Do you ask residents to share their ideas on making mealtimes more enjoyable?

The story came to me recently about a conversation between a few friends. They were reminiscing on FaceTime about their earlier married years when they used to have themed parties on Saturday nights after settling the kids into bed for the babysitter. Now they were looking forward to themed dinner times to break up the monotony of being physically distanced from their friends in their retirement community. It helps to hold the gloom of the present pandemic situation at bay.  They mentioned how thoroughly enjoyable a Hawaiian luau was one night and a Mexican Fiesta another. Laughing, they told how the food servers joined in on the fun and dressed the part to match the theme, even bringing a little related music in with their appropriately decorated food carts. It worked to lift everyone’s spirits.

We at Kind Dining® have long embraced fresh ideas and proven techniques to keep your residents happy and contented with their mealtimes. Themes are one tool that can be used to enlighten moods, especially at this time when many are uncertain. Hospitality remains a constant in giving people satisfaction at mealtime while it also encourages your food serving team the pleasure of helping residents be reassured during these days. The present is a time of stress we are all experiencing daily. Let your genius show by being creative. Ask your food servers for their thoughts, too. They may have new ideas from talking with residents as they serve their meals.

At Kind Dining®, we have a saying: Mealtime is the most important time to positively impact your resident’s nutritional health, wellbeing, and quality of life.  That doesn’t change whether you are serving in the dining room or extending room service. Support your food servers by letting them know how valued they are, how you appreciate the additional work they are providing to residents to keep them calm during this crisis. When you give your food serving staff a new sense of purpose, they will get along better with others on the food serving team and with residents. Now is a good moment for them to focus time and energy on what matters most: mealtimes. Your residents will respond in kind. 

Our B♥ Kind® Tip: Provide a warm, sincere greeting when you enter a resident’s room. 

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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