Do your community supervisors continue to read research on how to secure and keep healthy employees?
Do they know why it is necessary to have healthy employees and how it benefits your residents and your community?
Do they know the benefits of teamwork?
Research results reveal that employees who work together as a team show better communication skills with residents as well as with their teammates. When they share the same goals with staff members on their team, they are impacted with a sense of respect and are apt to perform their duties with a lighter step. This especially refers to employees in a minority, whether gender, race, or age.
A team member will feel accepted and know they will be treated as fairly as their teammates. They also are reassured that they will not suffer any kind of harassment. This affects health and creates decisions to stay on the job.
A healthy employee seeks to improve their performance, will have the patience to be kinder, and gentler, and will create positive relationships with both their coworkers and the residents.
Kind Dining® encourages practicing teamwork relationships, ideas, and sharing opinions, to strengthen new, team-building habits.
Occupational friendships with teammates convey a sense of belonging that works on behalf of an employee’s health. It’s a small kindness, to extend a hand or smile, that creates a huge response.
Kind Dining® training sessions teach that learning and practicing together promotes team culture.
The presentation and serving of meals are a complex choreography. Teammates learn to have each other’s back when someone falters. This builds trust and a winning team.
My research has proven that building meaningful relationships helps aging services communities attract residents, retain staff, and create a community where your employees and your residents feel like they belong in this very place. By mastering the fundamentals of attention, respect, and kindness, you too can improve the experience of everyone in your community.
Kind Dining® is approved for 11 Continuing Education Units for RDNs, & NDTRs. CEUs are from the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR), the credentialing agency for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. This includes 1 Ethics unit for the entire series.
For CDMs, CEUs are from the Certifying Board of Dietary Managers (CBDM). 9 General, 1 Sanitation, 1 Ethics.
Why does the brain like learning?
It’s freeing the cognitive capacity so it can seek out new information and learn. To keep our brain in tip-top shape, it needs exercise. And learning something new is the best workout we can provide. Habits and routines follow neural pathways that are well-developed and etched deep into our brains. – Jan 21, 2022
Click here to learn more at the National Library of Medicine.
Be ♥ Kind: Build meaningful, occupational relationships to attract residents, retain staff, and create a winning community.
Do your residents ever make a complaint or suggest the food service?
Do you take the time to listen? Or do you try to change their mind before they even finish saying what they have on their mind?
It costs absolutely nothing to pause, stop what you are doing, look them in the eye, and listen.
Whatever you were doing can wait a minute or two. It can. But it could cost a great deal if your resident doesn’t get the satisfaction that their thoughts are important to you (and the company) if you don’t. You don’t want to have a resident move to a different community because they feel invisible to you.
Residents must feel they are valued, and their opinions are valued by you and your company.
You also don’t have to agree with what they are saying. You do have to acknowledge their comments. You can sympathize with them, offer to carry their thoughts to someone who can help, and you can certainly thank them for telling you.
They must have confidence in you, or they would have gone to someone else.
Think about that. It is building relationships by way of communication and a responsibility that is part of your training in the culture of person-centered care. Let your elders know that they matter to you and your company. Your consideration will create a loyal resident, instill a sense of belonging, and show respect. It will also demonstrate the excellent training your company has provided for you.
Communication is at the heart of the culture change taking place in the business of Aging Services.
Determination and persistence in practice at training sessions pay off.
Cultural change in your community marries healthcare with hospitality.
Kind Dining® knows the results for a company that invests in every employee by supplying excellent training. Educated employees are more efficient, have positive attitudes, are prepared to take on responsibility, and know they are valued. Properly trained employees work as a team and are aware of rules and codes of conduct.
They are more likely to adhere to health codes, so you pass surprise inspections with flying colors. Everyone wins when employees have proper training and listening is part of that training.
Kind Dining® is approved for 11 Continuing Education Units for RDNs and NDTRs. CEUs are from the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR), the credential agency for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. This includes 1 Ethics unit for the entire series.
Be ♥ Kind Tip: Do you demonstrate your excellent training?
The two women were walking down the hallway heading towards the kitchen to begin their work shift at an independent living community. They just finished a segment of the training session and were discussing their opinions.
“First of all,” the older one said, “I never heard the term ‘soft skills’ and I certainly didn’t realize I had them. Timewise I’ve probably worked longer on our food serving team than most anyone else.
I learned early to adapt to the many changes made over the years. With my natural curiosity, I communicate easily with the residents, and as you know, with my coworkers.
I think my mom taught me about empathy and she always encouraged learning new skills.
I’m glad they taught those things in today’s training session. Many of our coworkers need to learn those skills. Some are downright stubborn and need to add these skills to their toolbox.
I love my job, always have, right from the beginning, so learning new ways to work has always excited me.”
“Well, I thank you for taking me under your wing and guiding me when I needed it,” replied the younger woman, obviously newly hired.
“I’m also really delighted with this Kind Dining® training module number 3 because, like you, I love learning new ways to work.
I plan to stay in this community, so I want to be a top-notch team player. You make yourself available to talk with me about our work. I enjoy that and discussing what we just learned helps me even more. I appreciate that.”
One person can make a difference.
It’s called the Power of One and it often begins with helping a change of attitude, to encourage learning new ways that change a person’s life and changes the life around them, all for the better.
Discussion after learning sessions brings what they were taught to a personal level and embeds the information like a file cabinet where the content can be brought out and used again and again. What was learned becomes second nature; building confidence.
Kind Dining® curriculum was created to change lives for the better.
Our training is an opportunity to introduce new skills, but more importantly, it’s a way to reshape thinking that will transform the lives of your employees.
Your food serving team will take note of the residents’ increased satisfaction as they receive small acts of consideration, Such as starting a meal with a smile from your server. Add pleasant chitchat and watch the residents at the table light up. It’s good to be recognized. The goal is to make your community a great place to live and a great place to work! Life is good.
Be ♥ Kind Tip: Encourage learning new ways to work, it changes the life around them.
Do you know what the most successful companies look for in an applicant when hiring?
They seek a person with the combination of skills that enable a person to learn, relearn, and relearn again.
We know how rapidly changes are happening in our long-term care communities. Our industry has been experiencing major changes and upgrading of services.
People with EQ (emotional quotient or intelligence) can easily learn the changes necessary to keep their community reputation far above their competition. Those people understand, empathize, and conquer unexpected and distressing situations that arise in the kitchen, dining room, or anywhere in the community.
Building strong workplace relationships comes naturally to those with emotional intelligence as they turn intention into performance with the ability to command perceptive decisions.
The EQ skills that Kind Dining® training sessions have been teaching include self-management, which is controlling your emotions in healthy ways by adapting to changes in work responsibilities and taking initiative.
We’ve been training in the skills of empathy, active listening, social interaction, and group dynamics. Relationships, including how to build bonding relationships to inspire and create a team that works together are stressed in our training.
In our training of skills, we teach how your emotions affect your thoughts, and behavior and how to build self-confidence. If you cannot control your stress it can lead to serious physical health problems high blood pressure, a reduced immune system, and an increase in earlier aging.
As a long-term care provider, you want your community to be the leader in your industry, surpassing any competition. Your employees can do that with the training of these skills that benefit your residents, your community, and your employees themselves.
We have returned to ask healthcare providers their thoughts on what advantages they gained from our training.
Working better as a team and improved communication with both coworkers and residents stood out among others in their answers. After completing the training curriculum, the learners thought and acted differently!
Nearly all agreed with this statement: Kind Dining has helped me to understand my role and the importance of teamwork to enhance dining and nutrition for residents in my care center.
Yes, hospitality and healthcare go hand in hand.
Kind Dining® training sessions were designed for all employees who serve meals or beverages, including nursing and wellness teams, housekeeping departments, recreation staff, and managers.
Food servers that learn the skills of emotional quotient are a powerful asset to the company. When they perform with self-confidence from the skills Kind Dining® teaches, they provide quality service. Sessions are now available online.
A retired friend told me recently how she made an excellent living in the old days, by being a waitperson during the years of raising a family.
“I was good at it. My aunt trained me,” she said. “I was pleasant and paid close attention to my customers’ tables without obviously staring at them. With my ‘regulars,’ I remembered what their preferences were. That impressed them. I pampered them without fussing and I was thoughtful and kind.
It was just a matter of good manners carried a little further. It works very well. I was more than civil to my coworkers and often stepped in to help when it was needed. We all wanted to get the food to the table while it was still hot. Of course, in return, they responded with the same kindness. I loved my customers, my work, the wait staff, and the results it brought.”
When any query is raised about improving work performance, training, and education are always at the top of the list. It’s unfortunate, but not everyone was raised with good manners and showed consideration for others.
In communities, serving older adults it is imperative to display those fine qualities along with the professional skills learned for fulfilling your responsibility. Residents receiving physical help are in dire need of kindness and consideration.
Coworkers who are sometimes overworked and may have personal problems of their own running around in their heads, also appreciate a helping hand from another teammate. That kind of relationship with a coworker builds commitment to the job and the community.
A few minutes of chit-chat creates cultural conditioning, shows respect, and establishes trust between coworkers. These may seem like small doings but they are important social skills that make a better environment. Employees stay on the job when they are content with their working relationships.
Kind Dining® training curriculum has impressed companies with the value of educated, multi-skilled, kind, and civil employees.
It is commonly understood that well-trained employees, confident in their work, remain on the job much longer than those without proper training. Our online courses are for your full and part-time, direct care workers, and managers.
Our training sessions are experiential. We train by using action, reflection, application, and performance.
All employees build empathy to respect the aging process by using kindness to connect with residents. They also learn to build solid, trusting relationships with their coworkers.
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: Help residents feel they made the right decision by moving into your community. Remember you are the face of the organization.
Finding a new approach to dining in Residential care communities while still keeping within the present budget has been introduced by trending chef leaders of creative community dining. Using fresh, local food supplies to serve on order ala restaurant-style dining is here and is doing well.
Creative menus offer wholesome foods that taste as good as the food looks and are healthier than the cafeteria-style and cooking from canned foods and steam tables.
Chefs are preparing foods with herbs and seasonings to replace unnecessary sodium that most seniors are avoiding for health reasons.
Mealtimes are the most popular events of the day for socializing at the table, meeting new neighbors, and sharing with friends. Residents reject loneliness and isolation when looking forward to mealtimes as a time to make plans and share stories.
Upcoming chefs are redesigning their kitchen work habits to accommodate new ways of cooking on order and serving fine dining meals. Establishing salad and casual snack bars replaces time-consuming efforts in the kitchen that can be used for other preparations.
Meetings encouraging the food serving team to offer their ideas and comments allow everyone to be part of the changes taking place. This inspires the food serving team to be more aware of the care they use in serving residents and will alert them to the importance of their work.
Creating new and better ways to serve meals is a time for unique opportunities for reviewing the work habits of every staff member who serves meals. Instilling a sense of pride in one’s work through meetings and discussions where each person on the food serving team has the freedom to be part of the transformation.
Kind Dining® training sessions are designed for all employees who lift a plate of food, or even deliver a beverage to a resident.
It includes full or part-timers, nursing and caregivers, housekeeping department staff, and department managers.
Your food serving team is a powerful asset to the company when they are giving quality service.
Employees are cross-trained in our fun, focused, practical skills and competency curriculum which teaches how each meal can be an enjoyable experience.
Kind Dining® developed virtual training instruction online workshops for easier access. The goal is to help food servers work better by working wisely, while still learning how to expand their knowledge in their work field.
“When my husband and I decided it was time to move to a senior living community, the first thing I said was, ‘I’m going to miss going out to restaurants to dine.’ Mrs. Long was talking with her friend about her and her husband’s plans.
“As seniors, after struggling financially in the early years of marriage, building careers, raising the family, doing without to save money for the kids’ colleges, we finally reached the level where we could eat out as often as we pleased. You know that is something I enjoy.
But I’m delighted that our senior living community has a chef-inspired menu. It’s like going to a restaurant and dining out every day. A bonus to that picture is we don’t need to be cautious about salt in our food. The kitchen is already aware of that hurdle.”
“What is chef-inspired food?” asked her friend.
“Well, it’s not the old way of cooking masses of food delivered in large cans and kept hot on steam tables where you have no choice, only to eat what they are serving that day.
It means creative menus with choices, fresh vegetables, and foods prepared with herbs and seasonings to bring out the flavor without using salt.
Our food is prepared when we order it, not hours earlier, and kept hot. It also means a plate set before you with beautifully arranged food to whet your appetite even if you aren’t hungry.
Again, it means going to a restaurant every day to dine on food that makes me feel at home. It means a meal we want when we want it. What is not to love about that!”
Kind Dining® training encourages members of the food serving team to offer new ideas and suggestions to consistently be aware of upgrading and improving meals for their residents.
It is vital that dining in the community matches the elegance of residents’ rooms, apartments, and the amenities of their community.
Residents who experience high-quality food service are overall contented and happy. Mealtimes are still the high points of the day.
Your residents must find the food to be fresh in all aspects. These dining hours are an opportunity to build the community’s reputation. Build on that thought and invest in your food serving teams for a higher return on each trained food server. Food servers include nursing/health services, care staff, housekeeping departments, and managers. Your food servers are powerful company assets.
Be ♥ Kind Tip: Remember that your food serving team is your company’s most valuable asset.
Is this a good time to look at your food service through the eyes of your customers as top-notch restaurateurs do?
Do you realize that your residents yearn for the same quality of food and service that their favorite restaurants gave them? Those are the restaurants, bistros, and trattorias they patronized before they made your community their home.
That kind of dining service is not out of reach. A food serving team that works together to improve the quality of mealtimes that residents look forward to every day.
An inspired chef can create interesting menus, bring in fresh foods, and design the kitchen to prepare food when ordered. The new way has overcome the old way of cooking early in the day and keeping it hot on steam tables until mealtime.
Still combining healthcare with hospitality, an inspired chef will use herbs and seasonings to replace the salt most seniors need to avoid. It will benefit their health while pleasing their palate.
Dining is their time to socialize, try new dishes with intoxicating flavors, and share stories with newly made or reacquainted long-time friends.
An inspired chef and food service team working together can create excitement at mealtimes and compliment the architecture and décor in your community that first attracted your residents to choose your home.
Your food serving team is a powerful tool for the company. The dining room’s quality of food and service is their most valued asset. Meals that are talked about with warmth, delight, and satisfaction carry more assurance than advertisements. Word-of-mouth is a strong advantage.
Kind Dining♥ training modules are now available online.
Our curriculum is comprised of 9 training modules divided into 3 sections.
We will help refresh the work habits of your long-term food servers, educate your newly hired food servers, and show your part-time food servers how to be part of the team.
A well-trained team helps your community stand out from others by having employees who learn to be dedicated to their work.
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.
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!
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.
Moving into a new home can be strange and difficult for anyone at any time.
Making your last move into a senior living community, knowing it is the last time you will change your residence, can be unsettling. This change in a new resident’s life can be scary, especially if they are stepping into a place where they know no one.
Your staff has the power to make new residents feel comfortable and at home with the many ways that the Kind Dining ® training curriculum prepares them for that very task.
Your food serving staff will immediately recognize new faces entering the dining room. Leading them to a table they know are friendly residents who will welcome newcomers and making introductions is a huge step in getting new folks settled in.
Offering a friendly greeting and a few words of welcome goes a long way with a person walking into a dining room with unfamiliar faces. It is a small kindness that has huge and happy results. It is also important to extend that friendliness when meeting new residents in the hallways.
Learn names and use them as often as possible. It helps people feel they belong when they hear their name spoken. Sharing a word or a pleasant greeting invites a person to respond kindly and increases their sense of security. It is the beginning of a conversation, and conversation leads to a feeling of ease, comfort, and familiarity.
Kind Dining® training educates your staff by giving them the knowledge to use in their daily actions of serving older adults.
It instills confidence they use to create a culture of belonging for new and all seniors in their community and develop that sense of belonging for themselves.
It develops the incentive to stay with a company that values them highly enough to invest in extended education, honing their skills, and the confidence in knowing the organization appreciates their work.
This confidence works and is a way to welcome new residents, to dissolve any feelings of isolation or the discomfort of moving into a new home.
Your staff can make people content knowing they chose the right senior living community to spend the last chapter of their lives.
Making new residents feel at home is the best possible bit of thoughtfulness they can do.
Kind Dining® training helps to reduce burn-out by helping people learn new skills, gain confidence, and value in what they do. They learn to manage their behavior and instill accountability.
Be ♥ Kind Tip: Your staff can help create the feeling of home for new residents.
Many friendships are formed and carried through long periods over the lunch/dinner table. ‘Let’s meet for lunch’ is a common phrase that indicates wanting to spend some time with a friend.
It’s nice to have lunch served to you but it’s the friendship that is the magnet. Even casual friendships are important to us. To share a meal with a friend, or potential friend, is a bonding moment. To hold business meetings over lunch forms friendships that break down barriers and continue to work long after the meal is finished and the table is cleared.
Forming friendships on the job is a vital part of having a smoother workday. We all know there are days when everything goes wrong.
Now picture going to that friend at work who is the very one to help you solve a problem and put you back on track. Friends who have been on the job years longer than you, can give you tips on how to do your work easier, with intention.
Sometimes a friend is like having an extra pair of hands. On the other hand, it is just as gratifying when you can be the friend to help your coworker. There is a particular feeling of attachment in your gut when you have extended yourself to help another.
There is a spring in your step as you prepare to go to work because you know you will see friends to greet you, exchange the latest news, and bring you up to date on any events.
Having kindness about you is beneficial when working in a senior or assisted living where you will be helping residents in one way or another. That same kind of attitude is an invitation to your coworkers for friendship. You all share the same work reality and that is powerful in forming friendships on the job.
It is easier to understand a dilemma that arises and discussing it is uncomplicated when you know you are all immersed in the same field. That also applies when you want to share happy news or accomplishments.
Who could better share the joy than someone who knows the situation? Your coworkers seek the same goals you do for the residents. When issues are shared it builds a better working relationship.
Unexpected friendships in the community create strength and a positive growth of self.
Kind Dining® training sessions open the doors for these friendships to form. Discussion and alliance as a team at work are encouraged.
Be ♥ Kind Tip: Friendships with coworkers create strength and a positive growth of self.
After an exchange of comments about friendships in today’s world, this true story came to me:
“UPS in my neck of the woods, otherwise called a neighborhood, many of us have formed an unusual friendship . . with the UPS driver! He is so friendly, considerate, and kind that even though we only know his first name, we all consider him a friend.
Many of us meet for lunch at the local café on Main Street in town. We learned that the UPS guy has lunch there every Friday. To show our appreciation, one of my group of friends occasionally pre-pays for his lunch. The lunch prices run fairly close so it is easy to just cover a general cost, including a tip. He never knows which one of us does it.
It is funny, whenever I see the brown UPS truck coming up a street I’m driving on, I wave. I have no idea if it is my delivery man or not. It doesn’t make any difference. I’ve never met a grouchy UPS delivery person wearing the familiar brown uniform, yet they always cheerfully wave back! I wonder if they are hired for their smile instead of physical capability.”
Friendships in senior and assisted living communities affect everyone touched by friendship without even realizing how. When a food serving team member brings a tray to a resident’s room, carrying a smile, a happy comment like ‘Guess what good news I have for you today’ or a question like ‘Tell me how you are doing today’ the server is inviting the resident to respond with a pleasant comment. The room becomes light-hearted. Encouragement is introduced and no one even notices what is happening. The server is guiding the resident to enjoy the experience. This is a casual, but powerful, friendship at work.
This exchange of casual friendship can grow into much more. There can be trading of conversation that uncovers the background of one or the other learning about a culture unfamiliar to them. This opens the mind to a wider scope. It also builds trust between residents and staff members as it builds respect, one for the other. It works.
Friendships between coworkers are also a step in building a stronger foundation for the company. Friends help and support each other making their lives better. In Kind Dining® training sessions, follow-up practices and discussions of friendships will reinforce the training sessions. Friends enjoy each other’s company and sharing their experiences both on and off the job is part of that friendship.
Be ♥ Kind Tip: Friendships on the job can change the way you look at your work.
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?