Does your food serving team bring holiday cheer along with the meals?

It’s a Wonderful Life, Miracle on 34th Street, A Christmas Carol, Little Women, and Rudolph, the Red Nosed Reindeer are a few from a long list of stories of Christmas where kindness wins the day. Winter Holidays, no matter which one you celebrate, are a time for generosity, thoughtfulness, and kindness . The holiday season can be exceptionally difficult for older adults spending their first year in an independent living or assisted living community. They have chosen your community to call home but may be missing many of their family and friends lost in the recent pandemic. They may be yearning for past, happy memories and traditions that will never be experienced by them in the same way again. 

This holiday season is a time for your food serving team to go the extra mile to fill in those lonely, melancholy moments. While they have been practicing their social skills with residents, now is a good time to ask about those memories and traditions. Holidays are all about food. Gathering around the warmth of a dining table to share those foods that were special to their memories is still a way to bring happiness to your residents. It’s also perfect timing for serving particular foods that were enjoyed. Food servers can gain and carry the information and recipes back to the chef to include them on the menu. 

In conversation, food servers can also encourage their residents to expand their sense of culture and start new traditions by tasting the Christmas specialties of friends they have met. Perhaps your food serving team can suggest sharing traditions of others such as watch a holiday movie, enjoy a sing-along, start a story meeting where each person tells their stories of Christmases past. The key is for your food serving team to have compassion with residents, to understand they may be suffering silently. Asking a person to tell her/his story is an easy way to start a chit chat. Perhaps Christmas themed aprons can be worn by your food servers to spread the jolly Christmas spirit.

Kind Dining® training curriculum leads the way for your food serving team to create great relationships with those they serve while building their own skills and self-confidence. It’s easier to love your job when you know you are good at what you do, that you bring holiday cheer along with the meals you serve. It is a proven turnkey curriculum for communities that realize resident-centered care is a priority that benefits the company. Kind Dining® coaching is designed uniquely for staff who, directly or indirectly, serve meals. The interactive courses inspire your serving teams to weave hospitality with healthcare, to converse with residents, and to care.

Be ♥ Kind Tip: The holiday season is a time for your food serving team to go the extra mile.

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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