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Millennials find careers in senior care

by Valerie Sweeten, senior living correspondent – Houston Chronicle
February 17, 2917

Millennials in the workplace are finding careers in senior care at a substantial rate and are embracing a culture that has much to teach them on many levels.

According to the Pew Research Center, the number of millennials in the U.S. labor force has surpassed that of Gen Xers, now representing the largest segment of the workforce as a whole.

In the senior care and housing industry, millennials have the chance to find positions in a wide variety of careers including health care, marketing, dining services, hospitality, management, accounting, real estate and administration. Another appeal is the possibility for flexible working hours, where senior living communities have various shifts allowing their employees to have more of a work/life balance.

A career path in this industry has this generation taking notice where most millennials, born after 1982, have a college degree, and possibly work in full-time in large, private-sector companies.

At The Village of the Heights, numerous contributions by members of their millennial-age staff are being felt in this community.

From ages 22 to 25, residents get to see and interact with ideas, activities and more with their staff, from the executive director to the memory care coordinator and the director of dining services and executive chef.

Executive director Anthony Ormsbee entered the workforce at retirement center management with a focus on marketing four years ago, and has been in his current position for under a year. His facility has 80 residents and 67 employees.

His work in the senior care and housing industry has been a welcome change as well as a different approach to the corporate world. It’s the focus on service and creating a life well lived, in addition to having a staff who also enjoys their work that inspires him.

“You always have the opportunity to have conversations with the residents, who have rich life histories. Every single resident has something they can teach you. My team is building that relationship with every resident,” Ormsbee said.

Revamped activity calendars, continuing education and innovative approaches to activities are a few aspects of her job that Christian Salazar, memory care programs coordinator, finds rewarding.

Salazar, who has a history of volunteering at senior facilities and communities, wants to keep residents involved while enriching their lives. One such program is The Village’s use of Spice Painting, which was inspired by Texas A&M University professor Dr. Christine Tisone’s project regarding dementia patients.

“I want to keep residents engaged and feeling accomplished,” Salazar said. “It’s really important. They motivate me to stay on my toes.”

When it comes to dining, Adam Atterberry, director of dining service and executive chef, has found that his position is both rewarding and challenging.

“Our residents always have new suggestions and are not scared to tell you what they think. We make things from scratch, and I go online to look at different things. They like to share recipes from their family and growing up. These are things I’ve never seen or done before,” he said.

Atterberry’s goal is heighten their dining experience.

“When they come down for three meals a day, they eat and socialize while actually enjoying their time together. I want to provide their best meal,” he said.

Ormsbee agreed with his co-worker’s approach to serving their residents.

“We’re pretty excited about senior living, and what we can try,” Ormsbee said. “It’s a really exciting time, and we’re looking to new ideas to have an impact.”

Millennials in the workplace are finding careers in senior care at a substantial rate and are embracing a culture that has much to teach them on many levels.

According to the Pew Research Center, the number of millennials in the U.S. labor force has surpassed that of Gen Xers, now representing the largest segment of the workforce as a whole.

In the senior care and housing industry, millennials have the chance to find positions in a wide variety of careers including health care, marketing, dining services, hospitality, management, accounting, real estate and administration. Another appeal is the possibility for flexible working hours, where senior living communities have various shifts allowing their employees to have more of a work/life balance.

A career path in this industry has this generation taking notice where most millennials, born after 1982, have a college degree, and possibly work in full-time in large, private-sector companies.

At The Village of the Heights, numerous contributions by members of its millennial-age staff are being felt in this community.

From ages 22 to 25, residents get to see and interact with ideas, activities and more with their staff, from the executive director to the memory care coordinator and the director of dining services and executive chef.

Executive director Anthony Ormsbee entered the workforce at retirement center management with a focus on marketing four years ago, and has been in his current position for under a year. His facility has 80 residents and 67 employees.

His work in the senior care and housing industry has been a welcome change as well as a different approach to the corporate world. It’s the focus on service and creating a life well lived, in addition to having a staff who also enjoys their work that inspires him.

“You always have the opportunity to have conversations with the residents, who have rich life histories. Every single resident has something they can teach you. My team is building that relationship with every resident,” Ormsbee said.

Revamped activity calendars, continuing education and innovative approaches to activities are a few aspects of her job that Christian Salazar, memory care programs coordinator, finds rewarding.

Salazar, who has a history of volunteering at senior facilities and communities, wants to keep residents involved while enriching their lives.

One such program is The Village’s use of Spice Painting, which was inspired by Texas A&M University professor Dr. Christine Tisone’s project regarding dementia patients.

“I want to keep residents engaged and feeling accomplished,” Salazar said. “It’s really important. They motivate me to stay on my toes.”

When it comes to dining, Adam Atterberry, director of dining service and executive chef, has found that his position is both rewarding and challenging.

“Our residents always have new suggestions and are not scared to tell you what they think. We make things from scratch, and I go online to look at different things. They like to share recipes from their family and growing up. These are things I’ve never seen or done before,” he said.

Atterberry’s goal is heighten their dining experience.

“When they come down for three meals a day, they eat and socialize while actually enjoying their time together. I want to provide their best meal,” he said.

Ormsbee agreed with his co-worker’s approach to serving their residents.

“We’re pretty excited about senior living, and what we can try,” Ormsbee said. “It’s a really exciting time, and we’re looking to new ideas to have an impact.”


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