Do any of your residents still feel isolated now that the pandemic has faded?

Contemplative senior man looking into distance

One of the huge negatives left behind after the pandemic faded is isolation. So many residents who enjoyed the camaraderie of living in an independent living community still have that sense of being left out. Many elders didn’t have a chance to bond with other residents to build a friendship when the pandemic hit. Now is the time to move back into routines of meeting friends for lunch or dinner or even to begin the day with conversation over coffee and bagels. Again, this is a place a food server can perform a vital service. Be on the lookout for a resident who needs a bit of assistance in meeting others. If you notice diners still taking meals in their rooms, suggest going down to the dining room. Reassure them that you will introduce them to others you think will enjoy sharing a meal and some news of the day. It is a small kindness on the part of a food server that makes a huge difference to a resident. You will also be helping someone already in the dining room waiting to meet a person new to them. That small kindness will touch more than the one person you are helping. 

When you perform this small kindness, watch the results with great satisfaction and the enjoyment of knowing you have created happiness that overflows and spreads to affect more than the one person you started with. You also have a hand in keeping the people you serve healthier. Research has shown that loneliness may increase failing health where social connections to others can create overall immunity to illness. Feeling left out and alone drags on your immunity which fights against disease. There is enormous power in fulfilling a small kindness. 

Training employees to give their best behavior and to like the results of new skills they use, such as kindness shared is a major key to success. Kind Dining♥ training turns your employees into the company’s most valuable assets.  Residents rely on your food servers in many ways which include being content to invite friends and family to join them at meals.  It is noticeable when your food serving team cares enough about a diner in your community to extend intentional kindness. We invite every employee within senior living communities to be cross-trained in our fun, focused, practical skills, and competencies, which makes each meal an enjoyable experience.   

Be♥ Kind: Do you know loneliness lessens the immunity of an older person?

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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