“It’s Spring! Walking in the park to find a bench and have lunch was a great idea, Kelly! I’m bursting to tell you what happened to me since we had lunch together last month. Even at my age, I’m still learning new lessons to apply to my everyday living.” Colleen said.
Kelly scoffed. “Have you become ancient overnight? The last time I looked you were a foxy 35-year-old woman.”
“Well I was only comparing it to your young 20 years,” Colleen laughed “which reminds me of what I was going to tell you. I was shopping at the grocery store a couple of weeks ago. Funny, I was up on my toes, trying to reach a box of pasta from the top shelf. Things I need always seem to be where I cannot get them. When a long arm reached over and brought it down for me. I turned and it was Brad Bevins, our basketball star from high school days! ‘How kind! Thank you!’ Those were the first words out of my mouth before I even realized it was him.”
“He said, ‘you’re welcome, it’s just a small thing to do.’ I told him, ‘It’s a small thing for you, major to me, being a shorty.’ We chatted, catching up a bit. It’s been high school days since I’ve seen him. I did hear he was in a car accident earlier in the year and I mentioned it. He said he’s recovered with the kindness of a lot of people. With time to think while he was healing, he vowed to do kind things for people every day, strangers or not. It’s sort of a pay forward.”
Kelly commented, “That sounds like our last discussion at the employee’s training session, about spreading kindness not only to our residents but to each other, too.”
I’m sure it’s one of the reasons I don’t dread coming to work on Monday mornings. It makes all the difference in the daily work we do. Being generous is infectious and it works wonders in our community.
Kind Dining♥ promotes that kindness practiced will come naturally. It is another ability the food serving team needs to add to their improvement list.
Kindnesses used expand outward to include coworkers where offering a helping hand forms on-the-job friendships. Trust is formed when coworkers treat each other with kindness.
Encouraging the Golden Rule – 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 kindness, remain with the company.
Be♥ Kind Tip: Kindness means listening, truly listening.
It may be a small kindness for you to give, but it is a major kindness when received. There are many small things we do throughout the day that we don’t think of as being important. The person on the other end of your thoughtfulness may see it as major helpfulness. Even the simple act of truly listening to someone who needs to tell you the thoughts or ideas running around in their head is a sincere kindness. Taking a few minutes of your time shows that you genuinely care. It’s a selfless act of compassion and understanding. It is the first step in building trust and creating a connection for friendship with a resident or a coworker. A small act of kindness is also contagious. Without realizing it, you are at the beginning of spreading good cheer, setting someone into a happy mood, or implanting a positive attitude that will expand and grow.
You very often will not see the results of a good deed completed. But you will carry with you the light-hearted feeling of having improved someone’s day. The by-product is how it will affect your own attitude. Knowing you have extended yourself for someone else’s benefit will create a glow within. It overflows and touches everything you do and everyone you meet for the rest of your day. Think of the residents in your assisted living community and imagine the major influence you have by doing a small kindness for them. You have the ability to lift a person’s spirit who has been struggling to get through the day.
Kind Dining♥ offers online training sessions that you can continue to use with part-time employees and newly hired employees. Training teaches ways to add kindness to their skills. It will open doors to culture change and understanding of those they work with and residents, too. A kinder, happier staff is a healthier one that creates committed employees who stay with the company. The opportunity for growth is here. Inviting the spread of kindness is adding our unique hospitality to healthcare. Encouraging a kindly attitude can blossom, grow, and reap rewards for the givers and the receivers in your community. It begins with your food servers, from all departments, carrying pleasant considerations along with their meals. We all know those food servers are still the company’s best assets. Investing in them is an investment in your community and your organization’s growth.
B♥ Kind Tip: You can change someone’s day for the better with a small kindness.
Recently on an online program about reframing aging, the first male guest speaker stated that a retirement home is the last place you would want to put Mom! Ack! This man has been out of touch with today’s retirement and long-term care communities! He hasn’t been cooking three meals a day for the family for the last 40 years or packing school lunches for 30 years. Doesn’t Mom deserve to have her meals served to her for a pleasant change? Has she not earned the right to share meals with friends around the table in the dining room, meals that she wasn’t required to prepare and clean up afterward, meals that are served to her by well-trained servers who care about her enough to combine hospitality and healthcare seamlessly?
The uninformed guest speaker must not use his computer or spend enough time visiting communities, which educates us to keep up with the major changes that have taken place in the senior living marketplace, especially in the dining environment. The state and federal guidelines ensure meaningful choices, food available throughout the day if necessary to a particular resident’s meal preference or dietary requirement, and even encourage meal plans written by dietetic professionals often incorporating fresh foods from community gardens and healthy food choices and designed to boost brain health. These plan options in most plant-based foods help protect cells while staving off harmful inflammations and oxidation. Regulations address the communication and coordination of all staff serving residents to be knowledgeable regarding the residents’ dietary and dining preferences. Ongoing surveys, now being conducted in digital to keep information current, are accessible. They reveal the residents’ opinions, which are vital to the community’s desire to offer quality care and service to those who have chosen their community as a home. Comparing and contrasting what communities offer is necessary due diligence.
Retirement living is not limited to members of the family who can no longer take care of themselves. They are a choice of living care-free or maintaining homes that drain their life savings when those funds could be used for enjoyable days of meeting new friends, sharing activities, day trips, and healthy meals created and served especially for them. Multiple generations are now taking advantage of very different senior years. Today’s senior care community chefs are coming from 4 and 5-star restaurants and taking up the challenge of creating interesting daily menus and preparing healthy meals that residents anticipate.
Kind Dining♥ training courses teach everyone on food service and dining service teams who herald from all departments, including those who serve part-time, to be a member of a winning team by learning to work together, respect one another, treat their residents with the greatest empathy and respect, while treating each other with the same caring respect of a teammate.
B♥ Kind Tip: Read recent surveys to know if your food service is superior.
The trend shows that employees seek work positions where they can grow as individuals; feel accepted for who they are and their work. Challenges, education with training, and a voice that can make suggestions and improvements seem more important than a high wage. They want to be productive and make a difference. The Millennials and Gen Z are the most diverse group of employees. In today’s job market, they are evaluating the company they choose to join. Diversity is important to that decision, alongside inclusion and equity. It is understood that they desire an environment of various cultures, backgrounds, and customs. Because of these qualities, they will respond with empathy to your diverse residents.
Employees who feel like they belong will display a caring consideration about their coworkers, encouraging them to work as a team and the residents they have been hired to serve. It is imperative that everyone in your company’s organization, especially management, is comfortable with this policy of diversity. If they feel alienated, diversity will work against the company using this plan to attain success. Requiring management to attend training sessions with your food serving team, housekeeping, and other departments will close the cultural gap and build a solid foundation through empathy and knowledge. Cooperation is a goal to create a company with family-like bonds that work toward company goals.
Working with a sense of value to the company, where the employee has the responsibility to make decisions when necessary, for the good of your residents, encourages them to invest their intelligence and expertise. Employees with that assurance become part of the company, valued for their integrity. Equity confirms the faith the company has in the employee’s development. Choosing excellent training that is not a program but a way of life for your newly hired employees and a refreshment course for your present employees is a wise decision.Kind Dining♥ training sessions fulfill the education, knowledge, and interactive exercises that lead your employees to build that sense of improvement because they want to work smarter and with the intention; to perform at their highest ability. Kind Dining♥ training courses appeal to all cultures, backgrounds, ages, and full- or part-time employees. Our training sessions can create a work team that looks forward to coming to work every day.
B♥ Kind Tip: Employees who feel like they belong reach for higher performance.
Coleen and Kelly were out for their monthly lunch date. They decided to go to a small, family-owned Mexican restaurant near Kelly’s neighborhood, instead of the bistro where they normally met. “Variety is the spice of life,” Kelly said as they were seated by the wife of the chef. They took a few minutes to read the menu while they nibbled on freshly made corn chips and sipped their Margaritas. Coleen has been mentoring Kelly for a while. They enjoyed off-premises discussions to help Kelly learn but also to keep in touch with how others approach food service.
“I’ve only been to a Mexican restaurant a few times, so any recommendations from you would be welcome,” Colleen said.
“Okay. I’ll order for you.” Kelly replied as she rattled off, in Spanish, her choices to the waitperson.
”Wow! I’m impressed! I didn’t know you spoke Spanish. Did you learn in high school?”
“It’s confession time.” Kelly smiled. “My mother is Mexican and my father is 3rd generation, Irish. That’s why my first and last names have an Irish ring. My middle name is Carmelita. How is that for being American?” She chuckled at Colleen’s obvious amazement. “My mother came to the States as a teenager to work. My grandparents and extended family still live in Mexico. I am ready to offer my other language for service in our Community. I wanted to be sure our Community welcomed diversity first. It was a deciding factor in my choice, of where I wanted to stay and work long term before I revealed my knowledge of languages. Please excuse me for not telling you sooner.”
“Of course. I guess I understand that. You are young and investing time and training in building a life career in the field. I’m so glad because now I feel you are going to stay with us. You are an asset to us in the foodservice department. I thought you were a natural.”
“Well I did grow up serving food but I also realize that the restaurant business is a wee different from the bigger picture of retirement living and long-term care communities. I am content with the diversity in residents, but also in our food serving team. I felt included and welcome from day one. I see that each person on the food team is valued. It’s important to me to be comfortable in a multicultural situation so I can devote my efforts to learning my duties and responsibilities.
Our Kind Dining♥ training series offer proven solutions to help communities redefine their dining experience post-Covid, and repair the damage done by reducing the gaps of loneliness, isolation, and feelings of not belonging that were exacerbated. Our interactive exercises promote active learning and teach kindness as a way of life that creates communities of belonging. The training is rich in media and designed to appeal to servers of all ages, cultures, and levels of education. Kind Dining♥ is now online and on-demand and delivers immediate skill building for your employees, bringing more kindness, civility, dignity, and empathy into every interaction. Staff learns to value their service work, strengthen their interpersonal skills to get along better, and focus time and energy on what matters most. Food serving teams from all departments will perform with confidence, hospitality, and appreciation for their healthcare environment serving older adults. The best practices taught were designed from evidence-based research, firsthand experience, and knowledge with your senior living community in mind.
B♥ Kind Tip: Get to really know how your food servers feel about each other.