Back to Blog

Your Guide to Working in a Senior Living Community


If you are new to working in a senior living community, welcome to one of the most rewarding occupations around. Choosing to serve seniors and their family members is a calling, and you join the ranks of hundreds of thousands of other senior care workers throughout the country.

As with any new role, you may be feeling nervous or curious about your senior care endeavor. Here are a few things to remember as you begin a career that has the potential to change the lives of those you serve.

Find a Pro

As is the case for any job, training will be key to your success. However, senior care isn’t one-size-fits-all, and you won’t learn everything you need to know in your first few days of classroom-style training. To help you grow and learn, pair up with a more seasoned worker during your shift. You’ll learn a lot by watching them work and interact with residents.

Flexibility Is Crucial

Senior care workers need to be flexible. Not only will you be asked to pick up extra shifts, stay late, or arrive early based on an unanticipated need or a special event happening at the community, but your flexibility will also pay off when working with residents as well.

Person-Centered Is Best

When in doubt, always put the resident at the center of your interactions and decisions. This is called “person-centered care,” and it is the cornerstone of preserving dignity and providing choice for the seniors you serve. You can start your steps toward person-centered care by getting to know your residents. Taking the time to talk to them about their preferences and history will teach you how to have more individualized interactions with them, and provide them with even better care.

It Takes a Team

No one can serve seniors alone. It takes a team to meet the needs of the residents living in your senior living community. You’ll learn a lot from your peers, but you’ll learn even more from the team members who work in a different department than you do. Together, you can all bring your talents and knowledge to create the best days possible for your residents. You can’t do it without one another, so support each other and cheer one another on.

You’ll Have Bad Days ...

Bad days are par for the course in any job, but bad days in senior care can feel extra disheartening. Residents will pass away, a senior you are helping will fall while in your care, a typically pleasant resident will yell at you, or a difficult conversation with a family member will hurt your feelings. Building relationships with residents and family members is a part of your job, but it can make things hurt worse when something bad happens.

... But It Is Always Worth It

The bad days will come and go, but the good days and the relationships you create with residents will last throughout your career. You’ll remember the joke one resident told you every morning, or recall the story of a resident who served in World War II. You’ll be a better person and worker because of every resident story you take the time to listen to. It won’t take long for you to realize that you were made for this job and for the residents you serve.

Where You Work Matters

Working in a senior living community can be an even better experience when you choose to work with an organization that serves its employees with the same level of care that its employees serve their residents. At The Arbor Company, we are dedicated to providing our new and veteran staff members with excellent benefits, outstanding ongoing education, respect, and kindness.

Join our Talent Network today to find out which positions are available in our communities across the country.

Join Our Talent Network