Image of Southwest Airlines plane

Do You Practice Creative Kindness?

Not long ago, during a Southwest flight from Portland, Oregon to Chicago, Illinois, I sang “Happy Birthday” to a woman named Linda.  Thing is, I have never met Linda. Here’s how that happened: In a moment of mystery, the flight attendant requested all passengers at window seats to please close their window shades. She then asked everyone to press the … Continue reading

Budget Friendly Table Tip

You’ll never guess where we found this darling table decor project! DollarTree. That’s right, the store where everything is $1. Turns out they have a website full of decor ideas. Go to, then navigate to Party Supplies/Wedding Ideas. You’ll arrive on a page full project plans. If you see something you like, you can download free instructions that include … Continue reading

Ask Before Clearing

Have you ever had someone try to remove your plate from the table before you were ready? How did that feel? Like you were being rushed to leave? As if you didn’t have any say over your own dinner plate? Embarrassing when you protested? Residents also have some or all of these feelings when their plates are whisked away unexpectedly. … Continue reading

Finding Common Ground

Is your senior living community missing a key team-building tool? Working in senior care is both hugely rewarding and immensely difficult. Most of us genuinely care about the residents we serve and find it deeply satisfying to provide them with excellent service. But, workloads are heavy, there are complex emotions to deal with nearly every day, and it is difficult … Continue reading

If You Care About Residents Stop Dumping on the Food

During my presentation Setting the Meal: Delivering mealtime service that exceeds expectations, I teach a free, easy way to improve perceptions about food in senior living communities: Make sure no one talks negatively about the food in front of residents. During a break at the ANFP conference in Seattle earlier this month, a corporate dietitian from the audience told me … Continue reading

Mind the Details in the Dining Room

Can you spot what is wrong with this picture? Take a close look; you can enlarge it by clicking on it. This server is doing a lot of things right. Her hair and clothes are tidy, her work area is clean, she is making eye contact, and she has a warm, welcoming smile. But notice her right hand–she’s touching a … Continue reading

Spring Forward Centerpiece

After the winter we’ve had, it’s time for a mood lifter on the dining room tables. Don’t wait for the ground to thaw, get started on spring planting right now. Growing potted bulbs at the table will allow everyone to participate in the joy of watching flowers sprout and bloom. Involve the entire community by inviting everyone to help plant the … Continue reading

How to Give Yourself a Promotion Right Now

Wish you were part of the leadership team? You can start today. Who is on the leadership team in your senior living community? The administrator, certainly. The department managers and team leads. Who else? Are you? When most people answer that question they assume leadership comes with a certain job title. “I’m not a manager,” they might say to themselves, … Continue reading

It’a All About the Aides

Howard Gleckman, author of Caring for Our Parents recently made an important point on his blog recently: When shopping for assisted living, it’s all about the aides. “Forget about the wood paneling, and fresh flowers in the lobby,” he says, “watch the interaction between staff and residents.” He’s right. The biggest indicator of satisfaction with a senior care community is … Continue reading