Isaiah Collins, of Care Patrol of the Triangle, is a Certified Senior Advisor (CSA) He’s an expert at finding the best care and senior living options for those no longer able to live independently in their homes. There is such a variety of senior industry professionals available, and sometimes we’re not sure what they are and what they do. The great thing about CSAs is that they know all the right questions to ask to help a senior find the right place. They know what to look for and can usher you through the process. To help you understand what a Senior Advisor is and does, we had a Q&A session with Isaiah.
Q: What does a Senior Advisor do?
A: I use my experience and knowledge to help families find quality safe care for their loved ones. A Senior Advisor is essentially a cross between a real estate agent and a social worker.
I accompany families as we visit communities, senior apartments, and rehabilitation facilities in four different counties. A day’s work includes working through tough conversations, giving tips about negotiating contracts, and balancing everyone’s schedule in order to coordinate tours. I have had the opportunity to laugh, lament, educate, and relate with parents, grown children, caregivers, physicians, and Executive Directors. It has been a series of adventures that I wouldn’t trade. I’ve met a lot of great people. Sometimes these same great people give me a gift by saying things like
“ I don’t know what we would have done without you.”
There it is – my goal and the reason my work is rewarding.
Q: Are there challenges?
A: Yes, this industry is complicated!
“Is it a problem if Dad wanders sometimes?” “How do I help Mom understand that she is no longer safe at home?” “How can we be sure my brother will adjust well to this community?” “ What communities are there in North Carolina?” These are just a few of the types of questions that families need answered. The answers are not always easy, and there is a need for guidance.
Families have to figure out what kind of care is needed. There are several types of senior living options: independent, assisted and memory care communities. There are also several types of financial assistance, which overlap in numerous ways: Medicare, Medicaid, Veteran’s Aide and Attendance, and long-term care insurance. Assessments must be completed and regulations followed when moving a loved one. My team and I have navigated this sea of information so families can sail smoothly and safely to the right community.
Q: What have you learned?
A: I have learned so much about the ins and outs of moving into a community. There is a lot to think about when leaving home or changing your care arrangement to find something more suitable. My most valuable realization is what my real job is. My job is to help families with what is most important – the people in their lives. During times of stress, hard circumstances, and emotional turmoil, there is opportunity. Every day I have the opportunity to bring individuals to a living arrangement that can optimize their physical health, give back their dignity, and restore family relationships to appropriate roles.
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