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Monday, October 7, 2013

Meet CSA Spotlight, Pati Rader

My journey through the senior care and living industry began with the abrupt need for intervention on my mother's behalf. In her effort to remain independent along with her self-destructive personal choices, she had literally set herself up for being at the mercy of those who had taken advantage of her. It was not until she had lost everything and could no longer live on her own that she allowed me to help her. And sadly it was then too late for her to regain the independence she desired. She had made too many bad choices, refused to recognize her need for help, and was literally wasting away from alcohol abuse, smoking and disease. The journey of intervention and care for her was a very difficult, time consuming, stressful, frustrating, and overwhelming process that took me through nearly every level of care for my mother and with it exposure to numerous agencies, and resources for seniors.

At only 72, my mother had not filed for Social Security or Medicare, had no health care provider, stopped receiving pension and retirement income, had either lost or destroyed legal documentation, and had no money or assets. Although clearly in distress with breathing difficulties, contusions, and many other problems, she refused to go to the doctor. After a few ER visits and a hospital admission, she was provided RX and recommendations for LTC after being diagnosed with COPD, Parkinson's, and significant cognitive impairment, a.k.a., Dementia. Looking at her brain scans revealed a brain much smaller than her skull - no wonder she wasn't thinking clearly and falling all the time. At this time her Durable Power of Attorney was enacted and I was thrust into the role of my mother's care manager. Within a few months her funds were re-instated, on Medicare, and she was moving through various levels of care as her needs increased.

While managing my mother's care I enjoyed volunteering in her community, singing for the residents and helping with activities. I soon found that my experience as a Recreation Supervisor, Instructor, Entertainer, Event Coordinator, and Program Director, along with a lifelong passion for the elderly, culminated in my becoming a Certified Activity Leader "CAL". Becoming a CAL not only provided me with education regarding the care for seniors, the aging process, and the diseases that afflict them, but also the significant importance in providing opportunities and activities that treat the whole person and not just the condition or disease they have.

In the midst of my mother's journey I drew on my experience as a professional singer to develop a musical program that not only entertains, but also provides opportunities for interaction and music therapy. During these visits I go on a journey with listeners where we can enjoy smiles, laughter, memories and moments of peace. Throughout the year I enjoy presenting Broadway Tunes, Romantic Melodies, Patriotic Celebrations, Christmas Memories and Inspirational selections.

When my mother's journey was ending, I was better prepared due in part to the education and exposure I had gained from the "End of Life Spiritual Care" program through the Hospice Foundation of America along with the Hospice team and the SNF staff that cared for her. Being there for my mother, near her end of life, was an honor to be shared and if I were able to be there for others, to sit at their bedside, comfort them, or sing to them, I would. However in my absence, I offer my CD "Hope for the Journey" which was produced in memory of my own father who asked to 'keep on singing' before he passed. My hope is to provide a peace, comfort and encouragement to others through the CD.

After my mother passed, I was ready to start a new journey, one that would no doubt include much of what I had learned and gained from the years of managing my mother's care. In addition, my experience as a Marketing Director in the Healthcare Industry along with being a Certified Activity Leader had provided me with insight that was shaping my thoughts about this new journey. I had seen the value and importance for seniors to not only have something to look forward to in the way of activities, food and entertainment, but to also remain as mentally and physically active as possible. Living in a senior community there is ample opportunity for activity. But at home a senior can become isolated, sedentary, weak, and lonely. All of which can lead to fall risk, failure to thrive, lack of desire and depression. Living at home is where they want to be and in many cases their only choice. So how could one remain home safe and secure while enjoying meaningful moments and enriching activities? My journey had begun!

I set out to develop a plan where seniors could enjoy a professionally run activity program that could be personalized and managed from their own homes. And in January 2013 my plan became reality with the launching of The Life Enrichment Activity Program "LEAP" for The HomeCare Source in Sacramento and Placer Counties of California. Each client has access to a monthly thematic calendar of activities designed for the home setting, as well as a personalized assessment and program. With the purpose of LEAP to encourage, inspire, motivate, energize, soothe, and simply 'help seniors enjoy life in their own home', we are meeting the desires of the senior, as well as the family. As a son recently said, "I wanted more than basic care of my mom" and more is what LEAP is all about.

While building the LEAP program I was also considering where and how to expand my education in the Senior Care Industry. I asked other professionals what they saw as beneficial and discovered that the Society of Certified Senior Advisors was a well-respected and honorable designation. With my experience and exposure in the industry, combined with the abundance of information and training materials provided by SCSA, I determined that I would be better equipped to move forward in my career.

Becoming a CSA has provided me with valuable resources, tools, and opportunities for continuing education. Through the network of fellow CSAs on LinkedIn, Facebook, Blogs, Senior Spirit Newsletter and the CSA Journal, I have gained access to valuable insight, information, and connections throughout the country. As a CSA, I confidently guide clients and friends through their own journeys to reliable resources, as well as to other CSAs for help and assistance. \

This recommendation sums up in part how my being a CSA has benefited me: "Pati demonstrates to our clients, prospective clients, and referral sources, the knowledge, professionalism, and ethics that are fundamental to her CSA designation. Her excellent reputation precedes her and the credibility she has earned as a Certified Senior Advisor is very valuable to our organization." Sheila Abbasi; Owner, The HomeCare Source, Granite Bay California.

I am extremely thankful to the SCSA for providing the designation opportunity for professionals to expand their knowledge, continue their education, and provide resources for seniors and their loved ones. It is an honor to be a part of the SCSA.

Pati Rader, CSA
Certified Senior Advisor
Marketing, Events, & Consumer Experience Consultant

Life Enrichment Coordinator, Community Relations Director

"Golden Years Don't Have to Lose Their Shine" editorial about the Life Enrichment
Activity Program LEAP

Blog posting provided by Society of Certified Senior Advisors®