Many seniors will decide to leave their present home and make their new and final home in a senior or an assisted living community. This is a lifetime decision and not one that is made lightly. When keeping this in mind, your food servers have the power to reassure any hesitancy of these new residents. Incorporating kindness into their daily routine shows commitment to helping new residents settle in. It also improves their day. They display empathy by lending an ear and taking a few minutes to listen.
Older Adults making your community their home will welcome this kindness as they often left a home of 50 years. They leave behind a houseful of familiar antiques and treasures to move into a smaller place. Downsizing is rewarding in itself. It can also be painful to leave those treasures collected over a lifetime.
Hospitality is encouragement when starting fresh. Hospitality is also a comfort and is healthful.
Food has always been a comfort and a major factor in the senior and assisted living community.
The food server is the carrier of that comfort. Your food serving team must add the skills of empathy and sincere listening to their list of practiced technical skills. Follow those skills up with practicing kindness to become a way of life. It eases a workday and improves the attitude of the giver and receiver. Now that dining rooms and restaurants in these communities have re-opened, mealtimes can return to their former social times. They become a focal point for renewing friendships and meeting new residents.
It is a time for excitement and fun. It is a time for enjoying the chef’s choices, the food servers’ comments, and the warmth of a table shared with others.
Our training modules at Kind Dining® are experiential.
We engage trainees by using action, reflection, application, and performance. Servers learn empathy with delicacy for seniors who left their family homes to become permanent residents in your community.
Your food serving team can connect with residents one-on-one to build good relationships. We teach that personal and professional skills, like hospitality and healthcare, go hand in hand. These skills improve the lives of your residents while improving the lives of those who serve them.
Everyone benefits from thorough and refreshed training; the residents, their families, the entire food serving team, and the company.
Be ♥ Kind Tip: Personal and professional skills go hand in hand, like hospitality and healthcare.
Your new residents are starting over, sometimes after living in the same house for 50 or 60 years.
They had to downsize, give away, donate, or throw away their lifetime of brick a brac, and souvenirs. Art treasures and wall hangings must go. There is no room in their new home. Clothes closets must be reduced to fit the new residence. Sometimes, there will be no need for food processors, mixers, and other kitchen tools. It is a major decision in the last chapter of one’s life.
They are starting over, looking forward to a carefree life without the heavy responsibilities of home ownership. They also know that this is the last place to live before moving to the hereafter. It comes with age or, in the case of assisted living communities, infirmities.
Whether the chosen home is in a senior living or assisted living community, they will need a warm welcome and assurance that they chose the right community.
Your food serving team is where they will find comfort and confidence if your team has received excellent training.
When kindness, empathy, and consideration are offered along with meals being served, your residents receive exactly what is needed.
Kind Dining® training series addresses these skills of hospitality and healthcare that can be learned, along with technical skills, behavior control, and positive thinking.
Helping people by listening to their life experiences is the highest form of hospitality. Because it makes them feel better to share their stories, it also attends to their healthcare.
When these new residents move into your community, your food serving team can help them adjust by listening to their concerns, triumphs, and, though it is a little harder, their bumps in the road.
The food serving team can assist in shaping a resident’s outlook on their new lifestyle. This creates a safe space. When your food servers contribute to healthcare this way, they will feel added value to their lives.
We at Kind Dining® training love this new approach.
We teach how the principles of kindness counteract the greatest threat facing the world today.
Too many people are experiencing the epidemic of loneliness, isolation, and the feeling of not belonging. Listening with intent is a major kindness not to be taken for granted. It is a dual kindness in helping the speaker and helping the listener, too.
Your committed food-serving team will also learn that practicing kindness during their working hours becomes a way of life that improves their own lives.
We teach finding solutions to these most challenging problems that arise in senior care communities at all levels of care.
Be ♥ Kind Tip: Do you love our new approach to teaching the principles of kindness?
Everyone has a story.
Ending an old year and beginning a new one brings out the stories that residents find satisfying to tell.
The savvy food server gives the best gift and builds a good relationship when he/she listens intently to what the resident wants to share.
Listening is a skill that can be learned and practiced. It not only gives great satisfaction to an older person but adds to the list of food-serving skills. It strengthens the bond created between the resident and the server. It increases the value of the employee and creates a sense of belonging and a feeling of accomplishment.
Listening is the highest form of hospitality. Hospitality holds hands with healthcare which helps elders through their life experiences. Sharing stories comforts the teller and the one receiving them by listening. The skill can be added to daily habits with little effort.
One of many things a food server learns by listening is that all older adults in their Senior Living Community are not the same.
To lump them all together because they share a certain age bracket would be a major error. An obvious result of that difference is their exposure to various ethnic and cultural foods in their dining experiences. The world has grown smaller and has introduced new food preparations and recipes to everyone interested.
Opting for the time of day when a person prefers to dine is varied. Some prefer early supper, and others prefer late evening dining.
Today’s well-rounded community offers to accommodate everyone in the community.
The answer to all residents choosing as individuals is to operate the dining room similarly to a restaurant. That is the way chefs face the challenges of culinary services.
Experienced chefs incorporate the assorted tastes of people in the community. They execute the daily mealtimes, including special event meals and holiday buffets. Residents’ families are invited to share the meals Mom or Dad enjoys each day.
Kind Dining® training series has long recognized and taught the importance of listening, building friendships, treating residents as individuals with dignity, respect, and kindness, and seeing the difference in one from the other to all employees.
Everyone on the entire food serving team, including the preparers in the kitchen and each one who comes from other departments to serve food or beverages, benefits from our Kind Dining® curriculum training series.
Hospitality and healthcare work together as the food-serving team does. Kind Dining encourages any company that wants to thrive and evolve, to invest in its employees by continuing education and creating a community of belonging to retain valued employees.
Be ♥ Kind Tip: Does your food serving team know older adults are not the same?
Imagine sitting in your room in a senior retirement living community.
You have survived the loneliness of isolation from the Covid-19 pandemic, but now it is over. Yet you are still lonely because you moved into this caring community just before the pandemic started, and you never had a chance to make friends.
Loneliness feeds on your immunity.
You only saw your food servers. How would you feel?
You’ve been relying on the kindness of your food serving team for conversation, and now you still depend on a kind word that will encourage you to sit at a stranger’s table in the dining room.
It isn’t easy if a person is naturally shy or doesn’t hear well and hesitates to ask a stranger if they may join them. Intentional kindness from a food server to make that approach easier by introducing a resident to a table is a small effort for the server, a major appreciation from the resident.
Social interaction is a defense against loneliness. It helps in your residents’ health. An assisted living community’s food serving team has the power to help your residents feel that they are welcome and are a part of your community instead of feeling abandoned.
Not everyone thinks to react to a situation with kindness. It isn’t that they are rude, just that they didn’t think of it.
When intentional kindness is added to the list of skills to learn and practice in training sessions, it will become the most natural thing to do in any needed situation. When kindness enters your psyche, it becomes a way of life that brings joy to the giver as much as to the receiver. Remember how you felt after you extended kindness to someone in the past and the delightful expression on their face afterward. Didn’t it fill you with pleasure?
Kind Dining♥ coaching and training curriculum has long impressed companies on the value of educated, multi-skilled, including intentional kindness and food serving teams. It is commonly understood that skilled staff remain with their company much longer than those without proper training.
Our training series is for your food serving team, both full and part-time, direct care workers, managers, and those you pull from other departments when you have insufficient food servers, as is happening now due to the pandemic.
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 one-on-one.
We teach personal and professional skills that improve the lives of your residents while improving the lives of those who serve them.
Be♥ Kind: Learning kindness as a skill becomes as natural as the sun rising in the morning.
“Well, now that you have been on the job, let’s see…6 months, what do you think?” Laura asked Susan, the newcomer to the senior living community food service team.
“Do you have an hour? I have lots to say for an answer.” Susan replied in a joking manner.
“I’m listening and curious.” Laura knew Susan came to the community soon after she graduated high school and had never been in the workforce.
“First of all, I thought having a job was all about getting a paycheck and how I could spend it. Wow! That is way down the list below of the things I didn’t know.
Our training sessions taught me important everyday ways of work that I never learned in my business course in school. The first up is working smarter with intention using the new skills I’m learning. I had no idea how much there was to serve a meal. It is so much more than I expected. I practice each new skill as shown to me so it will come naturally in time. Wow. Who knew?”
Laura grinned, encouraging her. “I still learn from our training meetings. It keeps my skills fresh, so I’m happy you appreciate them.”
“Oh, I do! My first day on the job serving meals made me aware of the difference between the older generation and the physical issues they have to contend with. At the same, I noted incidents I faced in high school, like bullying. Some elders are darlings that I loved immediately. I practice being extra kind, knowing they may struggle with something I don’t yet understand. But I’m committed and determined to help overcome loneliness and the complications of aging. I’m learning. It doesn’t always come naturally. My coworkers help and are kind to me too. They advise me when they notice I need it and include me so I feel like I belong even though I am the youngest and the new kid on the block.
“COVID hit my high school friends hard, though we are all technologically savvy,” Susan continued. “Knowing about isolation and knowing it is much harder for seniors is constantly on my mind when serving. I chat and ask questions to build a connection, as was taught in the training curriculum. I rely on that curriculum. It reminds me why I want kindness to be a way of life for me. Already, kindness comes naturally.”
Kind Dining ® curriculum is for all employees, not only the newly hired. Kindness is core to their training of skills necessary to be a community seniors choose as their home. It is a new way of life and a challenge for them, leaving behind a home that was familiar and dear to them.
Be ♥ Kind Tip: Kindness is core to learning basic skills.
What are the toughest problems older adults face in their communities today?
It isn’t the lack of a swimming pool or a 5-star restaurant.
Loneliness and isolation are at the top of the list. They are two challenges that became prevalent during the coronavirus pandemic and remain within many senior and assisted living communities.
The huge loss of family members and dear friends hangs heavily on elderly shoulders. But, these dilemmas can be met and reduced by training your food serving team and employees about kindness and friendliness.
Knowing how to approach older adults with these skills and adding care to that list is not a talent one is born with. It is a learned skill.
Once your team becomes aware of this resolution and practices being amiable, it can spread to include not only residents but also coworkers and administration. Needless to say, adopting these kindness-based skills will improve their personal lives outside of the working day.
Friendliness goes in hand with kindness. Adding these skills to your training and practice sessions is imperative.
The newly learned skills will set the ambiance in any dining room. It will create warmth to the table, reminiscent of the dining room in the home they left behind.
In turn, this improves their nutrition and becomes a connection of healthcare to hospitality, harmony, and happiness. All of these words lead to the word ‘care.’
It’s what is desired most in Long Term Care and assisted living communities. Allow your employees to care about their work, the residents they serve, the team they work with, and the company they work for. Let them commit. Once employees incorporate these assets from your training and discussion meetings, they will form a desired way of life.
Kind Dining® curriculum is uniquely designed to improve the lives of those working and living in senior and assisted care communities.
Hospitality is a universal language and core to skills necessary to your food serving staff.
Remember that your dining service is central to the success of your community. Kind Dining® training guides your food servers into being your company’s most valuable asset.
A few important facts to remember for now and the future are: mealtimes market your community, residents spend 60% of their day focused on mealtimes, investing in your employees is the effective path to culture change, the organization’s success, and kindness is a healthy habit.
Be ♥ Kind Tip: Remember that kindness is a healthy habit!