The Senior Living Industry Is Looking for a Few Good Young People

Today, the senior living industry is not on most young people’s radar as a potential career track or even as a starter job—but it should be. Senior housing is an industry that is growing rapidly in need, scale, and employment opportunities, and it will continue to do so over the next several decades as the U.S. population ages.

These are not the stereotypical “old folks’ homes” of yesteryear. The greatest growth is taking place in retirement and assisted living communities. These are thriving, active, lively places of business that are also fun, rewarding places to work. To be successful, these communities require a broad range of skills in full- and part-time positions, and not just nursing and care coordinators.

Here are three entry-level opportunities to consider:

  1. Work in the kitchen. Explore meal prep or on-site dining rooms and café in a wait staff position for the three meals and additional snacks made available to residents each day. This can involve helping to prepare meals and serving. What a great way to get your foot in the door for the teen who might be interested in a culinary career!
  2. Help with senior activities. If a young person has high energy and some experience in crafts or the performing arts, what could be more satisfying than helping seniors have some fun and tap into their artistic side? Senior living communities have a daily, weekly and monthly activities calendar. The program includes various types of activities that volunteers or staff may assist with such as: painting, exercise, games, singing, dancing, trivia, and outings to museums, parks, galleries and the Arts.
  3. Night-time concierge. Answer phones and resident inquiries. While a night-time position requires less experience than its day-time counterpart, it still provides an opportunity to visit with residents, greet guests, and get involved with customer service. It might lack glamour, but this is a responsible position and can provide solid work experience for a young person’s resume.

For the right person, the industry offers strong wages, top-notch benefits, a warm, supportive working atmosphere, and consistently high levels of job satisfaction. Young people bring their own unique brand of good medicine to residents who feed off of youthful enthusiasm and energy and enjoy hearing modern-day, coming-of-age stories just as they enjoy relating their own remembrances and dispensing nuggets of advice.

So to teenagers who may be interested, go visit your grandmother’s assisted living community or an older family friend. Look around. Talk to employees. And if you can see yourself working with interesting people who appreciate your youthful enthusiasm and energy then by all means, go fill out a job application. Your decision could have a tremendous impact on someone’s life—and not just your own.


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