I recently had the wonderful opportunity to be interviewed on the Silver Solutions Radio show. It airs on WMRN 1410 AM in Elgin, Illinois. It is hosted by Jeanette Palmer, Jim Wojchiechowski, and Kathleen Wetters, who each independently own a Right At Home non-medical home care agency. During the interview, they graciously gave me a chance to explain how I started my career in the senior housing industry as the Admissions and Marketing Director of the St. Andrew Life Center (Now Glen St. Andrew) in Niles, Illinois. It was a faith-based community that offered three levels of care, including independent living, assisted living, and a nursing home on one campus. I was receiving so many telephone calls (mostly from the children of seniors who were calling me from the Yellow pages) from people who didn’t know how to solve their senior loved ones’ problems. I saw a niche for a consulting business. So in 2006, much to my husband’s dismay, I opened Andrea Donovan Senior Living Advisors in 2006.
I started my senior housing placement consulting business by touring and evaluating over 150 senior living communities in the Chicago metro area. I looked at cost and methods of payment accepted, levels of care, staffing, and quality of care. Then I also evaluated quality of life factors such as cleanliness, menus, activities, and apartment and room layouts. So, when a family needs my services, I make a face to face evaluation of the senior, their financial realities, and the location preferences of the family. Then, I select the options that fit the senior’needs so families aren’t wasting time touring places that simply won’t work long-term. At this point I have toured and evaluated close to 500 senior communities in the Chicago metro area.
We also shared a very frank discussion about the costs of placement in a senior living community versus the costs of staying at home in the Chicago metro area. We talked about the advantages and disadvantages of each option.
We also discussed how my business model works. I do not accept any commissions from the communities where I place seniors, or for any of the other services that I present as options for my clients. That way, I am giving the client an unbiased choice of the options that are available to their senior loved one.
We spoke about the proliferation of assisted living memory care communities that are being opened in the Chicago metro area and what some of my experiences have been when I have been hired by families who have asked me to act as an advocate on their behalf. And, I am available to act as a Power of Attorney for Health Care and property for a senior. Issues that one can be faced with when hiring a caregiver who isn’t an employee of an agency that is licensed, insured and bonded in the State of Illinois were discussed.
Please listen to the interview and know that I am available to evaluate your of loved one’s situation. I wish you and your loved one’s the very best of holidays.