Does your staff respond to helping residents overcome reluctance to reenter the dining areas?

Kind DiningSenior and Long Term Living newsletters inform us that dining is back! It is returning slowly but safely and steadily by small groups in dining rooms, cafes, sunrooms, and other small areas. Open spaces with scattered seating have been popular for picnics and festive occasions. Outdoor spaces are being utilized, encouraging social gatherings again. Some residents are wary about reentering the social scenes and need to build up confidence after being isolated to their rooms for the last 18 months. Again, the food serving teams are being called upon to help residents by incurring their trust and reliability. Employees are asked to also be aware of the mentality of their fellow coworkers; to be alert if reassurance is needed and to offer it if it is. The food serving teams are asked to be supportive, be social, even add some humor into their daily lives and exposure to residents and coworkers alike. It is time for building trust. The culture of treating everyone with respect and dignity remains in place as the staff is asked to exhibit their empathy. Older adults, in particular, have experienced fear and anxiety during these past pandemic months. Many will need to advance slowly back into a social scene again. Food servers have the perfect opportunities to assist in drawing residents into a comfortable alliance. Opening lines of communication will open trust and courage the resident diners may need at that moment.

Kind Dining♥ training advocates educated responses to questions casually posed by residents while interacting with food servers. It is a perfect time for food servers to answer and build morale, even add some humor with a joke or some funny incident they read. With culture change in place, it relies on those food servers to be responsible for much more than bringing meals. It is imperative for the food serving team and the residents, that their morale remains high and in good humor, sharing a chuckle or hearty laugh. Their knowledge of the latest community news remaining in their minds, ready to discuss and offer comfort where needed. Practice helps to create dialogue, opening lines of communication with other staff, too. This also tends to form bonds of friendship wherever the food server happens to be. Practice at discussion meetings helps with those coworkers when it doesn’t come naturally.


B♥ Kind ®Tip: ways to create work relationships with co-workers at every opportunity. 

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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