People to Know
Who Works at an Assisted Living Community?
Many families are unfamiliar with what an assisted living community can offer their parent. You may never have had exposure to an assisted living community and this type of care before. As you begin your research, you will find it helpful to understand who works at an assisted living community and the various roles within a community that will support your parent. As you tour communities, it is important to meet as many of the staff members as possible and understand how they will interact with your parent.
Care managers may also be referred to as caregivers or care staff. If your parent requires some level of medical care or assistance like grooming or dressing, the care managers are the individuals who will be working closest with your parent throughout the day. Care managers are the people who will likely spend the most time with your parent or loved one and provide them with a consistency of care. They will be a key resource when you move your parent into a community to understand how their transition is going. They can be instrumental in helping your parent adjust to their new home by introducing them to other residents, getting them involved in activities, finding them a place to sit in the dining room, and helping them learn the daily routine. Moving can be stressful for some, so collaborate with one of your parent’s care managers to find little ways to make your parent more comfortable and happier during the transition.
The front desk staff or concierge at an assisted living community is more than a greeter to visitors. They are available to answer questions and assist both residents and family members. If you have any questions or need services for your parent, the well-informed front desk staff is a helpful resource. Often the front desk is your point person to schedule transportation, book appointments in the salon or barbershop, request maintenance for a repair issue, schedule meetings for families with key staff, and assist with scheduling housekeeping or laundry services. Every Aegis Living community has a concierge who can assist both residents and families with their questions or can direct you to the correct person for assistance.
The general manager oversees all day-to-day community operations, staff, and family relationships. Some communities may refer to this role as executive director. This dynamic position in any community supervises the staff and recruits new team members who fit the culture of the community. They ensure that everything within the community runs smoothly, including the kitchen, maintenance, activities, care, and more. This position sets the tone for the community.
Activities or Life Enrichment Directors
The activities coordinator plays an important role in the community and may be called a variety of names depending on the company. At Aegis Living, we call this position, Life Enrichment Director. The responsibility of this role is to plan all activities, entertainment, classes, games, and excursions to create a robust daily calendar of activities for residents. This role caters activities to the interests and hobbies of the individuals who live there. The activities coordinator can be instrumental when your parent moves into a new community to get them immediately involved. They know every resident well and are good at introducing your parent to other residents. They also match residents who they think have a lot in common and would be good friends, which can be invaluable as they adjust to their new home. For a parent with cultural or religious needs, an activities coordinator can help arrange a specific cultural event, religious celebration, or connect them with local religious leaders. This position helps establish the personality and energy of the community.
Health Services Director or Medical Director
Each resident’s medical care is overseen by a health service director (HSD) and may be called a medical director in other communities. The HSD will first assess the needs of your parent and their current health concerns to create a comprehensive care plan. The HSD will manage the health of your parent, note any changes in their health, complete follow up assessments, and update their care plan as needed. In determining and monitoring staffing levels, Aegis Living considers resident assessments and other factors. Most often HSDs or medical directors are registered nurses who can communicate medical concerns or physical changes with a resident’s physician. Some communities only have a nurse on staff part-time, and some are on-call full time. During your tour, you may want to ask about the nursing coverage.
As a partner to the health services director, our care directors manage all aspects of our care staff. The care directors oversee recruiting, hiring, and training care staff. By retaining the best staff, this position helps maintain a consistency of care with dedicated care managers, or caregivers. They work together with the HSD to make sure that every resident gets the best quality care and attention. The care director is the person who will make sure your parent’s needs are met every day.
Maintenance Director or Facilities Director
The maintenance director is responsible for maintenance and repairs in the community. The maintenance team keeps the community looking beautiful and safe, prepares apartments for new residents, and fixes any issues that might occur in your loved one’s home. At Aegis Living, the concierge can arrange for the maintenance director to assist with any repairs or work needed in your loved one’s apartment. Depending on the size of the community, it may also have a groundskeeper, or those duties may fall under the responsibilities of the maintenance director and their crew.
Visiting In-House Physician
Residents can certainly remain with their current physician if they choose, and most assisted living communities will provide transportation to doctor’s appointments. But some communities, including many Aegis Living communities, partner with local visiting medical providers who make regularly scheduled visits to the community. Residents can be seen in the comfort of their own homes without having to go to a doctor’s office and sit in a waiting room. Not every assisted living community offers this type of service, so you will want to inquire as you are touring a community.
You and your family will meet people in some of these various positions during your tour. By understanding their distinct roles, you will be more prepared to ask questions and understand how they will interact with your parent. If you are interested in touring an Aegis Living community to meet our staff, contact your local community to set up an appointment.
Additional Resources: Lake Union (Seattle)
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