Making the transition to assisted living can be difficult. From downsizing and selling the house to making Mom’s new apartment feel like home, to helping Dad adjust, it’s normal to be concerned that your parents will struggle when moving to a new place.
That’s what the staff are there for. They’re familiar with the anxiety seniors feel when moving to a new place, and they have already established procedures and activities that make the transition easier.
Most people who live in an assisted living facility might need some assistance with basic living skills, but they don’t need constant medical oversight. Unlike a skilled nursing facility, assisted living residents don’t require round-the-clock monitoring for major illnesses and disabilities, so you might not find a doctor on staff.
Rather, assisted living is an ideal option for people who have problems with mobility but can’t arrange for help in their homes or people who prefer to live in a social setting in their senior years. So you’ll probably find an activity director or a wellness nurse is part of the care team.
Assisted living focuses on maintaining residents’ independence while meeting their needs. Staff members will grow to know your parent's needs and wants and even some of their quirks. They’re trained to:
- Offer person-centered care
- Build a sense of community
- Give those who live in the community a voice in the decisions about how things are done
- Include friends and family members
- Meet the special needs of people who have some type of memory loss
Here is a look at some of the staff you’ll usually meet at an assisted living community. Keep in mind that some communities may have different names for these positions, though.
The executive director runs the community and is the most senior staff member. They are committed to the care of seniors, love to impact the lives of residents and staff on a daily basis, and have a track record of effective leadership. The executive director is responsible for creating and sustaining a culture of safety, respect, and robust quality of life for residents and staff alike.
A wellness nurse is a registered or licensed practical nurse who fulfills many of the typical duties of registered nurses but with an increased emphasis on improving the resident’s overall wellness and sense of well-being.
They develop personal relationships with the residents, learning their preferences, habits, and individual needs so they can improve their health as much as possible through diet, exercise, medication, and physical therapy. Wellness nurses also educate residents so they are empowered to take care of their own health.
There might also be medical technicians on staff who can dispense medicines but do not have the qualifications of a nurse.
Assisted living residents enjoy a wide array of daily programs, including bowling, movie nights, shopping outings, bus trips, spa days, and live music — and someone has to plan those events. That task falls to the activity director, whose mission it is to enhance the quality of life of residents by creating an engaging, stimulating environment that benefits the mind, body, and soul of the residents and promote a lifestyle of health and wellness with programs that benefit brain health, physical fitness, and more.
Some communities also have an activity assistant, who is a reliable, well-organized, energetic, positive, team-oriented right-hand for the activity director.
Healthy eating can make a difference in seniors’ health, helping to improve how they feel and encouraging a sense of well-being — which is why the chef and their team of cooks are critical to health and wellness of the residents.
High quality assisted living facilities don’t serve frozen, processed cafeteria food. Instead, they offer three homemade meals a day using the freshest ingredients available, including many locally sourced, seasonal items and featuring healthy options, comfort foods, and resident favorites. The chef works with the other team members and the residents to feature unique specialties on the menu that reflect the tastes of the residents who live there.
Not only is there a chef, but there are even usually wait staff who serve residents at mealtimes.
Resident Care Aide
A resident care aide is a certified nursing assistant who provides personal care services for residents. In addition to assisting with housekeeping duties, they also assist with activities, serve as a resource for relatives and visitors, and assess resident capabilities to determine if they need additional assistance. They understand the physical and emotional needs of seniors, enjoy working with them, show understanding and patience, and enhance the resident’s environment and quality of life.
One of the benefits of assisted living is that there is no more home maintenance or yard work. Residents don’t have to shovel the walk or put in storm windows. The facilities director is responsible for maintaining the building and assuring safety standards are met. They might also have a groundskeeper to manage and oversee the landscaping of the community. The maintenance team plays an important role in allowing the residents to enjoy their independence in a supportive environment surrounded by friends and neighbors.
Not only do residents not need to mow the lawn, but they also don’t need to wash their bed linens. Assisted living housekeepers also residents live independently by ensuring that they live in a clean and sanitary environment.
A Staff Who Cares for Your Loved One
When your loved one is ready to make the move to assisted living, you can rest easy because not only will you know who to expect to encounter on move-in day, but also every staff member is prepared to go the extra mile to make your loved one comfortable.
Someone from maintenance will help them hang pictures and make any needed adjustments. Housekeeping will stop by to discuss when they’d prefer someone to clean and do laundry. And, the activities director is likely to stop by to drop off an activities calendar and invite them to attend a fitness class, tea party, or seminar.
The goal of every member of our staff is to assure your parent’s health and happiness.
The best way to make sure the staff is compatible with your loved one? Schedule a tour. Not only will you tour the residences and learn about the varied floor plans, but you’ll also meet the team members, who will give you an idea to if the assisted living values person-centered care.