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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Meet our November CSA Spotlight, Jenn Chan

I’m an entrepreneur in the senior care industry, and I truly want to celebrate, appreciate, recognize and educate new senior caregivers with a party called a Senior Shower!

As a caregiver for my 95-year-old grandmother, I assist her with activities of daily living and exercise. Over the last seven years of caregiving, I’ve developed a passion for caregiving and learned that this role requires love, compassion, patience, hard work, communication, time management and a whole lot more. When I shared my caregiving duties with my colleagues, I noticed a majority responded with empathy but also with a lack of enthusiasm for the caregiver role. This response sparked my curiosity to research the common perception of the caregiver role within my social and professional network. While I personally looked forward to the rewarding caregiving experience, many others expressed that they would not know what to do as a caregiver or they would not feel confident in providing for an elderly person in their family. With this discovery, I recognized an opportunity to educate my peers about caregiving.

Around the same time, I attended my friend’s baby shower where attendees were congratulating the mom-to-be on her new parental role, happily sharing parenting advice and stories, giving useful gifts and thoughtful presents and having fun together. At this party, I realized that new senior caregivers can benefit from a similar party model.

So, I developed a new party concept called Senior Shower. At a Senior Shower, family and friends get together to recognize the individual on his/her new caregiver role, celebrate the love involved in the caregiver role, talk about their senior caregiving experiences, discuss community resources and bring useful gifts for the new senior caregiver. I believe this party is an educational experience for all attendees and provides everyone, especially the new caregiver, with insight on caregiving and senior-related topics.

With my sales and marketing background, I started the Senior Shower Project to spread the word about Senior Showers. But as I conducted market research and attended senior care-related conferences, I realized I was missing the big life picture. With the party, I was only focused on the beginning stages of senior care, but I did not address the rest of the aging care process. I researched senior care educational programs online, and I found the Society of Certified Senior Advisors’ (CSA®) website. As soon as I watched the "Becoming a CSA" video, I immediately knew I wanted to complete the CSA course. The curriculum offered the big picture I was looking for. The course provided the structure for me to become a resource for caregivers when they need help with senior-related financial, health and social matters.

With a Senior Shower, I hope to provide individuals with celebration, education and support at the beginning of their senior caregiving journey. And when the party is over, I, as a CSA, will offer my help and advice to families throughout the caregiving and aging journey.

Jenn Chan, CSA
Certified Senior Advisor®