Assisted living is a senior lifestyle option defined by the around-the-clock caregivers who provide a friendly hand or encouraging word to assist residents at a community.
At Cedarhurst, our caregivers are at the core of the resident experience. They are dedicated, flexible, kind, and up for any challenge. Our caregivers know how our residents like their coffee, how to get residents to crack a smile on a hard day, and the names of people who are important to each resident.
If you’ve ever wondered what it's like to be an assisted living caregiver, we’re giving you an inside look thanks to insight from an assisted living caregiver whose career path has brought her into a role as Life Enrichment Director at one of our Cedarhurst assisted living communities.
A Lifelong Passion and a New Start
Caregivers find their way to Cedarhurst communities in a variety of ways. Sometimes, they have worked as a caregiver before in a home care or senior living capacity. Other times, they have no formal caregiving experience at all. In all cases, Cedarhurst caregivers come to their community with a desire to connect with older adults and make a positive impact in the lives of those they serve.
For the caregiver we spoke with, she decided to go down a new path in a senior living community. “Seniors have always been my passion,” she says.
That passion drove her to step away from her office management job and walk into a Cedarhurst community to begin a new phase in her work life. She took a leap of faith into a new industry in order to find her life’s passion: a career in senior care.
A Journey Begins—But You Aren’t Alone
When you work as an assisted living caregiver at a Cedarhurst community, you can be sure that you’ll find the training you need in order to feel confident. You’ll find a team that has your back and peers who have the same heart for service as you do.
For the caregiver we spoke with, their team atmosphere is what gets everyone through the challenging days. “Our team naturally works together,” she says.
This teamwork keeps spirits high and residents happy. Of course, the busy days are full of hard work, but in the end, it’s all worth it for the residents and for the team you work with.
Getting to Know Residents
Cedarhurst communities are built on the principle of person-centered care, where every part of support or assistance is tailored to the individual preferences of each resident. Caregivers are a key component of our Living TRUESM culture, and providing personalized support begins with getting to know each individual resident.
This means taking time to read the Resident Story that each resident completes upon arriving at Cedarhurst, but it doesn’t stop there. In fact, that is simply the beginning of the relationship you will build together. For the caregiver we spoke with, she gets to know residents by being a part of their day-to-day life and routine. She takes time to ask questions and listen to the answers, making friendly chats an integral part of her day.
“I treat everyone the way I want to be treated,” she says, noting that kindness and taking time to listen can go a long way in building a relationship with those she serves.
It’s a Family Affair
Getting to know residents also means getting to know the friends and family members they hold dear. Family members and friends often hold keys to connection, like sharing the story about a favorite song, comforting meal, or silly memory that is sure to bring a smile to the face of anyone who hears it. Getting to know family members is an important part of being a Cedarhurst caregiver.
The caregiver we spoke with lives in the same town where she works, which means at her senior living community she ends up caring for her neighbors, her friends’ parents, and familiar faces she has seen around town. She knows some of their histories because they have lived in the same town, but she dives even deeper by spending quality time with family members when they come to visit.
Getting to know family members also means Cedarhurst caregivers are often the faces of their Cedarhurst community. Caregivers are the ones who are giving updated information about how the resident’s day went. Keeping family members informed about what is happening when they aren’t around can build trust and give them the reassurance that someone loves their senior loved one nearly as much as they do.
Opportunities to Grow
Cedarhurst caregivers have the opportunity, if they want it, to continue to grow their senior living career. Caregivers can take ongoing education courses, become mentors and train new team members, or even step up to a management role.
The caregiver we spoke to is now the Life Enrichment Director at her community, a solid member of the leadership team. But her caregiver roots are still there, of course. She loves to find new ways to connect with residents and personalize their experiences.
For example, every week, she creates a buzz around her community by hosting an invitation-only meal in the private dining room. Every resident gets a turn and they look forward to being on the limited guest list. She works to make the dinner extra special by creating a theme for the event, cooking favorite foods and desserts, decorating the private dining room, and inviting residents she thinks will have something in common.
It’s during these special meals that she can sit down and continue her conversation with each resident, finding new information that will help her create more joy and comfort in their daily life.
Is Being an Assisted Living Caregiver Right for You?
Whether you’re looking for a career change or just looking to find a senior living community that values team members as much as their residents, take some time to learn more about working at Cedarhurst. Our caregivers come to work every day to be a part of a team and to make a positive impact on the lives of the residents we serve.
The assisted living caregiver we spoke to told us about a conversation she had with her mom after she got the caregiving job. Her mom was wondering what her day-to-day work entailed. The caregiver said, “My job is to make people happy.” Her mom smiled and asked, “And you get paid for that?”
Yes, Mom—she does.