During Careers in Aging Week, we have been focusing on students and job seekers interested in working in Assisted Living. But during this week’s Careers in Assisted Living Forum, Sylvia Chu, executive director at Aegis of San Francisco, made the point that every hiring decision must always be made with the residents in mind:
In an interview, I look for warmth, compassion. I look for an instant connection, because I know that if you connect with me, you will connect with our residents.
To round out Careers in Aging Week, here’s an excerpt from an article first published in CALA News & Views Fall 2012. The experiences of Bob, a resident at Sunrise of Fair Oaks, showcases the importance of these qualities in all community employees, and how a career in Assisted Living is more than just a 9-5 job–it’s a calling.
The quality of light coming in through the skylights of Sunrise Assisted Living of Fair Oaks is invigorating, and it seems to infuse everyone in the building, residents and members alike. I’m sitting with Bob, who seems to know everyone’s name…or at least their nickname.
“There’s a wonderful waiter who, I don’t remember her name, but I call her Rosie because she always wears a flower in her hair,” he says. “Oksana is another waiter here. All the wait staff are great, but Oksana is like our daughter. I tell her, ‘we might just have to adopt you.’ And she says ‘OK!’ She’s wonderful. Everyone here is wonderful.”
When I ask him who stands out as a truly exceptional caregiver, he opens his hands wide and says, “My fingers aren’t enough to count them all. Everyone here knows me by name, and everyone will do anything to help. They all have such a great attitude.
Each day, whether “caregiver” is a part of your job title or not, you get the chance to help someone and form those meaningful connections. Because in an Assisted Living community, everyone–the dining room server, concierge, hairdresser, executive director, and, of course, caregiver–lends a helping hand and makes someone feel cared for.
Read the rest of the article in News & Views Fall 2012: Caregiving.