Do you realize improvement is an ongoing process?

A friend of a friend told me her 12-year-old daughter was creating greeting cards while being at home during the pandemic. She handed them into a local group who were passing them to a local organization. They were creating connections by sending cards, drawings, and notes to Assisted Living and retirement community residents nearby. The mother was delighted to see a positive result from several years of art lessons and she was happy her daughter was engaged in a worthwhile activity.

This sounds much like the program of sending Christmas and Holiday cards to hospitalized Vets in December. Pen Pal relationships are also being formed. These are ways to add some cheer to a senior who is now isolated without the privilege of going into the dining room for meals. It’s an especially nice diversion for those who enjoy reading their mail while they eat their meal. The best way to put this idea into practice is to contact local social organizations. They would be experienced in guidelines and who to contact with retirement and assisted living communities.

Another way to keep spirits from lagging at solo mealtimes is to enlighten residents to virtual tours they can take on their computers or Ipads. Tours of foreign countries, art museums, castles, national parks, etcetera are a few available. Some seniors may not be aware of games for multiple players that connect them with others socially such as Lexulous (Scrabble), Words with Friends, Checkers, Mahjong; the list goes on. FaceTime, Skype, and Zoom will put them in touch for visits with friends and families.

Kind Dining® encourages pursuing ways of keeping isolated seniors’ spirits raised during these difficult times. Some chefs have begun turning their cooking into ‘how-to’ shows and streaming them to residents’ TVs and computers.  It whets appetites and keeps seniors anticipating their next meal. Chefs have also added a little something extra at dinnertime to let the residents know he is thinking about them, knows the stress some suffer, and that their kitchen food servers care.  Some communities have added rolling carts with a bartender visiting each room, ready to make favorite alcoholic drink concoctions before dinnertime to spike appetites for those who indulge. Appetizers are served at the same time.

This is a time when food servers working as a team, being extra cheerful with residents and each other, is vital. It is now that the food serving team in a senior community knows their good hospitality training has paid off.

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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