If you or an older adult in your family is preparing to move to a senior living community, you might feel a little uncertain about which staff member can provide answers to the various questions you have. This is true before you move, as well as after. It’s easy to confuse the different roles people play in a community designed for senior care.
We thought it might be helpful to define the staff positions you typically find in a senior living community, and what each one does to advance the organization’s mission.
Meet the Senior Living Team
In broad terms, senior living communities usually have team members in operations, nursing and clinical staff, and sales. You’ll also find regional and divisional team members on-site to support the local community team.
Here’s a quick overview of the team members you can rely on at a senior living community:
- Executive Director: Most communities have an Executive Director who is responsible for the overall operations of the local organization. Depending on the state the community is located, the Executive Director might be required to have a special license. Department managers report to the Executive Director who is typically accountable to a regional manager of operations.
- Nursing team: While the titles of the clinical staff can vary greatly from one senior community to another, the structure is typically the same. There is usually one overall nursing director who has several nurse managers reporting to them. In addition, the communities have caregivers, also known as certified nursing assistants (CNA) or care managers. These care managers are responsible for residents’ personal care and support, such as bathing, grooming, and dressing. They also encourage residents to participate in life enrichment activities, and assist them if necessary. The nursing supervisors are usually responsible for scheduling, staff management, and medication management.
- Operations teams: There are a variety of additional roles that fall under the umbrella of operations. The dining services program, transportation team, maintenance and housekeeping staff, and life enrichment department are the most common. They each play an important role in resident lives and in helping the community run efficiently.
- Sales staff: The sales teams in senior living communities are responsible for building relationships with both external referral sources and with prospective residents and their families. Some also assist in creating content for a community’s website. There is typically a Director of Sales/Community Relations and one or two additional team members, depending on the size of the community. Sales teams also assist seniors and their families with the process of making the transition to the community, such as answering questions about the contract, explaining fees, and creating floor plans.
While this is a general overview of a senior living community, hopefully, it can help in understanding the administrative structure of senior living.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Sunrise team members put the well-being of residents and their families first. From infection control to helping loved ones connect via Zoom, these heroes showed their commitment and compassion every day.