In this series on our industry blog, we highlight some of the many wonderful professionals we have in the role of family advisor at Caring.com — helping families and older adults find the best match for their senior care needs.
Sharon Aagaard has been a Caring.com family advisor since June 2016. She’s very goal oriented, and has a strong, positive mindset.In her words, from a recent interview:
Her phone-based conversations with family caregivers typically start with the adult daughter (or son) being totally unsure and overwhelmed about how to help their parent, and getting clarity in less than a half hour later by talking with Sharon. “I feel like I handed them a present that they opened and were thrilled about,” she said.
Sharon recognizes that we need a clear picture of a senior’s care needs, but says that is not necessarily fun to talk about for their family member or friend. After the initial care need assessment, “I lighten the conversation with asking about the hobbies, social outlets, opinion of moving, etc.,” she said. “People generally enjoy talking about people and things they love, so it’s important to tap into that to humanize the conversation.” She says that approach helps the family member trust her recommendations and take further action, such as taking tours: “I say that touring is step one and you have to see a few communities before you realize what your preferences are.”
Sharon added, “I keep the mindset that I’m not always asking the person to move in somewhere today. The goal is making sure they have the basic qualifiers to agree to calls from the communities, and sometimes, that’s all a person is ready for. Baby steps can lead to tours and move-ins.”
See also: other Featured Family Advisor interviews.