In Assisted Living, Staff Retention Speaks Volumes

By Michelle Seitzer / Posted on 07 March 2012

People leave their jobs all the time, voluntarily and involuntarily: maternity leave, a move, a career change, layoffs, retirement.

In assisted living and other senior care communities, staff turnover is generally quite high, and not just for the usual reasons above. Higher turnover rates in this industry are often the result of caregiver burnout, a change in management, or a better offer elsewhere.

Burnout’s most common victims are the “front line” staff like nurses, nurses’ aides, and activities directors. These individuals spend the majority of their day interacting with and providing personal care for residents, and the work can be especially draining given that many in their care have a dementia diagnosis, which further complicates daily care tasks.

Yet the very personal nature of the work also means that employees develop relationships with the residents, many of them positive ones. It’s a double-edged sword though. The connection makes the work rewarding and fulfilling despite its challenges, but when a resident’s health declines, or another passes away, the grief can take an emotional toll.

Knowing the complexities of the job, managers should offer respite, training and advancement opportunities for their staff. When the employees are supported this way, they are likely to stay in the position longer, which benefits the residents too. Empower and encourage your employees and everyone wins.


There are 2 Comments about this post

  1. Thad P says,

    Is it possible to find the staff turnover rate at a given facility?


    on 07 March 2012 / 9:05 PM

  2. I’m not sure how to find out the rate at a specific facility (besides asking the Human Resources director), but the National Center on Assisted Living (ncal.org) and the Assisted Living Federation of America (alfa.org) have good data in that regard.


    on 08 March 2012 / 9:31 AM


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