Many college students and recent graduates — even those interested in working in health care — don’t consider a career in senior care. But they should. Elder care is an intensely rewarding, growing field.
On the clinical care side, retirement homes need registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, patient care assistants, physical, occupational, respiratory and speech therapists, sleep disorder specialists, pharmacy techs and more.
But working in retirement care doesn’t necessarily require a medical degree, nursing degree or other clinical certification.
There are plenty of non-clinical positions here at Louisville’s Episcopal Church Home — transportation associates, dining services associates, business specialists, professional and executive-level roles, for example — that only require those who fill them to have a passion for providing dignified, person-centered service to our residents and their families.
In short, if you love to help older persons, to chat with them and listen to them, and if have a cheerful disposition and a keen eye for detail, there’s a place for you in retirement care.
Today, we thought we should take a moment to discuss four reasons why a career in senior care might be a great choice for you.
1. Older People are Thankful
Compassion fatigue can be a serious problem in other healthcare fields. But, as practitioners of senior care, we can tell you that people do tend to mellow with age. They become more accepting of the things they can’t change.
They grow more thoughtful. They lose the sense of self-importance that so many younger adults exhibit. They become less concerned with making forward progress, building wealth, or wielding authority, and start focusing more on enjoying the years they have left.
When we assist elders by walking them down the hall and letting them lean on us for support, by guiding them through a physical therapy or memory care session, by cutting up their food into smaller bites, by helping them into their clothing in the morning, or just by being there to listen to them, they never fail to show their gratitude.
Even small gestures are met with smiles and humble thanks. We don’t require their gratuity to do our jobs. But it sure does make us feel good.
2. We Learn a Lot from Our Elders
Ask anyone who already works in retirement care: one of the most amazing benefits, and what keeps many of us smiling every day, is the opportunity to hear our residents’ life stories and learn from their shared wisdom.
Older folks have been there, done that, and many of them have been there, done that some more. They know how to deal with failure. They know the feeling of success and the true value of achievement. And they want to help us weather the ups and downs. That’s what keeps them smiling every day.
When we care for our elders, they talk with us. They help us to avoid the mistakes they made when they were younger. They advise us how to handle the present. They show us how to accept adversity with grace and how to grow stronger from it.
They truly inspire us.
3. We Often Develop Meaningful Care Relationships with Our Patients
In elder care, we often care for patients for years at a time. We get to know them. We meet their spouses, their children, their grandchildren and their great-grandchildren.
We have time to develop care relationships that enrich and shape our own lives, and that give us deeper perspective on our place relative to the overall world. That’s a luxury folks in other healthcare fields just don’t have.
And that’s something new grads really should consider when making their career decisions.
4. The Need for Elder Care is Growing Fast, but There are Too Few Providers
The Baby Boomers are the largest single generation in American history, and they’re all over the age of 50. By the early part of the next decade, most will have reached retirement age.
To meet their needs, senior care providers like our parent organization, Episcopal Retirement Services, are racing to build out additional retirement communities, affordable senior apartments, residential nursing communities and memory care units.
The industry will need a lot of people to staff them. What does that mean for new healthcare grads? Leverage.
Until the gap between supply and demand narrows a bit, clinical providers, allied health professionals and support staffers in retirement care are likely to realize higher wages and command more robust benefit packages than their peers in other healthcare-related fields.
If you’re interested in a career in senior care in Louisville, let’s talk.
If you have a passion for rendering person-centered, dignified care, you’re the kind of person we want on our team here at Episcopal Church Home. We look forward to helping you start a rewarding career.
Click here to see our open opportunities. See one you’d be a great fit for? Apply today! We need you.