My husband sells cars at one of the biggest used car dealerships in Ontario, Canada, and we have a 2½-year-old son.
What did you study in school?
I have a BA from the University of Waterloo (Ontario) in Political Science and Management Studies. I take courses all the time for work and for personal interest. It keeps me sharp!
What inspired you to create retirementhomeliving.com?
It came naturally after years working in sales for a retirement home company and helping hundreds of families make the decision to move a relative to a retirement home. I saw the need for a coaching service to guide women 45 plus years old through the difficult and complicated process of relocating their aging parents. The daughters need the most guidance and support. They experience intense feelings and emotions during this time. I love helping people come to a peaceful decision that they can live with in a positive way.
I make a difference in people’s lives every day. I see aging people thrive after moving to retirement homes.
Previously, they ate poorly, felt lonely and unsafe. Now they’re well fed, cared for and have companionship.
I also see exhausted daughters regain their lives once they know their parents are finally safe and secure.
How did you first get started in retirement home consulting and coaching?
I met my mentor through a mutual friend and she provided me with a once- in-a-lifetime opportunity to start in an industry where she had spent 25 years. I had the chance to learn from one of the best in the business in Canada. Everyone always talks about forks in the road and this was mine career-wise! It was better than I have ever dreamed or imagined and I am thankful I took the risk!
What did you do before working in the retirement home sector?
I sold lumber for six years in my parents’ business. I had to find a new job when they retired.
What is the mission of retirementhomeliving.com?
I want to help free women from the emotional roller-coaster of caring for aging parents. Too many women struggle with guilt and fear from their parents. They often lose their self-identity and start living in their parents’ shadow. They drop everything for them, miss out on holidays, neglect work, husbands, children and friends. I help them find their purpose.
Why is the perfect field for you?
Selling lumber filled a need but it’s extremely rewarding to help families find the right places for their aging loved ones to live. I make a difference in people’s lives every day. I see aging people thrive after moving to retirement homes. Previously, they ate poorly, felt lonely and unsafe. Now they’re well fed, cared for and have companionship. I also see exhausted daughters regain their lives once they know their parents are finally safe and secure.
Tell us about your services.
I offer Skype, email, phone consulting/coaching services and group coaching. I’m creating an eBook and online course, which will be available soon. I do speaking engagements, as well.
Do you interview the parents as well as their grown children?
I definitely spend time with parents to find out what they want and need in a retirement home.
What do you hope to learn from new clients?
I want to uncover the daily problems they face so I can see the complexity of the situation. I explain all the options after conducting an in-depth needs assessment. This can include senior communities, assisted living, nursing and long term care homes, private duty nurses etc. While others recommend only homes and communities that give them fees, I recommend what’s best for my clients.
Do you recommend specific places? In the United States, as well as in Canada?
Yes. I research the best options for your family’s needs, no matter where you live. I do background checks, set up tours and help with the admissions process.
What kind of FabOverFifty woman can most benefit from your coaching?
Any women with parents! Seriously!
How do women most sabotage themselves?
Time and time again I see women who have sacrificed their prime time years to care for their parents. They feel it is their obligations as daughters. What about being mothers, sisters, grandmothers, wives, friends, workers, volunteers and purpose seekers? Unless you truly feel taking care of your parents is your life’s purpose, do not feel bad about seeking a solution.
What’s the greatest piece of advice you can give FOF women?
Life is too short to be living someone else’s life. Take control now before all you have is years of regret about vacations not taken, friends not seen, children grown up, husbands you ignored and a life you didn’t live all because you couldn’t stand up to your parents.
Besides your work, what are your other passions?
I am constantly reading up on different topics. Business, politics, marketing, fitness, healthy eating, parenting, running, and self-help, to name a few. I love running and have completed four half marathons. When I don’t run enough in a week I get cranky and my legs twitch! Right before my wedding four years ago, I lost 40 pounds by running and eating healthy. I think that exercise and healthy eating go hand and hand with making good decisions and getting your life under control. I also love taking my son to fun places like the park, the zoo and swimming. I am reliving my childhood through him.