What is your body language saying?

“When I entered the store, with my mask on,” a lady was telling me, “I was terrified! Everyone looked so weird and scary hiding behind their masks. This was all new and looked so very strange. I took a deep breath. This is life today, I told myself.  Then I truly looked and found that people were smiling at me because they were feeling the same way I was.  I could see it when I looked in their eyes and I knew it would end in the months ahead and all would be well again.”

This is where we are today. Life goes on. Retirement, long term care and assisted living communities quickly adapted to protect their residents and their employees. Next, they refined daily routines to further keep residents as safe as possible. Those working in food service, now bringing meals to resident’s rooms but just as important, they continue to be cheerful, confidant and smiling behind their masks to convey safe haven to each resident.

In Kind Dining ®, you learn that your mask only covers the nose and mouth. The twinkle in your eye when you smile shows like bright shining stars. Your cheerful “hello, how are you today,” when you enter a resident’s room communicates comfort and safety. It is just what your residents want to hear. Your body language is universal and understood by all nationalities. 

Your pleasant and engaging demeanor with residents is especially important now because they have been denied personal visits by family and friends. It helps to fill that empty space of aloneness when food servers spend that extra moment or two passing the time of day. Eating a meal is still an emotional experience. Your residents have taken care to place their orders and have waited in anticipation for the meals to arrive. Mealtimes are meaningful times of the day. The manner in how they are served is vital. Food servers are providing nutrition for the body, the heart, and the soul. They remain key figures of the community.


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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