A job in senior living offers the chance to touch a senior’s life, help a family navigate the challenges of caregiving, and honor a senior’s life’s work. Senior living also comes with an enormous dose of job security. An aging population means that by 2025, more than a million new senior living positions will open up. There’s something for people of all backgrounds and skill levels in this important line of work. Whether you’re using medical training to offer exceptional care, harnessing customer service skills to ensure seniors find the right senior community, or channeling a lifetime of culinary training into healthy cuisine for elders, there’s an opportunity for you to put your gifts and interests to work.
When staff are happy, they provide better care to seniors. Everyone wants to be happy at work. One of the best ways to maximize job satisfaction is to connect with the residents you serve. Here are five ways to do it.
Bring Your Whole Self to Work
We all have quirks, hobbies, and unique stories. Don’t leave those quirks at home; take them to work! Tell your residents about your beloved garden, your misbehaving poodle, or your time in art school. To connect with others, we must be our authentic selves. So bring that self to work. You’ll be surprised by how eager your residents are to embrace it.
Slow Down and Listen
The work of senior living is never done. Don’t allow yourself to get bogged down by an endless to-do list. Mindfulness is your ally in the quest to provide better care and more thoroughly enjoy your job. So stay present in the moment. The to-do list can wait, and the story that awkward resident is trying to tell you could change your worldview.
Start a New Program
No matter what you’re passionate about, there’s a way to use it to improve the lives of residents. Start a garden club. Offer a cooking class. Create a knitting circle. When you do what you love, you perform better. So use what you love to enrich the lives of the people you serve.
Get to Know the Family
Our families are complex entities. They make us who we are. They enrich our lives. Sometimes, they enrage us. No matter the facts of an individual’s relationship with their family, odds are good that their family figures prominently in their story — for better or for worse. Ask about their family, and really listen without judgment. Don’t make assumptions, such as that the resident is close to their family. Instead, let the resident guide the narrative. If they are close to their family, get to know the family, too. Sometimes a family fills in missing details that can help you better understand and support a resident.
Reach out to Quiet and New Residents
Senior living is, in some ways, like high school. Everyone wants to connect with the popular, gregarious person who’s always having a good time. But what about the quiet misfit who’s overwhelmed, anxious, or even rejected? Help them feel valued, support them in their transition to senior living, and you’ll be truly making a difference. Take time to notice the quiet residents. Then spend some time talking to them. By drawing them out, you’ll help them feel less alone. You might also find that still waters run deep. Sometimes the people with the most interesting stories are also the people least likely to share those stories without prodding.
Whether you’re new to senior living or ready to climb the career ladder, Arbor has a job for you. We cater to a diverse group of seniors, offer a rich variety of activities, and have committed ourselves to improving seniors’ lives for the past 30 years. Don’t just get a job; start a career!