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Making the Climb: Moving up the Senior Living Ladder


A recent Deloitte study arrived at the tragic conclusion that just 13 percent of U.S. workers are passionate about their work. You spend about one-third of your life at work. If you don’t enjoy that time, you spend a significant portion of your day unhappy—and maybe devote the rest of it to ruminating over your disappointing career. Senior living careers offer a chance to make a difference in another person’s life. A recent J.D. Power analysis found that a quality staff is the biggest predictor of resident satisfaction in senior living, so there’s no denying that senior care workers can make or break the senior living experience. 

For dedicated workers, a growing eldercare workforce shortage means plenty of opportunities for growth. Here’s what you need to know about climbing the senior living ladder, whether you’re just starting out, or a seasoned executive.

Cultivating Leadership Skills

Arbor prides itself on its staff. Team members often report that residents give as much as they get, offering hard-earned wisdom, and lessons rooted in history and experience. We reward committed team members by advancing them to leadership roles, but we’ve also found a consistent theme: People who are deeply committed to building connections with seniors may not have managerial experience. This can make the transition to a leadership role challenging. 

We’ve found that effective leaders manage by showing genuine interest in and commitment to others. So strong leadership is really about putting the skills you already have to different use. 

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Tips for Advancing Your Career

Arbor rewards hard work at every step up the career ladder. Some strategies that can help you advance your career include

  • Solving problems through creative thinking. If you experience a challenge or observe a shortcoming, don’t just let it go or complain. Offer a solution. People who can think critically and solve senior living issues demonstrate their ability to offer value in the corporate leadership. 
  • Take calculated risks. Taking risks with wild abandon will get you a reputation for recklessness. But a few risks here and there can earn your respect. Consider switching to a different department, offering an alternative to a problematic policy, or accepting a challenging promotion. 
  • Find a mentor. Leaders are made, not born. One of the best ways to cultivate leadership skills is to learn from the best. So find a mentor and observe what they do well. Then try to implement those skills in your daily work. 
  • Work well with others. Good leaders aren’t cutthroat villains who undermine others. They’re team players who make the entire company shine. When you're likable and easy to work with, your managers are eager to help you succeed. That means more opportunities and faster promotions. 
  • Take and give credit. Find subtle ways to take credit for the things you do. Show up to events you plan, and don’t be shy about talking about your achievements. But make sure you also give credit to others. People like people who make them look good. So give everyone a chance to shine, and never take more than your fair share of credit. 

Opportunities at Arbor

The Arbor Company has served seniors for more than 30 years, and boasts more than 40 vibrant communities across 11 states. We’re revolutionizing senior care, making a difference in the lives of thousands of seniors and their families. As baby boomers age and senior care needs expand, there will be plenty of opportunities for growth in this thriving industry. Employment trends may change, but senior care is not going anywhere. 

We offer a wide range of leadership opportunities for committed people of all backgrounds and educational levels. Some exciting options include: 

  • Management roles in administration 
  • Sales and marketing positions 
  • Director roles in resident care 
  • Leadership positions in community engagement and activities 
  • Maintenance positions

If you care about seniors, there’s something at Arbor for you. Join our talent network to view opportunities in your area and continue reading helpful articles like this one. When you work in senior living, there’s always room for growth