As Executive Directors and Administrators of Senior Care facilities, we know how important dining service is to resident satisfaction. Dining is more than eating; it is also an important time for socialization with friends.
Resident satisfaction with dining services can make or break a community. If residents do not perceive their dining experience to be a satisfactory one over all, they will tell everyone they know, call the state licensing agency, and generally spread the word around the community, pulling as many other residents as possible into their negative mindset about dining.
After serving residents in more than 20 communities over the last 15 years, I have learned that complaints about dining frequently aren’t really about dining. If I have complaints about dining, the first thing I study is the activity program.
If residents have an activity program that meets their needs in a holistic manner, their general satisfaction will be higher. If they have positive things to focus on, they are less likely to be drawn into a negative mindset about many things, including dining.
A holistic activity program addresses all areas of the human experience: spiritual, emotional, psychological, physical, intellectual, and vocational. Think about the last time your own life was out of balance in your holistic wellness; what was your mindset? Was your attitude as positive as it could be?
Next time you are having dining complaints, rather than take a look in the kitchen, take a long look at your activity program. Take a hard look at how many times you offer bingo versus activities that meet residents’ other needs. You may find your dining service issues can be resolved where you least expected it.