Does your staff help new residents feel at home?

Does your staff help new residents feel at home?

Multi-Ethnic Group Of People Holding The Word Welcome

I am delighted when friends of mine, knowing my passion for my work, bring personal stories and feedback to me from the retirement and assisted living industry. This is another recent one that reinforces the importance of my beliefs in the training curriculum I’ve created.

She began to tell me, “I was enjoying my visit with Ellie as five of us sat around the lunch table chatting about the ups and downs of our lives. We were stunned and speechless when the newest and youngest addition to the group said, ‘I have a hard time believing this is my last home.’ All eyes were on her, and I’m afraid my mouth was wide open.

She appeared to be 65 and had only recently moved in when her husband entered the Alzheimer’s unit in the next building. She moved into a 3-bedroom apartment on the fifth floor.

Four of the others, now in their 70s and 80s, had lived here between 6 and 15 years. Ellie was now in her third year and loved it from the day she moved in.

One of the ladies, a quick thinker, said, ‘I remember thinking that when I first moved here. I left my friends behind, and my family wasn’t coming to see me daily. I knew no one.

That all changed with the help of our dynamite staff! They introduced me to others they thought I would fit with and went out of their way to chat in the hallways when we met. They also asked brief questions, which people ask when they get to know you. It didn’t take long before I was raising my hand in greeting. Of course, I have my favorites, just like I have favorite nieces and nephews. You’ll see. It will come.”

Another of the ladies followed up with: “I hope you noticed how friendly the staff is to all of us. If you aren’t standoffish, and I know you aren’t, they are the first to make you feel at home. When you know them by name and a little about them, they become what I call – your in-house family. Familiar. Like your favorite pair of comfortable shoes.” She laughed at her joke.

Ellie said, “We promptly became your friends when Sylvia brought you to our table. She knew instinctively to bring you to us. Soon you will find more. Plus, when you fall into the routines and join the activities you like, you will feel more at ease. The staff will help you.”

Kind Dining® knows and teaches how the staff can be your community’s best asset. Using our training curriculum, they will learn how to incorporate small acts of kindness into their daily routine. One of those kindnesses is helping a new resident feel at home.

Be ♥ Kind Tip: It is easy to feel at home when surrounded by friends at the dining table.

Is your staff aware of the importance of social interaction?

Is your staff aware of the importance of social interaction?


Senior woman in eyeglasses and her blonde daughter chatting by served festive table during family dinner

Joyce was talking on the phone with her long-time and long-distance friend David. He lives in the northeast, and she lives in the southeast in the same town as his mother. They grew up together, and though they married and had lived far apart, they always remained devoted friends by computer or telephone.

“I couldn’t keep flying down to check on Mom every month and worry the rest of the month about how she was handling being in a wheelchair at home. I was terrified she would tumble out of it and not be able to get up. Her friend Paula stopped in every week, but though I was grateful, Mom needed more supervision than that. 

I finally convinced Mom to come to live in an assisted living community near me. I now visit as often as I wish and feel much better knowing she is getting the attention she needs and deserves. And by the way, she loves it!

She had all the wrong ideas of what assisted living is in reality. There were too many old, out-worn ideas rolling around in her head. She knows better now, though.”

Joyce, who often volunteers to work with seniors who need help, replied with a question.  “What do you think has impacted her new life the most?”

“Believe it. She has become a social butterfly! She has met like-minded friends who share her passions, especially reading, word puzzles, cards, and board games. The computer was her only companion before. Her new group eats together nearly every day. 

Any signs of depression have disappeared completely. It always concerned me that she was alone too much before she came north. With the help of the dietitian, she has lost 40 lbs. in a healthy manner and can now walk short distances. Her arthritis seems to bother her much less, and her breathing has improved. One of her particular friends is a charming gent who is by her side often. ” David’s smile could be heard through the cell phone.

Surveys have revealed that the social environment benefits the lives of older adults. Socially sharing meals with neighbors with the same interests develops a support network. This aids in living a satisfied life. It creates the feeling of home in the assisted living community. 

Kind Dining® training curriculum teaches staff how to draw residents into the conversation, build the basis for relationships, and connect with residents. The knowledgeable staff knows active seniors will bypass depression by having sharper minds in friendship exchanges.

Elders who intellectually engage in mental stimulation with others lessen their risk of dementia. Daily or even weekly, sharing the comfort of the dining table provides necessary social interaction.


Be ♥ Kind Tip: Do your food servers use conversation to encourage elders? 

What makes your residents truly feel like they belong to your community?

What makes your residents truly feel like they belong to your community?

Senior Group Friends Exercise Relax Concept

Once the experience of moving into an Independent Living Community happens, the older person has found a place to belong, enjoy, and begin a new chapter in life. There comes a time to let younger families take care of house maintenance, repairs, and household responsibilities. It’s time for the elder of the family to step into the hustling, bustling center full of new friendships to form fresh opportunities and join in the day’s events.

Today’s independent and assisted living communities are designed to enhance people’s quality of life. A place where they happily belong. A typical day begins when the person chooses whether to sleep in or meet the ‘pre-breakfast club’ for coffee in the dining room, where they meet daily at the same table. There is always room for a “newbie.”  Afterward, some will stay for breakfast, and some will go to their rooms. The person serving the meal is a member of the food serving team and greets everyone with a smile. She knows who takes cream and sugar in their coffee and who drinks only tea while greeting each one by name. The group will discuss last night’s events and plans for the coming day. 

The residents realize that the server also belongs to this group because she loves her work, the community, and the company that hired and trained her. They invested in her by teaching them the skills needed to be an educated, competent, and a caring food-serving team member. She is a young woman who plans to remain with this community. She feels confident that she belongs here.

Kind Dining♥ curriculum coaches your staff in the skills necessary to connect personally with the residents they serve. These connections will reverse any feelings of loneliness left from the recent pandemic and create the confidence of belonging in your community. The easiest and most logical place to begin this is with meal times. It may take practice and reminders for your food-serving team to know personal connections are more important than a task waiting to be completed. Encourage your team to understand empathy and the aging process and how it affects older adults, to add kindness to their list of skills along with the basics of serving meals and beverages. Continue their lessons, practices, and discussions while instructing methods to show you care.  The more knowledgeable your food serving team is, the more the company can depend on them to love coming to work daily.

Be♥ Kind: Social skills when serving meals are more important than the basics.

6 Truths You Cannot Ignore!

6 Truths You Cannot Ignore!

Truth # 1 is a trumpet announcing that your dining room is the best marketing tool you have!

It’s the authentic showcase to the public, the foundation of social life in your community. It’s where your residents will break bread with their family and friends during visits. When they don’t have visitors, mealtimes are when they connect with the other residents to form friendships.

Family guests will carry their perceptions back to the office, to BBQs, and to committee meetings where they will boast, or not, where Mom is spending her days. Happiness; they want to tell everyone how happy Mom is. There is a way to secure these impressions are carried away from your community and in your favor.

The Kind Dining® way is to unite all the company working together as a top-notch team. The intent is to add management, kitchen, and ancillary staff working with the serving staff. Include the marketing department in your objectives to enact the culture change that is in demand today. Pride will abound when your residents begin responding to the consideration they deserve during all mealtimes.

A noticeable difference is made when community engagement, which includes all staff, understands and promotes socializing over meals. Incorporate your servers to wear nametags and to introduce themselves to your residents like the best restaurants do. Be sure that the print is large and bold enough for a senior to see easily. When your residents put a name to a face that is improving their daily life, your marketing soars to the top. This is a small step in your community marketing that brings in happy moments to work for you.

Parade Magazine and Random Acts of Kindness Foundation say that the year 2017 has been designated ‘The Kindness Year’.   Enjoy it. Promote it. Slide it into your marketing program. Your residents will love it and you, too.