In assisted living, pensioners benefit from a private, age-appropriate living situation, useful services, and community activities. This way, senior residents can feel independent while experiencing safety and support. Sounds ideal for our elderly generation. But what about the assisted living facility workers? After all, more and more senior citizens make use of such offers. However, there appears to be a shortage of nurses and carers who can care for the elderly. Additionally, carers are constantly criticized as every relative knows best how to be a good carer. We want to give an insight into a day in the life of an assisted living facility worker, so you can see what they have to cope with.
A Facility Worker’s Routines and Tasks
Usually, the workers in assisted living facilities, or ALFs, follow daily routines. However, certain residents may have certain needs that can differ each day. Therefore, it’s hard to follow a predefined schedule for each patient as they are humans, not objects. Your employer may have planned your day and established how much time you can spend with each senior. But following these schedules sounds easier than it is.
Now you may wonder what kind of tasks the carers have – their area of responsibility differs for each patient. Some may only need help in everyday tasks, such as getting dressed, taking medication, and preparing meals. Most seniors miss human contact, often provided in assisted living residencies.
In addition, in assisted living facilities, the residents usually have a bell in their rooms. When they ring it, a carer is supposed to come and check up on them. However, sometimes the staff is busy with other tasks or residents, meaning it may take a while for them to appear. Carers work as fast as possible, but there are better ways to do things than rushing. After all, they deal with humans and their individual needs – those tasks can take time.
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This brings up another important skill – patience, and understanding. Many older adults love to complain – however, the right thing to do is not pity them but listen carefully to their needs. Easier said than done! With a million things on your mind, this seems just too challenging on busy or stressful days. But don’t forget – the residents want to be heard and feel like they are not just one of many.
Moreover, the field of care needs more employees. There are many people in need of care, but not enough people to take care of them. The stress at work makes the profession less attractive to younger generations. Assisted living facility workers can only manage some tasks within an eight-hour workday. Therefore, carers must be very organized and able to work in a team.
The Different Forms of Caring
What forms of assisted living are there? Older adults can choose between a great variety of options: they can rent an age-appropriate apartment or house and pay for a care-taking package, or they can move into an assisted living facility, in which there are further options to choose from to the level of care.
As you can tell, our senior citizens get to make their own choices. Sometimes, they react rather stubbornly when the topic of an older adult’s home is addressed. Nevertheless, most seniors love the concept of assisted living once they experience assisted living facility work. After all, they live in an independent environment, yet always have someone to talk to, and they can participate in activities. In case of an emergency, they can call for help immediately. For the carers, the tasks mostly remain the same. However, in a residency, it is easier to coordinate tasks, and getting from one patient to the other takes less time.
What do Assisted Living Workers experience, then?
The options for the elderly sound great, right? But what do the caretakers think of their jobs? Well, most of them love their job, as helping people, especially the elderly, made them choose this profession in the first place.
However, the job is generally very stressful and exhausting, and most workers can’t imagine remaining in this profession until their retirement. Most outsiders are surprised by it, as they only see the conventionally “easy” tasks that carers perform. Yet the tasks are both physically and emotionally straining. Of course, stress levels also vary daily, but something unexpected can generally happen.
As we mentioned, the tasks include getting the seniors dressed, for example. Sounds easy at first. But did you take into account that this also includes lifting people up? Lifting their legs or even turning a person around without the help of another person is extremely difficult and takes more strength than you might think. Additionally, some residents may need help being washed or supported while walking. All these tasks are to be considered.
Most people would be overwhelmed if they had to work a day as a carer. Dealing with individual needs, being busy all day, and doing emotional and physically straining activities surely is not for everyone. All in all, the everyday work in an ALF is far from stress-free. Working with seniors requires being organized and attentive. Some ALFs even use specialized planning software to unburden themselves of formalities and concentrate on what is most important.