Senior industry business owners and managers are challenged today to find enough staff to fill all of their open care positions. Demographics play a part in this as there are less people available for those jobs as well as the fact that these are lower paid positions and it is difficult work. Add to that the fact that there are going to be an increasing number of seniors as the baby boomers age.
The state is working on various Workforce Proposals to help attract more to the field of long term care. Bills are being written to provide grants and loan forgiveness to those going into this field. These will hopefully get approved in the next few months. Businesses are needing to get creative with their benefits and incentives to attract as well as retain staff. For people that have a heart for care giving and working with older adults there is a lot of choice in this field.
How Does This Affect Your Search For Long Term Care?
This shortage alters the questions you need to ask when you are touring an assisted living or memory care community. One of the key questions used to be “What is the average length of service of your care staff?” While this is still a good question to ask, the increased number of communities has increased the options for experienced caregivers. Thus the average length of service may be decreasing.
The additional questions that need to be asked now are things like: What is the average time in the industry of your caregivers?” “How are new caregivers trained and monitored?” “What is the ongoing training that you provide to caregivers?” “Do you have to use contracted staff vs your own employees?” In addition to these questions, take sufficient time in your tour to observe caregivers. Come back for a meal or activity and watch the interactions between caregivers and residents.
Staffing is critical to good care. Hopefully more young people will look to this as a future career.