Earlier this year, we blogged about using social media ads to recruit new senior living employees. The demand for senior housing will rise in the next decade as baby boomers reach their 80s. U.S. Census Bureau data shows this cohort of those 83 and older was around 8.5 million in 2017. An additional 138,000 people aged into this group in 2018. Estimates see this cohort rising to 10.2 million by 2025. The senior living industry will need to recruit and train over 1.2 million new staff members by 2025. Several colleges across the country have taken notice and introduced senior living management courses, certificates, and degree programs. 

The addition of new senior living programs at the university level offers a new avenue for talent recruitment in the industry. 

Washington State University Introduces Institute of Senior Living

In 2018, Washington State University rolled out the Institute for Senior Living as part of their Hospitality Business Management program. The university also added an online senior living program last fall. The new senior living institute focuses on academic programs, industry partnerships, and research in order to help develop the future workforce. 

“Most students have no idea what senior living is about. They think it’s an old folks home, and they see it’s more like a hotel that grandma and grandpa are living in – not like a hospital. There are so many similarities between hospitality and senior living, so I tell the students, ‘This is not calculus and English. This is about how senior living fits with everything else you’re learning.’ To understand senior living is to understand what daily living is: How you engage residents, what’s the customer experience like, marketing. The senior wants to be cared for,” WSU professor Scott Eckstein said in an interview with Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business.

The certificate aims to give students a well-rounded background in a variety of managerial aspects of the senior living industry including care services, lifestyle, operations management, sales and marketing, risk management, and more. Students develop the hard and soft skills, as well as the emotional intelligence required to be successful in the senior living environment. The program also delves into the unique needs of the generations requiring senior living services. 

Bachelor of Science in Senior Living Management at Maryville University

Maryville University, located in St. Louis, Missouri, offers an online Bachelor of Science in Senior Living Management. The program aligns with the National Association of Long-Term Care Administrator Boards’ 5 Domains of Practice: Customer Care, Support and Services, Finance, Environment, and Management and Leadership. It combines a healthcare management core with specialty courses uniquely designed for the senior living industry. Students study the specifics of assisted-living and senior-housing policies, operations, and management. Students complete a practicum in their preferred local setting, getting real-world experience in the senior living industry.

Master of Arts in Senior Living Hospitality at the University of Southern California

USC offers an advanced degree program for people looking to focus on the physical, emotional, and social needs of seniors. The Master’s program is designed to train current and future senior living executives in managerial functions, nutrition, health, and social engagement. This program takes a customer-centered approach, which is essential in the senior living industry. This degree prepares students to analyze legal and regulatory issues in aging, identify consumer needs, revenue management, marketing analysis and strategy. The program can be completed online or on-campus at USC.

Preparing for the Future of Senior Living

With advanced degree programs, certificates, and courses in senior living management on the horizon, the future of staff recruitment looks promising in the industry. The demand for new staff offers opportunities in a growing industry that allows employees to benefit from expertise in the varying needs of older adults. Training future senior living employees in a university setting offers promises of strategy development, leadership, and knowledge of the science of aging.

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