Keeping Your Senior Living Caregivers Happy at Work


Often, in a workplace where teamwork counts, we hear staff refer to each other as “my work family.” Like members of a family, coworkers offer support. They assist each other and keep each other motivated and positive.  An experienced and effective senior living administrator knows the value of caregivers who take pride in their services and care about their clients.

Caregivers occupy a special place in the lives of your residents, as you well know. If a client has little or no contact with the outside world, your staff can literally take the place of family. Even a resident who sees family on a regular basis understands how much he or she depends on your employees for safety and comfort. Who does Mr. Sireci call at 1 a.m. when his chest feels tight? Who does Mrs. Ortiz want to talk to about her salt-free diet?

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What can you do, in your role as administrator and supervisor, to support these important people—your team?

Celebrate them. Your senior living staff handles many not-so-fun jobs that are nevertheless vitally important to keep your residents healthy and happy. Nurses and CNAs supervise health and hygiene. Custodial workers keep the building spotless. The culinary department keeps track of special diets. Showing you recognize how they help you keep things running can be as simple as a note: “Coffee and pastries in the breakroom. Enjoy.” Praise and appreciation cost nothing and are often more valued than you realize. A note or email that says, “Good job. I noticed!” can make someone’s day.

Make their area inviting. When your staff catches a few moments to rest and rejuvenate, do they have a place to do so? In other words, what is the breakroom like? Is it big enough? Are there enough chairs? Are the tables and counters clean or sticky? When you enter, are you hit by the smell of someone’s day-old lunch, or is there a fresh, appealing scent?

Help them help you. Your people deserve an environment that helps them give the best care possible to your clients. This means, of course, all the tools they need to do their jobs. No one should have to scrounge for a tongue depressor before checking a resident for strep throat. Cleaning staff should focus on cleaning and not have to worry about whether there is enough bleach to last the day.

A pleasant work space is as important as having the right tools. Make sure your site is warm enough in winter and comfortably cool in summer. Rooms and common areas should be well-lit and adequately ventilated. Nothing is worse than working in a dark, stuffy room! Consider adding a light fragrance to the atmosphere. Nursing personnel, who often need to assist residents with personal care, will especially appreciate a scent like jasmine, white linen, honeysuckle, or sea breeze.

An administrator who has mastered the art of supporting her team soon finds that the team is behind her all the way!

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3810 Shutterfly Rd.

Charlotte, NC 28217

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