The holiday season is an emotional time that can be changed from having the blues and missing particular loved ones, to the idea of forming new traditions, adding new friends to your Christmas list. Very often it is a matter of suggestion and that is where your food serving team steps in. Through casual conversation, your server may open a chat with a simple “what were the favorite parts of your past holiday seasons? Did you do the cooking, if so what favorites were on your table?. .and who were they for?” Remembering and talking about the people your elder’s miss can bring smiles to their faces when they begin talking. Be gentle. Actively listen so you can reply with intelligence.
Start a trend and have all your food serving team wear the color red on a particular day. A scarf, an indoor hat, maybe a Santa or elf hat, a wide belt, or a red, lacy hankie pinned to the uniform will work. During the month of December, they can add a Santa, candy cane, Christmas tree, poinsettia, or other fun pins to their uniform every day.
A hot chocolate station set up in an alcove or activity room with Christmas cookies will encourage cheerful stories of other holidays long passed. Remember to offer sugarless for diabetic older adults. It’s the time of year for social gatherings and meeting new folks to talk with all year long.
If possible, set up a Gingerbread House competition in the activity room. Spread supplies over a table and let the fun begin! The winner has their picture placed on the News Board in the lobby until the end of the year!
A Santa Hat Luncheon can be arranged where everyone who comes into the dining room wears a Santa hat. Be sure to take lots of photos! They will create happy memories that can be joyful all year through. A simple, card and candy cane put next to the place settings makes a personal touch and shows that you have empathy. This small item adds hospitality to healthcare that is vital on holidays.
When family or friends ask for ideas on what gifts to give to their friends now living in much smaller apartments or independent rooms, suggest a book possibly signed by a local author, a magazine subscription, gift certificates, or favorite holiday foods such as homemade specialty cakes, cookies, jams, and items that won’t be coming from the community kitchen.
Kind Dining♥ teaches your food serving team, and that includes each person who delivers a beverage or meal, even if only to help fill a shortage of servers, to become part of the holiday spirit by joining in with the elders in your community. That means opening a conversation with a holiday memory of their own and participating in the extra additions that bring joy to the most important people in your community…your residents.
B ♥ Kind Tip: Mealtime means much more than food to your residents.