In June, I was able to do something I had wanted to do for several years…take the course and pass the test to receive the Certified Senior Advisor (CSA) designation.
In 2002, I earned my Masters in Business Administration degree from George Washington University in Washington, DC. In 2005, when I started my Home Instead Senior Care business, I felt I had an academic and professional foundation to start and run a business. Though I didn’t have a clinical healthcare background, I had a passion for serving seniors, the leadership skills to build my organization, and the tenacity to grow a senior home care operation from scratch starting with no clients and no CAREGivers.
I have found tremendous advantages in being inside the franchise system that pioneered non-medical in-home care and that today is the largest and most trusted provider in this niche. Besides all the support from Home Instead, Inc., wonderful employees, and my family; I truly feel my Heavenly Father has watched over my endeavors and blessed me at many critical moments along the way.
Five years and 500 clients later (and two children), I have a wonderful small business that gives me the opportunity to add value to society in so many ways. I have seen and learned so much in these five years, and I truly feel that the service my CAREGivers and staff provide has attributes of quality and personalization that set me apart from my competitors. Still, I suppose that some of my more clinical referral providers could question my qualifications to run an organization that makes such a difference for the health and well being of seniors.
So, to me, earning the Certified Senior Advisor designation was an important step in my professional development. Also, I think it will help me demonstrate to my constituents that I have gone the extra mile to obtain knowledge and understanding about seniors, their needs, and their special circumstances.
What did I learn in the process of becoming a CSA? The curriculum for the course is designed to support professionals of all kinds who work with seniors by providing broad-based knowledge of the health, social, and financial issues that are important to seniors. The course involved three full days of classes and on the fourth day was a 3-hour exam. Because we were covering such a massive amount of information across a broad range of topics, I did feel like I was drinking from a fire hose. However, the thick textbook that is the basis for the course is a great resource that I will be able to refer to regularly in my work with seniors.
This list includes some of the things I learned:
- Seniors’ three top fears – and how I can help seniors address them
- Special physiological and nutritional needs of seniors
- Signs of normal cognitive aging versus dementia
- Where most seniors prefer to live – and the newest choices in senior housing
- What seniors should know about Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security
- Key questions seniors should ask before they buy long-term care insurance
- What advance directives do and don’t do
- The stages and tasks of grief – and how to respond to someone who’s grieving
- How to market ethically to seniors
- Best ways to communicate with seniors – and what not to do
To learn more about becoming a Certified Senor Advisor, please visit the web site of the Society of Certified Senior Advisors at http://www.csa.us/.
Blog posting provided by Mike Brunt, CSA
Download June's issue of Senior Spirit, featuring Mike's CSA Spotlight article.