Are mealtimes still the focus of your resident’s day?

Kind Dining® has always stressed the importance of mealtimes in the community dining room. Now that residents have been restricted from coming into the dining room for meals it is more important than ever for food serving teams to take up the social aspect of mealtime. Take at least a  minute, or so to talk with each resident served. Ask if everything for the meal is on the tray. Chat for a moment. Ask, “How are you today?” Listen to the answer. Show that you care more than just bringing in a tray of food. After you have delivered to the next resident, stop back to your last room served and ask if all that was needed was on the tray.  

Surveys report that residents spend a good portion of their day preparing for mealtimes for social exchange. It is essential for food servers to fill a small portion of social interaction at mealtimes now that the community dining rooms are closed. Even brief comments will help the resident feel like they have not been forgotten but are still connected. You are their link to what is the latest happening in their community. Keep your conversation pleasant and promising. Remember that your personal appearance speaks for you and the community. Don’t let the current COVID-19 situation fluster you. Allow reassuring words to pepper your conversation. Residents will pick up your sensibility. Stay clean and neat. It represents a calm environment. Be polite and courteous. Tell your residents that all is well within the community. Kind Dining® training is available to help your food serving team to learn quickly how to lead in this time of pressure and need.

Your food servers set the ambiance for your residents. Let them know their value, the company, and the community’s appreciation. Demonstrate extra kindness to all your food servers for the excellent job they are doing just by coming to work. Notice and support their sense of serenity. Mealtimes have been the social highlight of the day for residents. Now they are even more dependent on their food servers. Show compassion and give special attention to those who are in their rooms by themselves and those who do not have access to the internet for staying connected socially.

Our B Kind® Tip:  You have the power to make today’s meal more special than usual.

About Cindy Heilman

Cindy is the founder and owner of Kind Dining®, which she began in 2006. She’s traveled across the country and Canada working with and training senior living communities that want to create an exceptional dining experience for their residents and staff. In addition, she certifies select professionals in her Kind Dining® philosophy and provides tools, now in an eLearning format, that make learning stick and help people put insights into action. As a result of her work, clients often share their staff has a new sense of purpose, get along better and keep their focus and energy on what matters most. In fact, she wrote a book, Hospitality for Boomers on how to attract residents and keep good team members. In her free time, she enjoys walking Oregon trails and cheering on her favorite soccer teams, the Portland Thorns and Timbers.

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