What We Didn’t Know 10 Years Ago

Alyson and I launched 2Sisters Senior Living Advisors in 2011. But it was far from our first experience in elder care — we literally grew up in the industry. Our parents met while working in a nursing home.

As far back as I can remember, the two of us spent our days running through the corridors, eating in the dining rooms, and playing in the activity areas. We never went to day care — we hung out with the seniors! Separately, we both worked in the senior living industry, until founding 2Sisters Senior Living Advisors together.

And yet, none of that compares to what we’ve lived and learned over the past 10 years.

First, because of our dad’s Parkinson’s diagnosis 15 years ago, we now have firsthand experience with what it’s like to support aging parents. We’ve hired (and fired) multiple home care agencies; helped our parents downsize from a house to a condo; moved them to independent living; and, most recently, moved our dad to an assisted living while setting up our mom in a “cottage” next to Alyson’s house.

All along, we have been steadily growing 2Sisters — guiding our clients and their families through similar challenges by helping them find the best care options at the right time.

Our personal experience paralleled our professional experience; both have been enhanced as a result.

Three Big Thoughts

It’s hard to boil down 10 years of experience — 3,650 days! — into a few insights. We are proud and humbled to have come this far. Here are the three themes that stand out the most — both for our business and in caring for older adults overall.

#1. Confidence

There’s a knowing and a perspective that comes with a decade’s worth of tenure. Believe me, at this point, we have pretty much seen and heard everything. When a problem is presented, we know who to recommend, what the best resources are, who the key players are, and where the information needed can be found.

The storms we’ve weathered professionally and personally are what have allowed us to look back and appreciate where we are now.

Families that are new to the experience of finding elder care often feel confused, overwhelmed, and apprehensive. I understand; we have been there too and appreciate that at times, it is a hard struggle.

We all just need to keep moving forward, gaining confidence as we go, and secure in the belief that much of the learning is in the doing.

“Life will test you but remember this, when you walk up a mountain your legs get stronger.”

#2. Gratitude

In addition to caring for our parents and running our business, Alyson and I both have young families. Toss in a pandemic and there are many, many days where “gratitude” doesn’t make it anywhere near the top of the To Do list.

But we know we have so much to be thankful for. Most businesses don’t make it even 5 years, let alone 10. Over the past decade, 2Sisters has employed 10 fulltime Senior Living Advisors, given and received innumerable referrals, collaborated with dozens of organizations, and shared too many smiles, hugs, tears, and personal stories with clients and their families to even count!

With each passing day, we take the time to remind each other of what we’ve accomplished, and the many wonderful people and organizations who have put their trust in us throughout the years. We always keep in mind that while it comes with a price, being a caregiver is still a gift.

“The more you practice gratitude the more you see how much there is to be grateful for.” — don Miguel Ruiz

#3. Flexibility

Planning is important, but a lot happens that you just can’t see coming (like a pandemic, for example).

2Sisters was the first assisted living referral agency in Massachusetts. We recognized a need at that time and created a business from it. Over the years, though, as the world has shifted, we’ve seen that assisted living isn’t necessarily the right fit for everyone. So, we expanded our offerings to include consulting and coaching, in addition to our nursing home advisory service. I have also become a REALTOR®, so I can help clients directly with the entire range of housing options.

I was an advocate of video calls before the pandemic (often to the dismay of my team!), but since most things have now gone remote, we have all embraced offering our services virtually. It may have felt awkward at first, but many of our clients now prefer this — as do we!

Flexibility is our mantra for elder care as well. Things can change quickly, so you’ll want to be prepared. Expecting the unexpected and having multiple possible plans will help you respond — rather than react — and allow you to weather the storms that inevitably arrive.

“Blessed are the flexible for they will not allow themselves to become bent out of shape!” — Robert Ludlum

Final Thoughts

The last ten years have been at times enlightening, terrifying, stressful, and rewarding — sometimes all in the same day! Most of all, they have been wonderful, and for that we are so grateful.

Each day, we work hard to model our core values as a company — experience, compassion, strategic planning, and support — and do our best to show up in support of all of you.

Let’s raise a toast together, as we look forward to the next 10 years (at least!). Wishing you and your families all the best.

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