As Other Industries Hire Older Adults, Senior Living Is Following Suit

While senior living providers are focused on attracting younger workers to help fill job vacancies, they shouldn’t write off older adults, either.

Some large companies are looking to hire older adults in an effort to beat the ongoing labor crunch. The idea of hiring seniors has in recent times gained traction among big food service players like Bob Evans, McDonald’s Corp. (NYSE: MCD) and Starbucks — and the trend has even come to senior living.

Recruiters with those companies and others are finding workers at senior centers or churches and even placing wanted ads on AARP’s website, according to a recent Bloomberg report. The idea is that older adults, many of whom have decades of prior working experience, can be a good fit at casual restaurants and fast food eateries. And, many older adults seek part-time work in an effort to supplement their income after retiring, meaning they could be open to the idea.

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Another part of the reason why large service-oriented companies are seeking older adults as part-time workers has to with the tight labor market for employers, with job openings numbering 7 million by recent counts. And the senior living industry has seen its fair share of labor woes, too. About 1 million people work in positions across the industry, a number that is expected to grow to 1.2 million by 2026, according to numbers from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Bloomfield, New Jersey-based Juniper Communities has many associates over the typical retirement age of 65, with its oldest being 86, according to CEO Lynne Katzmann.

“Older adults are great for customer-facing positions,” Katzmann told Senior Housing News. “They tend to be gracious, kind and have good listening skills. Research suggests that older adults are more stable and able to be calm in the face of conflict.”

Hiring older adults may have other benefits, too. For example, it can help give them purpose — a concept that may be crucial as more baby boomers age into senior housing.

“Older adults may need to work for financial reasons but they are also staying in the workforce to have purpose,” Katzmann said. “We support that and believe hiring or keeping older adults in our workforce is part of makes our company thrive.”

Like Juniper, Chicago-based senior living provider Vi also hires older adults as employees. The provider earlier this year inked a partnership with AARP aimed at attracting older adults, according to Judy Whitcomb, a senior vice president of human resources and learning and organizational development with Vi.

“We actively market senior living careers and created a specific marketing campaign and career page for individuals pursuing second careers,” Whitcomb told SHN. “We are fortunate to have many employees who have chosen Vi as their second career.”

Other senior care industries are seeing retirees in the same light. For example, some home care providers are finding success by tapping into the older adult demographic for new hires.

Written by Tim Regan

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