Do you remember the first compliment you received?

Remember when you were a little kid going to school and the teacher responded to your raised hand when you knew the answer? A friend was telling me about her memory.

“I was learning to read in first grade. I raised my hand to read a sentence and my teacher, Mrs. Smith called on me by name. She took time to boost my self-esteem by easing me out of my shyness. She made me feel special by paying attention to me. Sometimes she would remark about my work or my hair, something personal. I’ll always remember her for it and it has been many decades ago. It gave me courage to speak out unafraid. There was always a nice comment written on my report card, too. Mom and Dad were delighted to read that. Of course, as I look back, I realize now what I didn’t realize then, that she made each one of us feel special.”

Remembering how you felt and responded to a kindness, even from as long ago as your young childhood can be turned into a guideline in present day food serving techniques. What made you feel special long ago will bring the same results with the seniors in your community dining room.

Memories are wonderful moments to call on when wanting to nurture the seniors your food servers attend at mealtimes. Be sincere. Encourage your staff to find just one little item about a senior that they can honestly compliment on. Advise them to watch the power of their words work. If the senior pays the compliment forward it could turn viral and you’ll have a full dining room of joyful, smiling seniors. The end result lifts the compliment giver’s spirit, too. They will feel happier, raising their own self esteem. Kind Dining® coaching helps your dining room staff to come by these techniques and incorporate them into their daily routines so they become as natural to them as breathing.

Paying personal attention to a senior at mealtime is a small matter that carries a long way. If the person is shy, it will give confidence and build trust between you. A small act of kindness will change a bad mood. Just being recognized will change your diner’s thoughts to positive ones. You may have just pulled a resident out of a depression, or at least brightened her way. It’s known that receiving a compliment ignites creativity and sometimes unblocks a thinking process. A compliment can bring on a smile which may turn into laughter and we all know that laughter burns calories?

Our B Kind ® Tip: Happiness is contagious.

About Cindy Heilman

Cindy Heilman MS, DTR: Cindy Heilman has over 25 years of experience in enhancing hospitality, and food service standards. She is the CEO of her own company, Higher Standards LLC, and creator of Kind Dining® Training. Her unique background in restaurant ownership, in hospitality and healthcare food service, in working as a Dietetic Technician Registered and Healthcare Specialist at SYSCO Foodservices, led her to the development of her exclusive program that improves relationships and lives of aging residents through the dining experience.

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