food serving team will overcome the fears of change and the challenge of reaching a higher standard of foodservice. It is vital that the leaders who do move to the front know how to define and demonstrate core company values on a daily basis; values that become second nature to your food-serving team.
B♥ Kind® Tip: Through Kind Dining♥ service, we all can become leaders by being brave enough to make positive changes.
A friend of a friend was having a conversation about the blues, being in a terrible rut during this coronavirus-instigated quarantine until she received a greeting card from a long-time friend. She had not heard from her in a few years. She spoke of that special, particular moment of being lifted up out of her gloom and feeling elated by the simple arrival of a note. It brought the friend into her mind and the many memories they shared in the past. The friend continued saying how it’s the small things in life that matter.
At Kind Dining,♥ we have a saying: Mealtime is the most important time to positively impact your residents’ nutritional health, well-being, and quality of life. That doesn’t change whether you are serving in the dining room or room service. We depend fully on the food serving team to provide these qualities of life for our residents along with uplifting conversations that are vital to chase away the doldrums of residents in quarantine.
While we have been focusing on the residents in your community we also need to offer all employees in these times of uncertainty, to own a sense of calm, a feeling of being valued, appreciated, and completely supported by the administration. Servers deserve training in these social distancing dining room protocols, room service, and in appropriate service techniques. Sufficient staffing enables your servers to do their work without stress and regardless of the demands of their other daily duties. Administrators and servers benefit from working as a team to provide quality service at mealtimes in any manner called for.
Achieving Kind Dining♥ training isn’t just a nice thing to do for your serving team, it is a valuable tool in accomplishing many of the health and quality of life goals you hold for your community. As the long term care industry continues to move towards person-centered care, it is still the right time for dietary managers to advocate and evaluate the daily food serving productive habits in place. Positive changes work with repeated practice and the encouragement of camaraderie between food servers and residents and with each other. This ‘small talk’ increases the quality of life for your residents, especially during these times of isolation and especially those who are living in a single situation. Residents still look forward to mealtimes as their social time of day.
B♥ Kind ®Tip: Don’t let “getting your work done” interfere with showing kindness and compassion.
A woman was talking to her friend, saying that the kindness of strangers is spreading. While buying a soldier a cup of coffee, paying for her meal, or toll on the turnpike continues, random acts of kindness have spread and touched assisted living and nursing communities in a new way. Two women came up with the idea after reading an article in the newspaper about Maine Acts of Kindness. They wanted to help. One of the women, a now-out-of-work hairstylist, and her friend collected in excess of $3000.00 for iPads and cases. They are highlighting volunteer work during these pandemic times when many of the older generations in long-term care are feeling isolated without the benefit of family and friend visits because of the quarantine. Socialization is vital to good health. Even encouraging friends and family to send greeting cards helps residents feel in touch is a kindness that takes little effort.
A 16-year-old in New York placed flyers around her hometown and collected enough puzzles, word books, activity books, and other items to fill 370 care packages for a nursing center to help those in COVID 19 isolation. She wanted them to know someone cares enough to share kindness.
Food servers are a huge part of the kindness of helping residents keep their spirits lifted in this time of isolation. They are in contact with individual residents every day, three times, or more, a day. Emotions may be running higher than usual because residents missed being with their families and friends personally over the holidays. Food servers bringing a meal tray to a room can make a difference by kindly breaking the ice in passing along a few comments to open a conversation that will help relieve strained emotions. In improving the dining service your team begins with small steps. Kind Dining♥ training inspires your food serving team to use kindness wherever they are in the community but they have the most impact while serving meals. The best service isn’t just a nice thing to do; it is a valuable tool in accomplishing quality of life for residents. Communities have moved closer toward person-centered care which brings the focus on mealtimes.
When food servers practice their Kind Dining♥ skills every day; improvements soon come naturally. Setting higher standards in dining is a positive change; embrace it. Mealtimes are important to your company’s reputation; how your team serves meals matters. Through goal-setting, your food serving team can turn a blue day into a joyful one.
B♥ Kind ®Tip: Demonstrate extra kindness today.