What is your food serving team doing about special occasion celebrations?

The story came to me about a daughter’s sadness who planned to have a big celebration for her mother’s turning 80 years old in the senior living community. How disappointing, even in the midst of all the coronavirus chaos going on, that her big party plans could not take place.  An 80th birthday only comes once.  A party planner friend clued her in on what to do even though her mom was living in physical distancing.

She was advised to ask the chef if he could prepare a particular dinner. She and her family at home would have the exact same dinner, but they would be ‘sharing’ their mealtime by Zoom since her mom possessed an iPad.  The daughter arranged lots of colorful balloons to fly high around the dining table at home where Zoom showed them.

She provided balloons along with their gifts to the community for her mom’s room.  Of course, everyone dressed for the occasion, this was a video! Even Mom had good reason to dress up, pouf her hair, and add a bit of lipstick. Voila!  A party atmosphere was blooming!  The daughter had also arranged for a cake to be baked in the kitchen, again matching the same birthday cake that sat in the middle of the table at home. The final icing on the cake, pun intended, was a Birthday Parade! An hour after dinner was over daughter and family stepped into their cars flying Happy 80th Birthday flags and asked their neighbors to come in their own cars. Everyone was physically distanced and Mom had a very special 80th celebration with the food serving team helping out.

With all the focus being paid on prevention these days it is time to add some merriment to the picture. The dinner requested doesn’t have to be extremely exotic, only a simple dinner the chef can handle with ease in between his efforts to keep everyone happy with the new regulations of eating in their room. We celebrate with food, sharing a table but with lockdown, the sharing has a distance between them.

Kind Dining® is all about training food serving teams to serve meals hygienically and professionally.  Good training is more important now more than ever! The basic skills are still necessary for good service but it’s also time to stretch those skills by adding a bit of imagination for those special occasions. These occasions will help keep residents from depression or feeling completely isolated from others in the community’s loss of visitors.  Your food servers will feel confident when they apply what they have learned in training, knowing they will reduce the spread of germs of any kind and still able to contribute to a deserved 80th birthday celebration.

Our B♥ Kind® Tip: Your food serving teams have an important role to play in helping residents overcome loneliness and isolation during these stressful times.

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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