Choosing a Meaningful Career PathBy GHI Communications Staff
The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that when the last of the Baby Boom generation turns 65 in 2029, there will be more people over the age of 65 than people under the age of 18. Given this statistic, the demand for aging services will be unprecedented. In fact, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) reports that 70% of people over 65 will require some form of long-term care.
This demand creates an outstanding opportunity for job growth and expansion within the senior living industry. In 2016, Argentum, one of the leading national trade associations serving companies that own, operate and support professionally managed senior living communities in the United States, released a report stating that the senior living industry must recruit 1.2 million new employees to keep up with this surge of consumers.
The report, “Getting to 2025: A Roadmap for the Senior Living Industry,” details how the industry must create attractive working environments and facilitate effective career paths to bring more workers into the area of senior services.
At Goodwin House, we pride ourselves on recruiting only the best in the field. Our employees—all of whom we see as family—come from more than 65 different countries. Regardless of whether they provide care directly to residents, work in administration or contribute to our custodial and dining services teams, we want to create an environment of respect where employees believe they make a difference.
We are as proud of our retention as we are our recruitment. Seventeen percent of the staff have served at Goodwin House for more than ten years, and some have been with us for more than 30! The reasons why people pursue careers in our industry vary, though engaging with residents seems a common thread. Read more from some of our current employees about what drew them to our field of aging services.
My journey to a career in aging services began while I was attending college at Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA). I learned that Goodwin House offered tuition assistance, which immediately sparked an interest for me. After being here for only a few months, I knew that Goodwin House is the place for me!
When I was in Dining Services, my favorite part of the job was talking to residents, bonding over food topics, school, family, etc. Our residents enjoy hearing our background stories as much as we enjoying learning more about them. The staff have become friends and family to me. It is refreshing to walk through the hallways and be greeted with a smile from someone, even if they do not know you. I am now in the Human Resources department, and I love it!
I am very grateful for the opportunities Goodwin House has given me and would recommend this organization to anyone who wants to expand their talents and skills.
When I was 16 years old, I volunteered at a local senior living community every Sunday with my friends. We sang hymns and patriotic music with the residents. Through volunteering at this community, I met Dorothy, who became my adopted Grandma. I was the only person who visited her during the week. The experience with Dorothy taught me that relationships are key for living a healthy life. I also learned that I feel fulfilled when serving those who may feel vulnerable and alone. And I wanted to pursue a career in helping others.
After graduating with my bachelor’s degree from the University of Utah, I decided to return to school for a master’s degree. At The George Washington University’s Masters of Health Administration program, I was able to focus my studies in long-term care.
I love working in aging services because it combines my talents with my passion. I am able to lead teams to care for residents in a holistic manner. Every day, I use technology, data analysis, financial management, quality improvement and leadership skills. Most importantly, I am able to learn from “The Greatest Generation.” They have taught me the following: aging is a beautiful and incredible journey; forgiveness should be given freely; every moment of being a parent should be cherished; and listening is more important than talking.
I grew up in Arlington, living next door to my grandparents. As unique as that was, another family on the same tiny street also had grandparents living next door. As children, we spent time outdoors together. And we were in and out of the homes of each other’s grandparents, munching on freshly baked orange zest chocolate chip cookies—a top-secret recipe.
My experience growing up was so rare, which I quickly realized as I got older. It instilled in me a strong sense of love, respect and admiration for older adults. I knew at a young age that I cared.
I took coursework in Gerontology while completing my undergraduate degree at Brigham Young University. One of the professors was an older gentleman, who always wore a bowtie and taught about aging with passion. He lit a spark inside me, and I was hooked.
To those considering working in the field of aging services, I’d share a quote from Nelson Mandela: “A society that does not value its older people denies its roots and endangers its future. Let us strive to enhance their capacity to support themselves for as long as possible and, when they cannot do so anymore, to care for them.”
The future needs individuals who are compassionate and can see the value in caring for older adults. I have been in this field for more than 15 years and have been presented with multiple opportunities for growth and creativity. I am thrilled to see the ways that I will be able to continue to make an impact in the lives of older adults.
**Here is Jessica’s grandmother’s cookie recipe for your enjoyment!
Louise’s Orange Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
3 ounces cream cheese
2 tsp orange peel
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
6 oz chocolate chips(miniature are best)
Bake at 350 degrees for 9-13 mins.