As more and more people near retirement age and beyond, senior citizens are quickly becoming one of the largest demographics in the country. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that employment in assisted living facilities will continue to grow rapidly. As a result, the demand for assisted living cooks should remain strong. The U.S. Department of Labor predicts that through 2018, the service industry will add more new jobs to the economy than any other industry. Therefore, if you're willing and able to handle the responsibilities of working as a cook at an assisted living facility, a rewarding career with many future employment opportunities awaits you.
As an assisted living cook, you'll be expected to make sure that your kitchen and workstation are clean at all times. You will also be expected to meet federal and state health department standards and codes for proper food storage, handling, and preparation. The assisted living facility will most likely provide you with the appropriate uniform and equipment for work.
For many people, the transition from independence to assisted living can be a challenge. At times, the tenants may behave inappropriately as they get used to having their eating habits controlled. As a cook in an assisted living facility you'll have to recognize this, and realize that it's not personal. You'll have to manage difficult situations and respond in a professional manner. For example, when a tenant demands a certain food that a doctor advises her to avoid, you may need to explain the reasons for this and help her understand the nutritional value and benefits of the foods that the doctor does recommend for her.
In their recent job posting for cooks, Revera Assisted Living Home Care Service mentions that a cook's responsibilities would include routine record-keeping duties and assisting with the compilation of department reports. Keeping records of what you serve to the residents, their dining schedules and the operations of the kitchen facility is important. Your records will need to show that you're meeting the health requirements and nutritional needs of every tenant.
Based on the dietary requirements of the residents in the living facility, you'll be responsible for creating appropriate menus. You'll be challenged daily to find ways to provide a high quality menu while adhering to the restrictions given by doctors, nutritionists and other facility managers. Although menu planning and recipe development in this industry has more restrictions than other food service venues, there are still opportunities to exhibit your creativity.
As a cook, your main job function is to prepare daily meals for all the residents in the living facility. You may also be asked to prepare special meals for facility events and parties.
Follow Dietary Requirements
Among the most challenging aspects of being a cook in an assisted living facility is preparing meals for a large number of people who have different dietary requirements. You'll need to follow the recommendations of the residents' nutritionists and doctors as you prepare meals.
Planning and Organizing
As a cook, you may be involved with menu planning and preparation for special events, in addition to handling your other daily chores. This means that you'll have to be very organized to make sure that everything runs smoothly and on schedule. This is where your organizational and record keeping skills come in handy.