Are you aware of how hugely different retirement living is today?

Recently on an online program about reframing aging, the first male guest speaker stated that a retirement home is the last place you would want to put Mom! Ack! This man has been out of touch with today’s retirement and long-term care communities! He hasn’t been cooking three meals a day for the family for the last 40 years or packing school lunches for 30 years. Doesn’t Mom deserve to have her meals served to her for a pleasant change? Has she not earned the right to share meals with friends around the table in the dining room, meals that she wasn’t required to prepare and clean up afterward, meals that are served to her by well-trained servers who care about her enough to combine hospitality and healthcare seamlessly?

The uninformed guest speaker must not use his computer or spend enough time visiting communities, which educates us to keep up with the major changes that have taken place in the senior living marketplace, especially in the dining environment. The state and federal guidelines ensure meaningful choices, food available throughout the day if necessary to a particular resident’s meal preference or dietary requirement, and even encourage meal plans written by dietetic professionals often incorporating fresh foods from community gardens and healthy food choices and designed to boost brain health. These plan options in most plant-based foods help protect cells while staving off harmful inflammations and oxidation. Regulations address the communication and coordination of all staff serving residents to be knowledgeable regarding the residents’ dietary and dining preferences. Ongoing surveys, now being conducted in digital to keep information current, are accessible. They reveal the residents’ opinions, which are vital to the community’s desire to offer quality care and service to those who have chosen their community as a home. Comparing and contrasting what communities offer is necessary due diligence.

Retirement living is not limited to members of the family who can no longer take care of themselves. They are a choice of living care-free or maintaining homes that drain their life savings when those funds could be used for enjoyable days of meeting new friends, sharing activities, day trips, and healthy meals created and served especially for them. Multiple generations are now taking advantage of very different senior years. Today’s senior care community chefs are coming from 4 and 5-star restaurants and taking up the challenge of creating interesting daily menus and preparing healthy meals that residents anticipate.

Kind Dining♥ training courses teach everyone on food service and dining service teams who herald from all departments,  including those who serve part-time, to be a member of a winning team by learning to work together, respect one another, treat their residents with the greatest empathy and respect, while treating each other with the same caring respect of a teammate.

B♥ Kind Tip: Read recent surveys to know if your food service is superior. 

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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