There are many options for those who wish to pursue a career as a caregiver. This is mostly because the demand for caregiving services has increased due to an aging population, and if you are drawn to a life of helping others, then this has opened up a number of possibilities and opportunities for you.
However, as with many things in life, having this much choice can be a double-edged sword, and you might be confused about how you go about achieving this dream, and even what some of those choices might entail. To help you with this, here is an overview of what becoming an assisted living manager might entail for you, as well as any additional certification you are likely to need.
What is an assisted living manager?
An assisted living manager is a primarily administration-based position, which acts as a hub for the efficient running of an assisted living facility for seniors or anyone else who needs help with their basic everyday living.
What does an assisted living manager do?
As mentioned above, an assisted living manager acts as a hub for the facility. You might think this merely involves directing the very many caregivers you would find in such a facility, but the manager’s duties cover quite a wide range. This would also include other employees like catering staff, other administrative staff (one of which you may be already) and the various maintenance workers, and cleaning operatives that are necessary for an assisted living facility.
Going one step further than this, it may also involve essentially acting as the HR manager for the facility, as well as managing the payroll. However, as you might imagine, this would depend (like many of the other functions) on the size of the facility that you would be managing; and unless you already have extremely relevant experience, it is in a smaller residential facility that you will most likely start your career.
Speaking to potential residents
One area that is likely to remain constant though, is speaking with potential residents and their families regarding what the facility has to offer, and how they can meet the needs of the individual that could be coming under that facility’s care.
This can involve drawing up agreements and showing potential residents or their current caregivers around the facility, which is a key part of reassuring all of those involved in the patiets care process that the care of their loved ones is still in good hands.
Recruitment and training
Another string to the bow of an assisted living manager could see them being involved in the recruitment and training of caregivers. This might not involve actual hands-on training, but more to screen potential candidates, and then make sure new caregivers are attaining the standards set in those agreements put in place with residents. This might also involve overseeing the reviews of their performance in the caregiver role and recommending improvements accordingly.
Just as importantly, an assisted living manager will need to keep their finger on the pulse of what is going on and take into account any changes to local or national legislation that occur. The assisted living manager will then have to alter the policies of the residential facility accordingly. This is a large responsibility, so training for this role is absolutely essential (more on that later).
Other duties of an assisted living manager
As well as all of this, in a smaller facility, the manager may also be called upon to become one of the caregivers as part of their duties. While this is not commonplace (and in the majority of cases managers will be almost exclusively administrative), in emergency situations they must be prepared to ‘muck in’ and take their share of the load. This is especially important in cases of staff shortages, holidays, and of course situations like the recent pandemic. This will involve caregiver training for managers if they have not had some before, and definitely basic first aid training that could end up helping to save a life.
What experience and qualities does an assisted living manager need?
Assisted living managers can come from a number of backgrounds, some of which are purely academic and don’t always involve any practical experience. In most cases, however, an assisted living manager will typically either have a background in administration or as a caregiver. This can be either in an assisted living facility or a similar environment. While experience plays a good part, any candidate will need to have other types of skills to make them stand out from the crowd.
At the top of that list is being a great communicator. This is because an assisted living manager will not only need to communicate with members of the care team and support staff, but also with health professionals who may have a different agenda from that of the manager. In addition to this, any manager will have to be, by definition, a very good organizer and be aware of all the new developments in technology that could make both their job easier, and the quality of life for those in their care so much better.
How much does an assistant living manager make?
Although the salary might not be your primary motivation for pursuing this career, any manager will want to know that their efforts are being recognized appropriately. However, the problem here is rather than a solid figure, the answer is ‘it depends’.
This is because the various assisted living facilities in the country differ in size and the number of residents, as well as the specific needs of those residents. So, the salary anyone might expect in this role will vary accordingly, depending on which of the many duties the facility requires you to perform.
As things stand, a study shows that the salary can range between $30,123 and $165,380 a year with a median average being around $93,000. This wide range reflects the point above about the variety of care facilities around and the different challenges involved. Yet, as you would expect, the better qualified candidates are always at the front of the queue for the better and more highly paid positions, and this will normally involve having the correct certification for the role.
What do you have to do to become an assisted living manager?
Now that you have seen what is involved, you will have a better idea if this is the right choice for you. If you are still thinking this is a role you see yourself thriving in, you now need to look in detail at what you need to do, stating with what specific certification is necessary to put alongside your current qualifications and experience.
Getting assisted living manager certification
A large step forward in this could be in getting assisted living manager certification training. Not only will this leave you better equipped for the role, but it is also (depending on where you live) likely to be a state requirement. As an essential building block in the process, it is important that you can take this qualification in the way that works the best for you.
Luckily, these courses can be taken in a number of places. You may have your own preference, but more commonly now programs like these are taken online. This is because taking an online course does not typically interfere with any current work commitments you happen to have. In addition to this, if you have to attend a course in person you are limited to those in the immediate area, whereas an online course gives you the option to pick the best and most cost-effective place to learn, not just the nearest.
This results in less interruption to your life even if there are whole day sessions, and the learned skills can be used in your current role if they are relevant. This is because a course of this nature will cover important topics like laws and regulations, business operations, and caring; especially in key areas such as Alzheimer’s and Dementia.
This certification can open a huge number of doors for applicants and give you the best chance of getting your first assisted living manager role, although as indicated at the start, this may be in a smaller facility.
To wrap everything up
An assisted living manager is at the very center of the running of an assisted living facility, coordinating medical professionals, caregivers and support staff. Their duties cover almost every aspect of what goes on and can involve HR, payroll, and even hands-on provision of care in emergencies. This is because care facilities for the aging population come in all shapes and sizes and everything from the duties involved to the salary earned can vary massively wherever you go.
One thing remains constant, however, and that is those with the correct certification not only make more promising candidate, but are also likely to be far better equipped to meet the challenges of the role in one of the biggest growth areas in healthcare.