Job Description of an Assisted-Living Dietary Aid

Many people choose to live out their golden years in assisted-living communities where they can enjoy the perfect balance of personal freedom and oversight while spending time with their peers. When it comes to meal times, they rely on dietary aides to serve them their food and clean up after they are finished. A career as a dietary aide in an assisted-living community appeals to women who desire to make a direct impact in peoples' lives by serving them the nourishment they need to stay healthy.

Education and Training

Dietary aides don't need any type of formal education, so this is a great career choice for women who want to work with the elderly or disabled without having to earn a college degree. Training is typically conducted on the job, so a dietary aide can expect to learn the in's and out's of the position during her first few weeks of employment.

Skills and Traits

While education isn't required, aspiring dietary aides should possess certain skills and personal traits to make the most of this profession. Active listening skills are a must, especially in communities where dietary aides take food orders directly from residents to make sure everyone gets the meal they want. From friendly chats with residents to serious conversations with co-workers, dietary aides need excellent speaking skills to communicate effectively with everyone in the workplace. This certainly isn't a career for the clumsy, and coordination is important for balancing trays and keeping food on plates and off of the floor. Nobody enjoys waiting around for food when they're hungry, so dietary aides need strong time-management and organizational skills to make sure everybody gets their meal in a timely manner.

Duties and Responsibilities

Every assisted-living community assigns its own responsibilities to dietary aides, but most people in this career share some similar basic duties. An aide might provide assistance in the kitchen helping the cooks prepare meals, or she might take food orders from residents. She checks over every meal to make sure it's correct before delivering the food while it's still fresh. When residents are finished eating, she cleans up their plates and utensils. In her down time, she might wash dishes, sanitize the kitchen area or perform other light cleaning duties.

Work Environment

Dietary aides work in assisted-living communities of all sizes. They spend long periods of time on their feet and do a lot of walking around during their shifts as they serve food and clean up after meals. They usually work during typical meal times, but might also be expected to work nights and weekends, depending on the scheduling rules at the communities they serve.