This spring, COVID-19 changed us, perhaps forever. Seniors everywhere have felt vulnerable. Their loved ones in many cases have been unable to comfort them in person. Senior living community operations have been altered, with new information and protocols emerging daily.
There is no understating the impact COVID-19 has had on our world as we knew it. And I have never been prouder to work in senior living. Our residents have persevered through social distancing. Families have responded, with Zoom visits commonplace and in-person visits through panes of glass a new normal. And our workers have proven to be courageous, skilled, and dedicated professionals.
Early on in this crisis, new staffing issues were immediately apparent. Employees coming back from vacations, or otherwise exposed to potential carriers, were asked to self-quarantine. School closures surfaced significant childcare challenges. Visitation limitations and restrictions required additional screening. With dining rooms closed, more employees were needed to deliver meals to residents.
Meanwhile, 17 million Americans, and counting, have lost their jobs just in the past three weeks. Surely, we should be able to tap into this labor force. Senior living needs workers and workers need jobs.
Argentum sprang into action to help. Senior Living FastMatch is our newest resource, launched in partnership with the American Seniors Housing Association (ASHA), to support owners and operators. It includes a talent match, with a focus on hospitality, retail, and restaurant workers who have borne the brunt of the layoffs. Recognizing that much of the recruitment for hourly positions happens locally, it also includes a toolkit, developed by OnShift, with best practices, tools, and tips for recruiters, executive directors, and human resources staff.
Senior Living FastMatch is a featured link on several websites for displaced workers. We don’t need 17 million of them—just those who seek employment and also want to contribute to something important in this time of need. I have no doubt that many of them will come to love senior living, and many will join our careers in caring.
My sincerest thanks to everyone who continues to serve our residents and offer solutions during this unprecedented crisis. Stay healthy and be safe.