Do you read the latest research on the Business of Aging Services?

Do you read the latest research on the Business of Aging Services?

Picture of an open book with a glasses on top of it

 

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 employees stay with your community?

Do your employees stay with your community?

Higher retention image with a man in a suit

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.

 

Does your staff notice lonely residents in your community?

Does your staff notice lonely residents in your community?

elder lady sitting on a bench outside alone

“Whenever I am filling out forms and asked if I live alone, I always fill in the blank space with ‘Yes’, and somewhere near it, I write ‘by choice’. The form taker always asks what I mean. I explain that I like to be alone. It is solitude after years of too many people around me. To be alone does not mean that one is lonely. Too often, people confuse that fact. I am a people person who loves solitude. When I need companionship, I know where and who to go visit.”

A friend was repeating the conversation about an application form she received with that comment on it. Since it struck her as unusual, she brought it to the attention of a colleague for discussion.

Loneliness has been a severe problem everywhere during the pandemic but has eased up some since the waning of isolation restrictions. For some older adults, loneliness comes from losing friends and/or family to the coronavirus.

Loneliness is devastating. It lowers the resistance of immunity to illness, declines cognitive ability, and increases high blood pressure, heart disease, and obesity. It is known to increase depression. It attacks the physical, mental, and emotional health.

Loneliness remains a problem in many senior living and assisted living communities. It is a target for employees of those communities to notice and help eradicate it.

Employees who have benefitted from excellent training practices extend friendliness to all residents and coworkers. Though, it calls for more effort than a friendly ‘hello’. Show sincere interest in a lonely resident and maintain a running conversation with them. It helps. Encourage them to partake in activities you describe as lively and amusing. Introducing them directly to other residents you know will extend kindness and caring.

Social isolation crept into all aspects of senior living and LTC communities.

The training and practice meetings share examples of dissolving loneliness when spotted. This also refers to coworkers. They, too, were affected by the devastation the pandemic left behind.

Cultivate and seek social connections during your work day. Friendships are a cure for loneliness. Cross-generational interactions are excellent for defraying feelings of being unnoticed or unwanted. Social connections are key factors in warding off depression and dementia.

Kind Dining ® curriculum was designed because we care. We believe developing and expanding the skills of your staff are signs that the organization is investing in them. This investment works to reduce the epidemic of loneliness, isolation, and feelings of not truly belonging. The training and practice instill compassion and provide a true quality of life for your residents.

Be ♥ Kind Tip: Loneliness attacks physical, mental, and emotional health.

Do your food servers treat every resident the same?

Do your food servers treat every resident the same?

Person helps people join and solve bridge puzzle

Some of the best information comes to me from friends overhearing conversations at lunchtime in restaurants.

This conversation came to me from a friend:

“When are they going to understand that I am not my grandmother? I am their grandmother. I am different and experience life differently. They cannot assume I will think like others my age just because I am that age. I still think for myself and make my own choices. That is important to me.  It was my choice to relocate my home base to a Senior Living Community because I am independent and demand I am treated so by everyone, family, friend, colleague, and staff member.”

Her dining companion quickly replied, “Which, by the way, I have introduced politeness and kindness to a food server recently. I reminded her of that very same idea. I am to be treated with respect and friendliness, and then we will get along just fine. I reminded her that the white hair on my head was not an indication of a grey brain. I’m still an individual, thinking my way. We may enjoy some interesting conversations ahead of us. She seems intelligent enough, just was not taught good manners.”

Both staff and residents have experienced incivility in their daily routines. Not all elderly people are the same, a fact that needs to be recognized by food serving staff. Life in senior communities does not need to suffer these awkward moments when a resident corrects the poor manners of a food server which may cause feelings of resentment. Training teaches how vital the dining experience is to every resident and each food server, including caregiving staff. When performed correctly and with joy, mealtimes are appreciated by all.  It is an uplifting happening.

My hospitality background set the tone for the Kind Dining® training curriculum. It introduces interpersonal and technical skills that improve our communities and help to build relationships. The inclusion of staff serving meals,  from all departments, in this training is vital. We also address emotional control tools and help your food serving team to become more engaged in self-improvement on their way to becoming highly valued employees by the company.

Kind Dining® training series shows commitment to helping those who want to succeed, discover a new sense of belonging and a meaning for their work, and feel passionate about their work.

Learn how Kind Dining® training can transform the dining experience in your community here.

Be ♥ Kind Tip: Older people in your community do not have the same expectations.

Does your food serving team bring holiday cheer along with the meals?

Does your food serving team bring holiday cheer along with the meals?

Family dinner. Family receives guests, a festive meeting. family serves table and communicates with each other. Parents children and grandchildren in the house, cake on table.

It’s a Wonderful Life, Miracle on 34th Street, A Christmas Carol, Little Women, and Rudolph, the Red Nosed Reindeer are a few from a long list of stories of Christmas where kindness wins the day. Winter Holidays, no matter which one you celebrate, are a time for generosity, thoughtfulness, and kindness . The holiday season can be exceptionally difficult for older adults spending their first year in an independent living or assisted living community. They have chosen your community to call home but may be missing many of their family and friends lost in the recent pandemic. They may be yearning for past, happy memories and traditions that will never be experienced by them in the same way again. 

This holiday season is a time for your food serving team to go the extra mile to fill in those lonely, melancholy moments. While they have been practicing their social skills with residents, now is a good time to ask about those memories and traditions. Holidays are all about food. Gathering around the warmth of a dining table to share those foods that were special to their memories is still a way to bring happiness to your residents. It’s also perfect timing for serving particular foods that were enjoyed. Food servers can gain and carry the information and recipes back to the chef to include them on the menu. 

In conversation, food servers can also encourage their residents to expand their sense of culture and start new traditions by tasting the Christmas specialties of friends they have met. Perhaps your food serving team can suggest sharing traditions of others such as watch a holiday movie, enjoy a sing-along, start a story meeting where each person tells their stories of Christmases past. The key is for your food serving team to have compassion with residents, to understand they may be suffering silently. Asking a person to tell her/his story is an easy way to start a chit chat. Perhaps Christmas themed aprons can be worn by your food servers to spread the jolly Christmas spirit.

Kind Dining® training curriculum leads the way for your food serving team to create great relationships with those they serve while building their own skills and self-confidence. It’s easier to love your job when you know you are good at what you do, that you bring holiday cheer along with the meals you serve. It is a proven turnkey curriculum for communities that realize resident-centered care is a priority that benefits the company. Kind Dining® coaching is designed uniquely for staff who, directly or indirectly, serve meals. The interactive courses inspire your serving teams to weave hospitality with healthcare, to converse with residents, and to care.

Be ♥ Kind Tip: The holiday season is a time for your food serving team to go the extra mile.

Does your staff create the sense of belonging in your community?

Does your staff create the sense of belonging in your community?

Diverse seniors in a community

Stories come to me from all directions. As soon as my career choice is known, someone has a story for me. This one came from the laundromat while the woman’s dryer at home was being repaired or replaced.

“My mother-in-law is way ahead of us. She announced last week that she has researched senior living communities and has chosen one for herself. She is selling her house and moving.”

 

“Oh, my!” came the reply of her companion. “I’ve never heard of that happening.”

“She said it is like going on a permanent vacation, and she deserves it. Further, she has lunch with a friend in the community she chose and received first-hand recommendations, like what to look for and what is most important. She has chosen her friend’s community.”

“Tell me more. I want to relay the information to my mother, who has been living solo since my father died four years ago. I’m concerned with her lack of luster since the pandemic. Maybe a senior independent living community is the answer.”

She continued to say that, surprisingly, it wasn’t the fancy trimmings that made the decision easy; it was the people who worked there. The staff, as she called them. First, they made her feel welcome as she came in the door. One young woman took the time to chat with her, and later after touring the grounds and common rooms with her friend, they stayed for lunch. She knew the food being served was especially important. The young woman, who met her when she came in, waited for their table and remembered speaking to her when she arrived! She was so impressed! She knew at that moment she belonged there.

It was obvious that the young woman who met the mother-in-law at the door was educated to respond with a pleasant greeting to any visitor. Following up by recognizing her when she served the meal was the result of training, loving the work you do, and being a part of a team who shares the same goals.

Kind Dining♥ continuing training series creates a culture of belonging, of working as a unified team. The knowledge gained in training sessions benefits the staff by giving them the incentive to stay, to work with intention, and to have the confidence to extend that sense of belonging to the residents.  They get to work with a company that values them.

We are proud to announce that Kind Dining® is now approved for 11 Continuing Professional Education credits for RDNs, & NDTRs, as well as CDMs.  CPEs 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. The CPEs for Certified Dietary Managers are from the Certifying Board of Dietary Managers (CBDM), the credentialing agency for the Association of Nutrition and Foodservice Professionals.

Be♥ Kind: Skills gained in training sessions benefit the staff, giving them the incentive to stay.

Does your food serving team still find value in the work they do?

Does your food serving team still find value in the work they do?

Beautiful young blonde woman wearing waitress apron holding breakfast tray skeptic and nervous, frowning upset because of problem. negative person.

Changing how you look at something changes your whole perspective. That is a key phrase to removing burnout from your long-term care and senior independent living community workforce.

From grocery stores to art galleries, changing your product around gives your shoppers a new way of looking at what you have to offer. It freshens the atmosphere. Flexibility in work schedules and routines will do the same for your food serving teams, including everyone who participates in bringing food and beverages to your residents. Most importantly, it prevents burn-out, reduces sick-day absences, and promotes good health. Allowing flexibility in schedules shows your employees that the company cares enough to improve their working hours.  Service providers tend to be exposed to emotional and physical demands during their long hours, which creates stress. This high-pressure environment leads to burnout. 

Good training and scheduled discussion meetings are resources needed to manage these chronic stressors and exhaustion that spread low morale. Employees with burnout compromise the quality of care residents receive in your community and damage your community’s reputation. Keeping your staff fit, energetic, and uplifting affects your residents, keeping them happier and healthier. Also, think of the costs saved by preventing a problem instead of the expensive cost of hiring new ones. Open communication with management includes clarifying what duties are expected of each individual. This helps to solidify working relationships that ease an already tight labor market. 

It is promising to know that burnout can be avoided by learning how to work smarter with intention. Kind Dining♥ training series encourages practicing newly learned skills that give confidence to all staff who participate, not just your food serving team. They will continue to find value in their work performance and build a better self-image. Your team will learn to manage their behavior and accountability while improving their mental health. You want your residents to enjoy top-quality experiences every day. Your highly trained staff plays a major part in that experience.

Our  Kind Dining♥ online and on-demand training series consists of 9 service training modules divided into 3 sections. The Foundations of Service, The Nuts and Bolts of Service, and Maintaining Service are happy and proud to announce the series is now approved for 11 Continuing Education Units for RDNs, & NDTRs from the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR). Please consider attending one of our monthly complimentary Taste of Kind Dining Showcases to see Module 1 of the series. Contact Cindy directly atcindy@higherstandards.org.

Be♥ Kind: Do you know body language extends communication beyond mere words?