Have your food servers mastered the skills of adapting to change with fortitude, patience, and kindness?

Have your food servers mastered the skills of adapting to change with fortitude, patience, and kindness?

Beautifully decorated Thanksgiving table with thank you card next to place sittingEven in these hard times of pandemic, we have much to be thankful for in our senior living community. We have been fortunate to learn quickly how to protect our environment, residents, staff, and have learned ways of social distancing in everyday activities.  Incorporating virtual technology into our daily lives has kept residents from loneliness, kept all of us in touch with each other, including families and friends who cannot enter our premises. We combat the coronavirus by following safety rules.

The food servers in our communities have always been essential to healthy living by their service, caring, attitude, and the responsibilities they accept.  Older residents have lived long lives, have endured the pitfalls of life, and survived. They are the first to know that this pandemic will also pass. Hopefully, it will make our communities stronger and wiser in the service they provide.

Beginning the holiday season with Thanksgiving Day, it is ideal for your food serving team to be aware of holiday blues, sadness, or unusual irritability that may be sneaking up on a resident. Often a loss of appetite is an indication of a problem pending and one that food servers can take note of.  It is easier for your food serving team to notice a tentative problem when they are familiar with the residents they serve. They can also notice personal appearance and mental attitude.  Your chef’s selections can make a difference by creating a healthy appetite during the holidays.  An old Irish proverb:  Laughter is brightest where food is best.

Memories are a big part of the holidays and are connected to food. Preparing the special requests of favorite or traditional foods will help to keep residents cheerful. Those who are new to living in the community may need someone to listen to them reminisce a bit. Food servers may encourage them in their conversation to form new traditions and remind them that these times will not last forever.

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.  New challenges in community living have essential, loyal, and faithful food servers learning how to combine hospitality with healthcare using kindness and compassion. They master the skills of food service at a time when they must adapt to change with fortitude, patience, and kindness.

B Kind® Tip: “Clean plates don’t lie.” — Dan Barber

Have your food servers mastered the skills of adapting to change with fortitude, patience, and kindness?

Does Thanksgiving Day bring fond memories to your food servers?

Beautifully decorated Thanksgiving table with thank you card next to place sitting“As soon as the trees begin to turn into a glorious canvas of autumn colors, I begin to think of Thanksgiving Day. I mean this year’s Thanksgiving Day to come, based on all the previous ones I remember. I love that Day and think it is my favorite holiday of the year because it is all about gathering around the table with friends, family, and a stranger or two, sharing hospitality.”

A  friend said this to me recently reminding me of the learning about hospitality I received at each of my own Thanksgiving Days growing up. I carried that learning into my career when I started in the restaurant industry, where a passion developed for customer service, hospitality, and good food. I continued further by becoming a food service director in a primitive residential camp in a remote area of Alaska. That particular position taught me how people rely on food to bring them a sense of contentment when they are in an unfamiliar setting. That is what elders face when coming into a senior living community new to them and stepping into the dining room those first few times.

Emotion sits at the table along with aroma, appearance, and companionship. When I left the primitive camp position, I fulfilled my youthful dream of owning my own restaurant, and became an operating partner who gained a ton of experience in our two restaurants in Juneau. After leaving the restaurant business and moving to Oregon, I became a dietary manager in a large nursing home. That is where I changed the way I looked at food service, differently, and forever. I was called on to do much more outside my job description, to meet each resident personally, and work on equal footing with all co-workers from all departments. I was committed. A seed planted grew into a large tree that eventually became my Higher Standards version of hospitality to the elder care marketplace. I knew I could make an important difference in communities serving
senior citizens.

I gained much more experience and education in those years. My passion continued to grow.

Kind Dining® curriculum was born using hospitality as the foundation and civility as the tone. Hospitality and civility go hand in hand as a universal language that treats others with kindness, love, and generosity. Kind Dining® is a hands-on training session where I teach that food needs to be served, not just dispensed and where food servers benefit by learning the right skills. It’s best to learn by doing rather than trying to learn by words only.

Our B Kind ® Tip: Remember, happy diners make happy residents who will recommend your
senior living community.