Do your employees carry a sense of belonging?

Do your employees carry a sense of belonging?

Human pyramid paper doll people

The human emotion of that “sense of belonging” does not fade away after graduating high school, raising a family, and/or fulfilling a career. It remains with us as long as we breathe. As many seniors choose to shed household ownership responsibilities to live in a senior living community, they will look for the one place that says, “I belong here.” A major vibe they absorb as they visit your community for the first time is the sense of your staff feeling as if they belong. Those vibes emanate from the relationship employees have with each other and their relationship with the residents they serve. A staff that is well trained to work as a team and knows the importance of performing as a team will exhibit that sense of belonging naturally. This team completely accepts and respects each other, willing to jump in to gladly help when needed and without waiting to be asked. It’s a team whose individuals are alert, aware, and committed.

Once team members develop these qualities through training curriculum and practice, each member’s behavior, attitude, and belief will alter to conform to the team’s goals. If their work began as an unskilled job, the influence of team education, adding skills learned, will guide them to work with intention. As their work performance improves and progresses, they will experience a sense of belonging. This feeling is what employees rely on to commit to their organization for the long term. 

That sense of belonging with residents encourages them to join in the various social activities, appear at events, and stop at a table during lunchtime to chat with others. Knowing you belong builds self-confidence and a sense of security. It even extends to welcoming new residents, showing that you chose the right community; you belong there and are a contented, happy resident. Living where you belong dissolves anxiety, depression, and loneliness. It supports excellent physical and mental health.

Kind Dining ® designed its’ training curriculum and hands-on exercises, knowing that it is in the organization’s best interest to ensure a well-trained staff. The results are employees confident to see their work as a ‘calling’ and to know it as a way of life. They take pride in their efforts to do a little bit more to make life better for residents and coworkers.

Kind Dining® nourishes a desire in participants to continue honing their skills, expanding their education, and securing their sense of belonging.

Learn how Kind Dining® Training can transform the dining experience in your community here.

Be ♥ Kind Tip: Residents need to feel they belong in your community. 

Do your food servers and caregivers think of their work as a calling?

Do your food servers and caregivers think of their work as a calling?

restaurant kitchen. Waiter with a ready-made dish Foie Gras posing in the background of the kitchen.

Assisted Living and Long Term Care communities may have different regulations than Senior Independent Living communities but many similar responsibilities make one community stand out from its neighbor. It’s a time when those regulations and also policies are updated to match the intelligence and needs of today’s residents. The same approach stands for senior independent living communities. An ongoing discussion with suggestions and notations from the employees who are involved with challenges daily is encouraged to bring possible problems to the awareness of all. A problem anticipated can easily be averted.

 Providers as well as employees can improve routines of responsibilities with empowerment to correct shortcomings.

Outdated rules and regulations can only drag a community to inadequacy if they are required to wait for outside government surveyors (a short-staffed field) to fix problems the company can do with integrity and experience.

Kind Dining♥ suggests this is an area that can be improved by holding scheduled training and meetings for discussion by anticipating areas that can be improved within the company employees.

While senior independent living communities are a relatively new industry, the underinvested nursing homes now must find a way to upgrade to assisted and long-term living, and memory loss centers. Introducing a new quality care system would be ideal, created from those within the industry who already are direct care staff.

These guidelines would come out of the training and education meetings where the participants are there to ever improve the situation of the individuals they tend to.  Many who work in the personal care industry consider their work as a calling rather than just a job to earn a paycheck. These experienced and educated caregivers must be respected and celebrated. They stayed on the job during the recent pandemic when others chose to stay safely at home. They have built resident relationships and connections that have value beginning each day with a happy smile and a hearty “Hello! How are you doing today?”

Dedicated food servers and caregivers aren’t born with the talent and skill they need to be excellent at their work. They have learned through active participation in proper training like Kind Dining♥ provides because we also believe with our hearts that we educate people to do their chosen work with intention, and skill, setting goals, and equitable care for the deserving residents. Training is a continuous journey. There is always a better way to learn, a new understanding, or an old skill reworked for a smoother result.

Be♥ Kind Tip: Training is a continuous journey.

Do your LTC employees stumble along, learning from mistakes made?

Do your LTC employees stumble along, learning from mistakes made?

New Skills and training signs

“While I stand in line to buy a cup of coffee at a ridiculous price to drink while I run errands, I wonder why I do these dumb things. I could easily have made a whole pot at home.”

This woman’s story came to me. “You may know that I work in an assisted living community for reasons of my own. The coffee I buy today tastes better than mine and my reason for choosing to work with residents who need daily help is that I care. It makes me feel like I am doing much more than working at a job. I look forward to going to work each day and set an intention to do a little extra more than expected. The residents I help aren’t always sweet little old ladies. When they are grouchy, I remind myself how difficult life is for them, when they struggle to get through the day and cannot manage it alone. I like to show a bit of compassion. It helps.”

“The wonderful training I had when I first began in this industry many years ago, instilled the work ethic to aim higher, and set goals that are minor to me, and the small extras I do are major to the residents I serve. We continue to have training brush-up sessions where I continue to learn new ways to freshen up long-time duties. I love my work and the expressions I see on the residents’ faces when I smile and say a hearty ‘Good Morning!’ or whatever my phrase of the day happens to be. They love it!”

It is essential that employees of long-term care and assisted living communities commit to equitable care for their residents as done in independent living communities. Their service delivery is vital to ensure a positive experience for the residents receiving care. Personal word of mouth is still the best promotion of a community to ensure higher occupancy.

Residents love to boast of the great care they are receiving when help is needed to get through the day. It reassures family and friends that they chose the right community. The resident’s response is the result of respect, dignity, and kindness received regardless of race, religion, or gender.

Policies and regulations must be discussed at scheduled meetings with all employees, including administration. The active response must be invited from the employees who have hands-on contact with residents.

Invest in and empower those employees allowing them to be part of the solutions. Stress the strength of being a team player. Kindness and respect are embedded in the Kind Dining♥ curriculum and training sessions.

We believe in the power of your skilled employees and the results that proper training brings to a company and the community.

Service without training involves many avoidable errors and causes poor experiences not forgotten. Proper training provides your service team with skills and the ability to create positive responses from your residents that they will remember when speaking about their time within your long-term care or assisted living community. Kind Dining♥ provides that training.

Be♥ Kind Tip: Scheduled discussions and training sessions create a powerfully skilled team!

Does your food serving team bring holiday cheer along with the meals?

Does your food serving team bring holiday cheer along with the meals?

Family dinner. Family receives guests, a festive meeting. family serves table and communicates with each other. Parents children and grandchildren in the house, cake on table.

It’s a Wonderful Life, Miracle on 34th Street, A Christmas Carol, Little Women, and Rudolph, the Red Nosed Reindeer are a few from a long list of stories of Christmas where kindness wins the day. Winter Holidays, no matter which one you celebrate, are a time for generosity, thoughtfulness, and kindness . The holiday season can be exceptionally difficult for older adults spending their first year in an independent living or assisted living community. They have chosen your community to call home but may be missing many of their family and friends lost in the recent pandemic. They may be yearning for past, happy memories and traditions that will never be experienced by them in the same way again. 

This holiday season is a time for your food serving team to go the extra mile to fill in those lonely, melancholy moments. While they have been practicing their social skills with residents, now is a good time to ask about those memories and traditions. Holidays are all about food. Gathering around the warmth of a dining table to share those foods that were special to their memories is still a way to bring happiness to your residents. It’s also perfect timing for serving particular foods that were enjoyed. Food servers can gain and carry the information and recipes back to the chef to include them on the menu. 

In conversation, food servers can also encourage their residents to expand their sense of culture and start new traditions by tasting the Christmas specialties of friends they have met. Perhaps your food serving team can suggest sharing traditions of others such as watch a holiday movie, enjoy a sing-along, start a story meeting where each person tells their stories of Christmases past. The key is for your food serving team to have compassion with residents, to understand they may be suffering silently. Asking a person to tell her/his story is an easy way to start a chit chat. Perhaps Christmas themed aprons can be worn by your food servers to spread the jolly Christmas spirit.

Kind Dining® training curriculum leads the way for your food serving team to create great relationships with those they serve while building their own skills and self-confidence. It’s easier to love your job when you know you are good at what you do, that you bring holiday cheer along with the meals you serve. It is a proven turnkey curriculum for communities that realize resident-centered care is a priority that benefits the company. Kind Dining® coaching is designed uniquely for staff who, directly or indirectly, serve meals. The interactive courses inspire your serving teams to weave hospitality with healthcare, to converse with residents, and to care.

Be ♥ Kind Tip: The holiday season is a time for your food serving team to go the extra mile.

What do your food servers see during the Holidays?

What do your food servers see during the Holidays?

Close up of green napkin and plates on holiday dinner table

Close your eyes, think of the Winter Holidays coming up, and what do you see?

Perhaps a Christmas tree in the background, hear Christmas carols being sung, but you ‘see’ family and friends gathered around a festive dinner table, no matter which holiday you celebrate. It’s the table that holds the warmth, celebration, camaraderie, and feelings of joy!

It’s about some foods that are only made on certain holidays. It’s the food that reminds you of past Christmases and loved ones of long ago.

Wonderful memories abound! It is a goal for Independent and Assisted Living Communities to recreate some of those treasured moments for their residents. It is in the power of your food serving team to help recall those memories and replace lonely reflections with the joys of today including newly found friends in your community.

The chit-chat your food servers initiate can result in favored recipes shared and specialty traditions being passed along to the chef for planning mealtime events.

Small, casual verbal connections between the food server and resident can result in making holidays happy replacing any feelings of the blues commonly experienced during this period of celebration.

These are vital skills taught in the Kind Dining® training curriculum that bring about important results that will linger in the minds of those on the receiving end. Resultant mealtimes are your company’s best asset and your mealtime servers have the power to make mealtimes memorable. Holidays are times when your food serving teams shine their brightest when feelings are tender, and when merriment is present in décor, attitudes, and at the table.

Setting higher standards in dining practices is a positive attainment. How your team performs at mealtimes and any time food and beverage is served, matters.

Kind Dining ® continually updates training to reflect the needs of food serving teams as traditional service changes to include new rules, regulations and suggestions that keep residents healthy and safe.

Hospitality and healthcare are still wedded together.

Kindness has always been a core belief in the Kind Dining® curriculum. New challenges in Senior Care Communities show committed food servers learning how to combine hospitality with healthcare using kindness, compassion, and competence as skills learned and practiced daily.

Our training sessions are experiential. We engage trainees by using action, reflection, application, and performance. Servers build empathy to respect the aging process by using kindness to connect with residents on a one-to-one basis. We teach personal and professional skills that improve the lives of your residents while improving the lives of those who serve them.

Be ♥ Kind Tip: Does your employee training include compassion and care?