Do your mealtimes impact residents’ quality of life?

A friend of a friend was having a conversation about the blues, being in a terrible rut during this coronavirus-instigated quarantine until she received a greeting card from a long-time friend. She had not heard from her in a few years. She spoke of that special, particular moment of being lifted up out of her gloom and feeling elated by the simple arrival of a note. It brought the friend into her mind and the many memories they shared in the past. The friend continued saying how it’s the small things in life that matter.

At Kind Dining,♥ we have a saying: Mealtime is the most important time to positively impact your residents’ nutritional health, well-being, and quality of life.  That doesn’t change whether you are serving in the dining room or room service. We depend fully on the food serving team to provide these qualities of life for our residents along with uplifting conversations that are vital to chase away the doldrums of residents in quarantine.

While we have been focusing on the residents in your community we also need to offer all employees in these times of uncertainty, to own a sense of calm, a feeling of being valued, appreciated, and completely supported by the administration. Servers deserve training in these social distancing dining room protocols, room service, and in appropriate service techniques. Sufficient staffing enables your servers to do their work without stress and regardless of the demands of their other daily duties.  Administrators and servers benefit from working as a team to provide quality service at mealtimes in any manner called for.

Achieving Kind Dining♥ training isn’t just a nice thing to do for your serving team, it is a valuable tool in accomplishing many of the health and quality of life goals you hold for your community. As the long term care industry continues to move towards person-centered care, it is still the right time for dietary managers to advocate and evaluate the daily food serving productive habits in place. Positive changes work with repeated practice and the encouragement of camaraderie between food servers and residents and with each other. This ‘small talk’ increases the quality of life for your residents, especially during these times of isolation and especially those who are living in a single situation. Residents still look forward to mealtimes as their social time of day.

B♥ Kind ®Tip: Don’t let “getting your work done” interfere with showing kindness and compassion.

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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