Is this the new normal?

It seems like Halloween, the food serving team is dressing up in weird costumes and carrying grandma’s dust cloth. Actually it’s the attire necessary for today’s responsibility for being on the job. Face masks, gloves, and cover-ups that the surgical team wore in the operating room is now what we see wherever caregivers gather to take care of residents in senior living communities. The dust cloth is probably Clorox wipes in hand wherever they may be needed. It’s the new normal but the old normal for food serving teams has remained the same, adding a little extra to what they have always done.

Many residents will need to have a gentle reassurance served with their meals. They will want to know the news of what is happening inside and outside their area. With time being crunched, trays must have everything on it that your diner will want with the meal, saving time of returning with an item overlooked or forgotten. Kind Dining® teaches that organization and training shows up in times of crisis. Mealtimes need to go just as smoothly regardless of what is going on in the external world. Food servers that excel in senior care are company assets that need to extend serving skills, share camaraderie, and show community spirit. Food servers are called upon to continue their high standards of quality service now when service can be a bit more difficult than the normal times left behind.

You can ask what your residents value most these days. Certainly, the answer is seeing the food server coming through the door to their room. It isn’t only the food. It is everything else the food server brings in, most of all her/his presence. The sound of a voice they recognize and a smiling face they know. 

For forward-thinking administration, remember to show respect by thanking your food servers for their responsibility, loyalty, and courage. Let them know how highly they are valued in the company and by the residents. Surveys repeatedly show appreciation is high on the list of importance to food serving staff.

Our B Kind® Tip: Mealtime means much more than food to our senior residents, now more than ever.

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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