Assisted Living Jobs

4 Most Difficult Aspects of Working in Assisted Living

Working in assisted living can be rewarding for those who love caring for people who require some help meeting their basic needs. Professionals who work in assisted living provide a valuable service to older and disabled adults. Likewise those who live in assisted living facilities benefit from living in an environment where they retain a measure of independence, but have the security of knowing that someone is always available to help when needed. Even with the positives of working in assisted living, there are some difficult aspects that those who choose that line of work must expect. The following are four most difficult aspects of working in assisted living.

  1. The work of an assisted living director can be physically demanding: The work can be physically demanding. Depending upon the number of residents served and the size of the facility, working in assisted living can tax the body. Assisted living residents can range from persons who are fully mobile and need little to no help moving about to legally blind and physically disabled. Residents who are not able to move about without help will need someone who can be their “hands and feet.” This means that there might be constant call bell signals indicating that the individual needs one thing or another, be it a snack, help with getting more comfortable in bed, or going to the restroom. In some cases, assistant living patients may need to be carried to a bathroom or shower. Failing to use the proper techniques when carrying or turning individuals can result in permanent back strain. Such work requires that assisted living personnel be healthy, agile, and most of all, patient.
  2. The pay for assisted living personnel may be lower than expected: The pay is not always in line with the expectations of going above and beyond the call of duty. Registered nurses and licensed practical nurses earn substantially more than certified nursing assistants or patient care technicians. Nursing assistants might find that they need to work a second job to make ends meet. For this reason, there tends to be a lot of turnover in assisted living facilities. Low pay affects the quality of care, especially when residents must adjust to the personalities and caregiving styles of new employees.
  3. Some residents can be difficult: It may be difficult to work with some residents. Some residents will have very high expectations of assisted living staff. Those who enter assistant living often do so reluctantly because they have always lived independently. Those who are accustomed to doing as they please in their own homes may find it difficult to be on a schedule. A resident who is frustrated about being unable to provide basic self-care may become angry and frustrated about having to share a room or follow certain rules. Sometimes family members’ expectations can make the work difficult. Family members may expect perfection from caregivers. If the patient receives no public assistance for care, a family who is paying out of pocket may demand full attention for their loved one.
  4. Losing a resident to death can be difficult: It is difficult when a resident dies. When assisted living staff work with residents day in and day out, they are bound to become very fond of them. Assisted living residents might have chronic conditions, but may be well enough that they do not need skilled nursing care. However, residents may be affected by sudden illness requiring hospitalization. When residents die unexpectedly, staff members may go through the same type of grieving process as they might when a family member or close friend dies. The longer one works at an assisted living job, the more he or she will experience loss. Constantly losing people who seem like family can cause stress and feeling of deep sadness, which could eventually lead to depression.