Remember the Painting Freedom From Want by Norman Rockwell?

Norman Rockwell’s Freedom from Want must be one of his most revered paintings. It shows the grandparents placing the turkey on the Thanksgiving table with the family sitting happily around it. I think so highly of it that I have used it in my presentations. It is the very essence of my beliefs of bringing warmth to the table in every community. The feelings that lift off that picture can be in every community. The grandmother probably had years of learning about cooking, how to present the foods, set the table, hospitality, and relationships, both within the family and for newcomers to the family as it grew.

It is what a community ought to be, year-round, creating a family atmosphere in the dining room between the residents, the serving teams and the residents, and between the serving teams with each other. Like Grandma, the serving teams can expand their knowledge and learn how to be the best at hospitality. It’s the glue that brings all other efforts in the community together. You can learn how from Kind Dining® training in less time than it took Grandma!

This time of year opens new opportunities as the holidays burst onto the scene. Servers can make a difference when new people move into the community. The dining room is the perfect place to introduce them to the ‘regulars’. A good server will know exactly which resident will add a welcome feeling to a new resident and would be delighted to help. This is a result of bonding between serving staff and resident. The glow of this small interaction will overflow onto your server knowing she has performed a good deed. It is also a reflection of the decorations that adorn the tables encouraging that wonderful feeling of family between the blending of traditions that share a community.

Many families and visitors will be in the dining room as guests during this holiday season because 50 to 80 percent of seniors surveyed prefer to remain in the community, avoiding the hectic for the comfort.

Our B♥ Kind® Tip: You and your staff have an important role to play in helping residents overcome loneliness during this holiday season. Give them a sense of home.

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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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