Demographic Changes Call for RE-Thinking Staffing for Senior Housing

Demographic trends show the average and mean of the age of the US population getting older.  This is something to look forward to for those who own and operate Assisted Living Facilities.

japan-demographic-pyramidBut it also presents changes in who ALF owners and operators will be hiring and employing in the years to come.  Just as their is an increase in staffing needs there will be a reduction in the pool of workers age 18 to 62.

The PLUS side

The good news is that surveys and trends show that many people are planning on working long into their retirement years.  Whether it be because they can’t afford full retirement, they want to supplement their retirement income, or they just want to stay active and want to continue to use their talents in the work force.

Older workers may have impressive work histories, talents and experience that seem to make them over qualified for the work.  Both of you and the worker will need to adjust.

The ADJUSTMENT

Face it, both you and the older worker are coming in with old expectations that need to be adjusted.  The worker may be coming from a city with high-pay and a career with high responsibility.  They might be interested in reducing their stress, changing careers, but greatly cutting their pay is a harder pill to swallow.  The only way to get by this is to be open, honest, and frank without talking about age.

Ages is a protected class.  So don’t advertise that you are looking for “older employees” or that this position would be perfect “for retirees”.

Think about ways to attract older employees and keep employees working after their retirement age.

How?

Here are some tips:

SHIFTS

Split shifts in two or create more part-time shifts.  Many older workers can afford and desire part-time work.  The eight hour day my be too exhausting, but the 4 or 6 hour day is just right.  Current employees reaching retirement age may want to reduce their hours in phases.  Talk to them!

TIME OFF

Older employees may want more time off.  The good news is that their vacation time will be unpaid if they are working part-time.

PHYSICAL WORK

Making beds all day might be too difficult for some people.  Think about how you might divide up the work so that some positions have less physical work than others.  Make sure that if an employee become less able they are able to move over into positions with less physical work.

REWARDING WORK

An older worker might continue to work because of the feeling they get from their contribution.  They might enjoy the interaction with residents and other staff.  Provide opportunities for the staff to bond through meals, charity work, and recognition.  This is good for all the workers and for the culture of the facility.

support-for-seniorRESPECT

Know the work history of your employees.  They may have talents that are well above their position at your community, but would be willing to utilize that skill for a short-term project or to mentor another staff person.

West Central Solutions, Inc. helps owners of privately held Assisted Living Facilities with project management and on-going operations.  

If you would like to learn more about the topic of the post-retirement worker, here is an article about the mature job seeker in Florida.