Senior living is normally not “top of mind” as a career path when a new graduate is entering the workforce… but it should be! Currently, over one million older Americans are taking advantage of assisted living facilities and all they offer. And although that is an impressive number, that number is expected to double in the next 15 years! That means the opportunities for advancement will be abundant and varied for those savvy individuals choosing to enter this field right now.
Rapid industry growth coupled with a booming trend in hospitality-focused retirement communities make this line of work not only rewarding, but also an excellent choice for someone looking for career development. Furthermore, by the year 2030, when children born in 2012 will reach the age of 18, over 77 million Baby Boomers plan to retire, offering job seekers even more exciting opportunities in senior living when considering a career path.
Here are just a few of the many choices available in the exciting, rapidly growing senior living and assisted living industry:
- Executive Directors
- Sales Associates
- Hospitality Management
- Human Resources
- Physical therapy
- Customer service
- Event coordination
- Housekeeping and maintenance services
- Administrative services
There are and will continue to be many employment opportunities in the senior living industry spanning diverse fields of interest. In fact, industry experts estimate the need to recruit 1.2 million new employees by the year 2025.
If your interest lies in the physical therapy or physical fitness areas, you will be glad to know that your career picture is bright, as opportunities for personal trainers and physical fitness experts are expected to increase in the next several years. Today’s seniors believe in “active aging” and are not as prone to spend their free time being sedentary.
As the expected life span is lengthening, our older population is beginning to realize that they have many potentially healthy years left, and they don’t want to waste precious time being unproductive or inactive. Frankly, they have no intention of sitting in a rocking chair all day, watching life pass them by; they intend to be a vital part of it!
With 75% of senior living residents dealing with at least two chronic conditions, many retirement communities and “age qualified housing” (55 or older) communities already have wellness programs in place for their members, and much more are developing such programs. As retirement communities looked forward to the increase in potential residents, development of age-appropriate wellness programs became a priority, as a 2010 survey conducted by the International Council on Active Aging (ICAA) found. This survey showed that among continuing care retirement communities, independent living communities, assisted living communities, senior centers, health club or medically based wellness/fitness centers, and other locations, 65% had a formal wellness program for older adults, while 29% offered wellness activities but no official program. (ICAA 2010).
“While the larger economy may be suffering from a cold, the active-aging industry is in good health,” explained Colin Milner, CEO of International Council on Active Aging. “From the business perspective, the market of older adults is large and growing, and overall older adults have a net worth that enables them to make choices to maintain their health and keep their days interesting. The results of this survey show that businesses are positioning themselves to meet those needs, by building and upgrading facilities and expanding their programs.”
Programs focusing on offering physical and mental health activities for active seniors are available in increasing numbers in today’s senior living facilities and other activity centers servicing the senior population, where residents believe in living life as fully as possible. These communities, full of active seniors, will continue to grow in the coming years, and employment opportunities in the senior living industry will continue to increase as a result.