Is civility common in your retirement community?

Is civility common in your retirement community?

Commonly, being civil is not something everyone is consciously aware of in their daily behavior. Someone, or group, believes we need more civility in our lives because August was appointed “Win with Civility” month. Organizations, companies, and even government departments were offering awards, prizes, and ideas to bring attention to the major problem of incivility in the daily workplace. There are even Civility Pledges offered for those who wish to practice awareness of incivility and change it to civility. We believe every month needs to have civility awareness. In retirement living communities, civility goes hand in hand with Kind Dining♥. It is vital that food servers are constantly aware and practicing civility because they are the main conduits connecting the community with residents multiple times a day. Practicing civility with coworkers is also vital toward building a food serving team that works together smoothly, improving their workday and working relationships.

To understand cultural conditioning by knowing your family culture learned as a child and how to bridge that, first by extending respect for the culture of others. Embracing the diversity of residents in the community is paramount toward creating harmony and forming the familiar feeling of being home. Home means belonging and it is essential for residents’ contentment and their sense of well-being. Aware food servers can help create that harmony when they connect to residents with small talk, light conversation, pleasant greetings every time they meet, and extend a helping hand if necessary. These added skills open the way to learn the culture of others. Relying on your self-esteem reflects your thoughts and will help build solid relationships. Now that dining rooms are reopening, alert food servers can assist in breaking up negative cliques, by introducing new residents to tables already established. Using finesse to do this is another skill added to the food servers’ archive of knowledge.

Kind Dining♥ concludes civility responsibilities are another skill the meal serving team needs to learn and practice. The civility adopted expands outward to include coworkers where offering a helping hand forms on-the-job friendships. Trust is formed when coworkers can rely on each other. Encouraging the Golden Rule suggestion of – treat others as you would like to be treated- is a perfect guideline for attitudes toward residents and coworkers. Employees who are trusted and treated with respect, remain on the job. That respect comes from all directions, residents, coworkers, and management. Civility can achieve that.

B♥ Kind Tip: To meet residents’ expectations, treat them as you like to be treated.

Is civility common in your retirement community?

Does your food serving team retain enthusiasm through the challenges they meet?

Kind Dining

You may ask how your food serving team can be expected to retain their enthusiasm on the job when times, such as this past year have brought challenges they were not prepared for. Now that Long Term Care, Assisted Living, and Independent Retirement Communities have contained the fast-spreading of coronavirus the food serving team has the right to pat themselves on the back for a job well done.  Food servers adapted to in-room service and wheeled carts filled with deli selections, snacks, and beverages. They traveled throughout the community hallways, open spaces, and pop-up corners easy to reach yet still able to keep a distance from others. Large common rooms were laced with small table settings of 2 or 4 carefully distanced for healthful dining.

Management and employee discussions that included requests from residents, worked on alternative ideas to replace the closing of their traditional dining rooms. Among other ideas, they decided on installing ‘Grab & Go’ cafes where meals were packaged ready to pick up including freshly made and boxed pizzas. Weather permitting, terraces and patios were put to use with umbrella tables where the lighter fare was offered. Other alternative dining choices such as pop-up Bistros located closer to residents’ rooms and apartments were opened as the coronavirus was in the process of being contained. The food serving teams were visibly in touch and smiling behind their masks, doing exceptional work reaching and assuring the residents they served. 

Kind Dining♥ training teaches the skills that built the confidence and competence these food serving teams displayed. The combination of healthcare teams embracing our unique blend of hospitality is the thread that runs through food serving teams that work together with enthusiasm. They typically desire to learn how to work easier and better, connecting and bonding with residents they serve. They helped to build recaptured lives after the pandemic hit through mealtimes and social event hours. Pride in the work they do and caring the way they do it was certainly earned. This approach creates a joy that overflows and improves everyone’s day that comes in contact with these dedicated food servers. It’s a goal to strive for and shows enthusiasm and respect for coworkers, residents, and the community. 

The secret to success via Kind Dining♥ is to educate the communities that desire a service makeover by sharing fundamentals such as courtesy and positive attitude every day, perfected social skills, and proper serving techniques that are necessary to enjoy a winning dining environment. This includes group meetings that invite residents’ thoughts and opinions.

B♥ Kind Tip: Smile as you practice your newly learned Kind Dining♥ skills!


Is civility common in your retirement community?

Does the success of your Community come from the kitchen?

Does the success of your Community come from the kitchen?John and Paul have been challenging each other to a game of chess since they both had a full head of hair, a wife, and young children. When John was widowed after nearly 50 years of marriage he moved into a Retirement Living Community. A few years later Paul followed his lead. They are still trying to outsmart each other at chess.


“What did you think of the dinner last night?” John asked while waiting for Paul to make a move. “It’s a new idea the chef has been trying this past year.”


“I liked it,” Paul replied. “The meal reminded me of Martha. You know I still miss her and her home cooking. She also used to cook other than what we ate normally to get me to try some new recipes and expose me to new foods. She did her best to keep me from becoming an old stick in the mud when it came to dinnertime.”

“I liked it, too. It’s the chef’s way of respecting the foods we were familiar with at home. I think he makes mealtime taste like home. These Special Meals, as he calls them, reflect favorites of our age group and the spreads we enjoyed on holidays. The younger set eats differently than we always did.” John continued.  “You can request a favorite menu and even send family recipes into the kitchen. It tells me that the kitchen cares about what makes me happy. I rather like having choices, too, and I know they are healthy foods.”  


As the conversation over a chess game reveals, Retirement and Long Term Care Communities that value the dining experience, continue to advance their focus from the residents’ perspective and educate their food and dining service teams. It helps that they continue their Kind Dining♥ eLearning courses and have regular meetings that result in exchanging new ideas. Chefs and kitchen workers explore ways to add new dishes to keep their menu varied. Some even present opportunities for residents to taste-test recipes prepared from the residents’ favorite recipes brought from home. The dishes are voted on by secret ballots of the residents. The meals that get the most votes go onto the regular menu for a period of time. The goal is to create the feeling, through fellowship, of truly belonging to the community. 


Breaking bread together has been a way of bonding and creating those relationships for centuries. Food feeds more than just the body. It feeds emotional nutrition. Mealtimes, brunches, and Happy Hours are the basis for social gatherings that begin with food. Families identify with their culture through the food they ate since birth. For residents, the focus is still on food and all the socialization that surrounds each mealtime throughout the day.


B♥ Kind ®Tip: Your residents’ feeling of a home may come from your kitchen.

Is civility common in your retirement community?

Are your residents and staff happy with each other?

Colleen was explaining to a relative newcomer to the Senior Living community Kelly, how she came to work here several years ago. “Gram moved in about a year after Grandpa passed away. She no longer wanted to maintain the big, old country house anymore or to wander around all the rooms empty of Grandpa. Mom wasn’t sure she would adapt to such a drastic change in her lifestyle. Boy, did Gram surprise all of us! She took to the community like ducks to water!”

“But what does that have to do with you?” Kelly inquired as she continued eating her lunch. They were on break and had been meeting at lunchtime since Kelly began her first day of work when Colleen offered to show her the ropes.

“I was still in high school and left my summer job working in a retail shop to work here in foodservice. I was supposed to check up on Gram to be sure she was not lonely. Hah! That was a joke! Gram fit right in and had new friends within a week or so. Her days are as full as she wants them to be. She tells me how she never expected to enjoy herself so much. It is so different from her mother’s widowhood. Big change, she tells me.”

“In what way?” Kelly asked.

“She has choices of what she wants to eat, when, where- meaning the café or dining room, or in her own room, and when she wants to get up in the morning or to bed at night. There are no institutional routines like there once was in Senior Living or Assisted Living. She is treated with dignity and respect; not talked down to that would make her feel childish. She joins in the activities offered, or not; her choice. She’s made a great many friends including some on the staff. They took time to get to know her, not as a faceless person that needed care.”

“How has your work here changed you?”

“I’ve learned so much in the training sessions and on the job from coworkers, that have touched me in many ways. I’ve changed my direction in school and am now pursuing education for a career in the Food Service Department. I want to work in a field where I love what I do.”  

Kind Dining♥ training gives employees the confidence to challenge them to do good work easier and better. This training encourages culture change that allows staff to give personal care,  to come to know the people they provide service for, to reap the benefits of caring, and to love the work they do with altruistic satisfaction. 


B♥ Kind ®Tip:  You have the power to make a big difference in resident satisfaction!