Do your food servers notice when a resident has lost her appetite?

Do your food servers notice when a resident has lost her appetite?

Elderly woman eats sitting at the table.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, approximately one-third of all older adults live solo. Many of these people are lonely, which can happen even when surrounded by others, as in a senior independent living community. Not all widows have the confidence to approach others to open conversations and make new friends. It isn’t easy for everyone to do.

It can be awkward for an older person, especially a woman, to enter a dining room alone. She may be fearful of asking to join a table and being rejected. This doesn’t apply to everyone, but enough to put up an alert flag.

Once the problem is recognized, it can be corrected. When you are educated, a trained food serving team, who sees the same resident daily, is aware of the dilemma, they can change an unhappy frame of mind to a confident, happy one by being social.

Training teaches your food servers how to open up conversations and introduce diners to others they know will be receptive. The recent pandemic affected many older adults who had busy lives with a circle of friends to share their thoughts and activities.

The pandemic ended with quarantines and the loss of their friends.  Computers and Facetime only helped to hold on a bit. 

When older people are living in social isolation, they often lose their appetite.

Losing weight brings declining health.

Stress and rising blood pressure follow loneliness to decrease their quality of life.

Your trained food serving team becomes a key factor when noticing plates of food not eaten and depletion of a response from the person they serve. They can reach out to build up the spirit of a resident by bringing good news, a little story to share, or just passing the time of day with a happy attitude.

One person on your food serving team can make a tremendous difference. Imagine what your entire team can do when they are educated to be alert to the dilemma.

Kind Dining♥ coaching series encourages empowering your staff with skills and tools to aid residents by connecting with them daily. This increases an engaged and purpose-driven staff and a resident population that is happier and healthier.

Providers investing time and energy will create career paths for all who participate, not just jobs to be tended to. Our excellent training series may influence younger staff and part-timers to consider staying in the senior care marketplace.

We teach how to combat loneliness with a support network of friends, family, and staff.

Opening conversations at mealtimes is a small item that plays an enormous role in social action that improves the lives of your residents and your food servers, too. 

Be♥ Kind: Taking notice of a resident’s downward change in attitude can alert a problem.

Does your community encourage leadership in your food servers? 

Does your community encourage leadership in your food servers? 

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.