Is your retirement community looking forward?

January is a great time to think about looking forward. Starting a new year gives many seniors the idea of starting over . . . by changing their lifestyle. They will be casting aside the dread of aging by embracing it as a time to bring the dreams of their youth to life that they once set aside for family obligations. These seniors will put worry about house repairs, maintenance and upgrades behind them by moving into a retirement home. They will quickly learn that the center of any retirement community is the dining room. The mealtime table in this new chosen lifestyle is where new friendships are formed and older friendships are maintained. The food serving team carries a trusted position in providing the residents with a dining room where they feel welcome and comfortable with the food serving staff and with other residents.

Kind Dining ® training  alerts food servers to the power they hold by simple interactions such as listening to an elder, asking if a coffee cup refill is desired, the courtesy of a ‘good-bye,’ a chair pulled out for a diner, a pleasant smile of greeting, or a mobility impairment of an elder. Food servers need to know their residents well enough to recognize a problem by their expression or shyness. It is necessary to know the respect and honor that passes between food servers and the residents. Excellent service is so much more than carrying food to a table. 

Caring food servers also embrace those same considerations to her fellow food serving team. They will have restocked the pantry for the next shift, lent a hand to a teammate who needed it, and smiled as fondly at her teammates as she had to the residents she serves. The changes required to improve the dining room service can be a goal for New Year’s resolutions.  Creating positive changes may appear to be difficult but with practice, improvements will come. Consistency eventually creates confidence. To be comfortable in a food server’s position is a power in itself and a goal to be proudly attained.

It is time for your retirement community to move forward in achieving new regulations. The old way is no longer acceptable. Communication is the key to the success of working as a team in the new plan. Determination and persistence may pay off with a giant celebration that all may participate knowing their share of effort helped in the success in the new year.

Our B Kind® Tip: As so many seniors are doing, it’s time to start over, completely change your lifestyle into areas where you resist change at your job.

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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