Healthy people who enjoy living solo know when it is time to be social and mix with friends. Living in a senior living community makes it easy. All a resident needs to do is step outside their apartment home and head for the dining room or to a planned activity event. The dining room is the central location for socializing on most residents’ days. It’s where they meet to talk about which events they plan to attend and discuss their hobbies and interests. It is a good place to discover others who share the same pleasures. It is also where the food serving team can assist residents in finding like-minded people to share a table with. Any member of the staff is happy to suggest or guide someone who is new to the community or anyone who is naturally shy and timid. Excellent training and practice enable a staff member the confidence needed to reach out to a community resident. Surveys reveal that socially active older adults enhance their health benefits and are generally happier than those who spend too much time alone. Choosing to become acquainted with others by joining a table at mealtime is effortless. A food server learns in training and discussion sessions how to help a new resident find the table best suited.
The ideal assisted living community staff members have adopted a friendly persona as a way of life, so it is easy to encourage residents to be social by suggesting various activities. Many of these activities are offered to appeal to those without the physical strength to participate. There are board games, card games, Bingo, book discussion groups, sewing, knitting, singing, music, coloring, painting, and movie nights. Participating in these recreations will dissolve loneliness and improve a person’s reticence. Meeting someone who enjoys the same events will create group friendships and a network of support key to well-being. It also increases the feeling of home.
Friendships play a vital role in buffering against negative effects of general health, dark moods, physical functioning, and aging. Intellectually engaged, mentally stimulated residents hold less risk of developing dementia when they participate in activities daily or at least weekly. They form self-identity and a sense of belonging. Family members can relax during visits, knowing their mom or dad is receiving care when they need it. Their anxiety can disappear, and they can enjoy the visit with peace of mind.
Kind Dining ® training modules, now available online, teach the food serving staff in communities new ways to further the dining experience for residents. Staff will learn to work to build a better food serving team and explore the science and psychology of dining hours.
Be ♥ Kind Tip: Does your staff understand the complexities of assisted living single residents?