What to Look for in Assisted Living Jobs
Assisted living is for older adults who value their independence but need some assistance with daily activities and medication reminders. Residents enjoy the privacy of personal residences or suites and a calendar of activities and programs to maximize independence and encourage fun and socialization. Whether a health event or change in the ability to care for oneself, assisted living communities, like Grove Point and Pillars at Masonic, are a viable option.
Not only do assisted living communities provide great options for residents, but they can provide some great opportunities for employees, too. There are countless positions needed to make an assisted living community run smoothly. Positions include housekeepers, dining services, nursing assistants, receptionists, sales and business office professionals. If you feel drawn to service positions and a desire to enrich the lives of aging adults, a job in assisted living may be a great option for you!
As you look for the best-assisted living position to meet your needs, there are a few considerations to keep in mind.
Choosing the Right Assisted Living Community
One of the first things you should note is that the communities themselves can vary. One of the most substantial points of distinction is the community size. Some assisted living communities have as few as 10 residents while some are over 100; the average occupancy is around 30-35 total residents.
Size and Services
Why does the size of the community matter for job seekers? For one thing, smaller communities make it easier to foster personal relationships with residents, which is something that many job seekers desire. And the size of the assisted living can have a direct correlation with the scope of services that are offered.
For context, consider some statistics provided by AARP:
- about 84 percent of assisted living communities provide on-site pharmacy access
- nearly as many communities (around 83 percent) have in-house Dietitians and nutritional services
- roughly 72 percent of assisted living communities have on-site physical, speech, and/or occupational therapy
- a little over half of all assisted living communities have on-site counseling and mental health services
The bottom line for jobseekers: The services and amenities offered can change from one assisted living community to the next, and that’s going to have a direct impact on the professional opportunities that are available to you.
Before accepting a position at any assisted living community, it’s reasonable to ask for a tour of the campus. Here are a few things to look for to make certain you’re choosing a good assisted living community that treats residents (and its employees) well.
- the overall cleanliness
- a floor plan that’s logical and easy to follow
- plenty of welcoming, accessible common spaces
- safety features, including locks on doors and windows, emergency call buttons, etc.
- proper lighting, including well-lit hallways and fire escapes
Choosing the Right Assisted Living Position
In addition to choosing the right community and organization, it’s also important to select a position that’s aligned with your skills, gifts and competencies. The good news is that keeping any assisted living community up and running requires a full-team effort, and no matter which role you fill, you’ll have ample opportunity to make a difference.
A few examples of the assisted living career options available at most communities include:
Clinical and Nursing Services
Communities employ nursing assistants who provide assistance with grooming, hygiene, and medication reminders. The nursing assistant role is a great introduction to direct care roles in higher levels of care.
Pathway to CNA Program
Culinary and Nutritional Services
From registered dietitians to line cooks to chefs, there are plenty of positions required to ensure that residents get the nutrition they need in a timely and appealing manner. Each community is unique in their dining programs, but food is necessary on any assisted living campus.
Depending on the community, there may be openings for on-site physical therapists, speech language pathologists, speech therapists, and occupational therapists. If not hired directly from the organization, there are numerous opportunities for third party therapy companies to serve senior living residents. Learn more about Masonic’s rehab services.
Housekeeping services are imperative for keeping common spaces neat, tidy, and hygienical, and also for assisting residents with the upkeep of their living spaces.
Landscaping and Groundskeeping
Assisted living communities need to feel cheerful, clean, and well-cared for, helping residents to know that their comfort and peace-of-mind matter. Landscapers and groundskeepers play a critical role here.
Administrators can help schedule other employees, ensure adequate staffing and empower other employees to do their jobs well.
Sales and Marketing
While sales and marketing professionals may not directly care for the daily needs of residents, they do play an important role in keeping the community financially successful, and thus able to deliver the highest standards of care. Sales and marketing roles seek individuals with good customer service, understanding and communication skills as they often work with residents and resident families in from the touring process to staying in touch once the resident moves into the community.
These are just a few examples of career opportunities that are available in assisted living communities.
The Benefits of Assisted Living Careers
No matter which assisted living position is the best fit for you, you’ll find that there are a number of unique benefits. Here are a few reasons why working in assisted living can be incredibly rewarding:
Connection and Purpose
The kinds of people who are drawn to careers in assisted living tend to be caring and empathetic people. They’re drawn to assisted living because it offers daily opportunities to connect with residents, visiting family members, and co-workers, and to make a real impact on people simply through being friendly or doing the job well. Knowing that you can make a difference in people’s lives can create a real sense of calling and purpose.
Learning and Enrichment
While working in assisted living means you can help residents, and it’s also likely that residents will help you. As you connect with seniors, you’ll get to hear their stories, receive their wisdom, and benefit from their lived experience. This can be an excellent opportunity for learning and personal enrichment.
It’s also worth noting that America’s population is aging, and that there are more and more individuals seeking long-term care. This is unlikely to change anytime soon, meaning there’s a lot of opportunity for growth, along with general job security in this field.
Flexible Work Schedules
Assisted living communities provide around-the-clock care for residents, which allows employees the opportunity to have flexible work schedules. Whether full-time or part-time, employees may have the opportunity to switch schedules and pick up weekend or night shifts.
Jobs in assisted living provide extensive growth opportunities. No matter the position, everyone in the assisted living profession has the opportunity to take advantage of learning and growth experiences. Employees who are motivated and engaged have the opportunity to grow professionally from additional schooling to career ladders into management positions. An entry-level position such as a nurse’s assistant can advance to a CNA with some additional education. An office admin can gain experience and become an executive director. A marketing associate may become a life enrichment coordinator. From management training programs to on-the-job training, the opportunities for growth are endless.
Masonic is invested in providing our employees with the opportunities and training needed to grow. Our Pathway to CNA program allows for employees to make a living while simultaneously earning the NA to CNA certification.
At Masonic, we offer a wide range of perks and benefits including:
- free TARC monthly pass for Louisville Campus employees
- Verizon mobile plans and free phones
- get paid early through PayActiv app
- Uniform stipend
- on-site Care Clinic on the Louisville Campus
- referral bonuses
- child care discount at Sproutlings Pediatric Day Care & Preschool on the Louisville Campus
- job training, education support and career development
- recognition for years of service
- resources to help when you need it most – financial, housing, etc.
- paid time off that you start accruing right away
- health, dental and vision insurance
- 403b with company match
The Challenges of Assisted Living Careers
While working in assisted living can be meaningful, as with any career, there are potential challenges as well.
Risk of Burnout
Caring for other people, all day every day, can take a toll on your mental, physical and emotional wellbeing. Without proper self-care, burnout is a real risk.
Aging and Death
It’s also important to acknowledge that, working in assisted living, you’ll deal with the effects of aging and death on a regular basis. This is another reason why good self-care and work-life balance is key.
Work Environment and Culture
The aspects of assisted living jobs inevitably create a work culture that is focused on support and camaraderie. It is important that, as a team, assisted living employees support each other through compassion, fatigue and grief. There are many times when an assisted living team gets the chance to bond and celebrate over positive events as well. Helping a resident achieve a physical goal, a successful event planned and executed, or keeping residents healthy amidst a pandemic are just a few examples of the daily positive moments you could experience. Going through these experiences together helps bond the team and re-affirms the importance of assisted living jobs.
Despite common misconceptions, working in assisted living provides a diverse, exciting and meaningful work environment. There are some repetitive daily operations tasks that occur, but every day in an assisted living community brings something new. Monday nights might bring fun and enriching activities in the common room, Wednesday a group outing to a local art fair, Friday night movies, and Sunday reminiscing on old stories. And that doesn’t include all of the various moments outside of resident activities. Helping residents with laundry, housekeeping, health reminders, taking care of the grounds, providing a clean environment, planning events, and managing office operations are just a few of the many responsibilities assisted living professionals juggle on a daily basis.
Join Our Team
If you’ve weighed the impact of working in the assisted living world, and if you’re eager for a chance to work with aging adults here in Kentucky, we’d love to talk with you about opportunities with Masonic. Reach out to learn more about working with us!July 14, 2022