Twenty years ago, senior living facilities focused more on healthcare and less on hospitality. Today, however, a growing number of facilities have flipped that model. Not only are people moving into senior living communities at a younger age (and living independently for many years), they expect high-quality experiences — akin to what’s offered at five-star hotels and resorts. Not surprisingly, modern-day senior living facilities have shifted their hiring priorities. Instead of seeking out candidates who have healthcare facility management experience, they’re searching for candidates who have hospitality management experience.
Individuals interested in pursuing careers that allow them to address the dreams, goals and needs of today’s seniors can start by developing the knowledge and skills they’ll need to be successful. Earning a degree in leadership and management, such as a bachelor’s in senior living management, is the first step toward pursuing jobs in this field.
What Is Senior Living Management?
Senior living management involves overseeing residents’ healthcare and housing needs and creating dynamic experiences that surpass what’s available in traditional retirement communities. From developing plans to implement group fitness and aquafit classes, to exploring renovations of outdoor spaces to incorporate areas where residents can garden, today’s senior living management professionals must have foundational knowledge of hospitality management to excel in their role.
The job duties of professionals working in senior living management vary widely based on their position and the retirement community in which they work. For example, whereas professionals employed at independent living communities might spend most of their time focused on lifestyle experiences, such as creating one-of-a-kind events, activities, and outings, those employed at specialized care facilities, such as facilities that cater to residents with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, may focus on developing programs and outings that residents can enjoy with their families.
Benefits of Working as a Leader in Senior Care
Individuals considering working as leaders in senior care should know this isn’t just a 9-to-5 job. It’s a profession that allows them to help seniors live happier, longer and stronger lives. Increased opportunities for socialization and participation in group activities not only improve seniors’ quality of life, they can reduce their stress, improve their overall wellness and help them stay mentally alert.
Careers in Senior Living Management
Students who earn a degree in senior living management can pursue any of several different career paths. Examples include community manager, operations manager, senior care consultant and retirement community executive director.
Senior care community managers coordinate and supervise activities, health, wellness and education programs that support the well-being of residents. They’re also tasked with ensuring that the retirement community in which they work remains compliant with state regulations. Although the exact job duties of professionals in this field depend on the size of the retirement community, community managers often supervise staff, report to upper-level management and implement programs.
Community Manager Salary and Job Growth
Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) notes that employment of community managers is expected to grow by 17% between the years 2019 and 2029, which is much faster than the average growth projected for all occupations. The BLS further notes that as of May 2019, professionals in this field had a median annual salary of $67,150.
Senior care facility operations managers oversee all day-to-day operations of the organization they’re employed by, such as activity and entertainment budgeting, reporting, client relations, service coordination and delivery, and emergency planning. Other responsibilities include making staff schedules, ensuring projects are completed and crafting the organization’s policies.
Operations Manager Salary and Job Growth
Employment of operations managers is expected to grow by 6% between the years 2019 and 2029, which is about as fast as the average growth projected for all occupations. The BLS also notes that as of May 2019, the median annual salary for operations managers was $100,780.
Senior Care Consultant
Senior care consultants help seniors and their families understand and navigate care options. They meet with clients to learn more about their lifestyle, medical and financial needs. Professionals who work within this capacity may refer clients to a registered nurse who can perform a medical assessment. Senior care consultants help clients and their families determine the type of setting that will fit the senior’s needs and provide the best possible care.
Senior Care Consultant Salary and Job Growth
The BLS classifies senior care consultants under the category of medical and health service managers, noting that their employment is expected to grow by 32% between the years 2019 and 20298, which is much faster than the average growth projected for all occupations. The BLS also reports that as of May 2019, professionals in this field had a median annual salary of $100,980.
Retirement Community Executive Director
An individual hired to work as the executive director of a retirement community is tasked with managing personnel, building relationships with residents and overseeing the quality of the retirement community’s activities and amenities. Professionals who choose this career path also meet with managers and staff, oversee emergency response preparedness and review and develop the facility’s policies and procedures.
Retirement Community Executive Director Salary and Job Growth
Data from PayScale notes that as of September 2020, the median annual salary for retirement community executive directors is around $96,000. The BLS classifies retirement community executive directors under the category of top executives. The job growth rate for top executives is projected to be 4% between the years 2019 and 2029, which is about as fast as the average growth forecast for all occupations.
Pursue a Career in Senior Living Management
The needs of today’s seniors differ vastly from the needs of their parents and grandparents. Many want to travel, remain active and experience a lifestyle they worked hard to enjoy. Individuals interested in pursuing careers in senior living management should start with the right education. Earning an online degree in leadership and management, such as the University of Central Florida’s online Bachelor of Science in Senior Living Management, can help prepare students to pursue their professional goals.
Graduates of UCF’s dynamic, online program are not only taught about the basics of senior living and care, they’re provided with the knowledge and skills needed to help shape and support the lifestyles that senior facility residents desire.
Discover how pursuing an online Bachelor of Science in Senior Living Management can put you on a path toward the job you want.
Online Leadership and Management Degrees at UCF
- Career and Technical Education, BS
- Career and Technical Education, MA
- College Teaching and Leadership
- Corrections Leadership
- Cyber Risk Management
- Destination Marketing and Management
- Educational Leadership, MA
- Emergency and Crisis Management, MECM
- Engineering Management, MS
- Event Management
- Health Informatics and Information Management, BS
- Health Services Administration, BS
- Hospitality Management, BS
- Industrial Engineering, MSIE
- Local Director of Career & Technical Education
- Master of Public Administration, MPA
- Nonprofit Management
- Nonprofit Management, MNM
- Police Leadership
- Project Engineering
- Public Administration
- Research Smarts
- Restaurant & Foodservice Management, BS
- Senior Living Management, BS