We recently connected with Kristen Chazaud and have shared our conversation below.
Hi Kristen, thanks for joining us today. Can you recount a story of an unexpected problem you’ve faced along the way?
When the pandemic hit, we were hit with a series of obstacles. Caregiver shortages, elders in fear of dying alone in nursing homes, adult children out of work, issues with the supply chain and getting protective masks, isolated seniors needing toilet paper/masks/groceries/visitors etc. The world changed and our elders got the short end of the stick.
At Keepsake Companions, we closed down our physical office and decided to partner with Honor, a company that recruits caregivers nationally. More and more elders were wanting to age in place but less and less were able to afford the agency fees which went up considerably post pandemic. With our placement service, I was catching myself telling families to bring their parents home with them for a bit until things settled. I was hearing stories of assisted living and memory care communities that were having to isolate residents in their rooms and disallow visitors. I was unpleasantly surprised by how many families chose to place their loved ones anyway.
Our clients had the best support during these times. We had n-95 masks for them as well as our caregivers, we were available to coach families and clients about how to navigate virtually and how to access what they need. Unfortunately not everyone can afford the “Keepsake Companions” experience. I find myself determined more than ever to contribute my knowledge and experiences to serve our aging population at large so that everyone can age their way and on their own terms.
Awesome – so before we get into the rest of our questions, can you briefly introduce yourself to our readers.
Keepsake Companions is a collaborative care company. We assist families who need to hire a caregiver and also provide placement assistance for those looking for an assisted living or memory care community. Our clients are like family to us. It has been an honor and a privilege to serve so many amazing people throughout the years.
Do you have any insights you can share related to maintaining high team morale?
When managing a team, I found that maintaining a high morale is different for everyone. Getting to know the strengths of each team member, what motivates and inspires them, which tasks they enjoy doing vs which tasks they avoid, what their long term goals are and how opportunities can be created that would support them are all important to consider.
Learning and unlearning are both critical parts of growth – can you share a story of a time when you had to unlearn a lesson?
One of the greatest lessons in my career came from Dr. Doris Howell, the founder of hospice. I was having lunch with her and venting to her about how someone stole a business idea I had and renamed it. She laughed and told me that inspired ideas help people. She reminded me that I had a lot of inspired ideas and they can’t help anyone if I don’t share. She also pointed out how many hospice agencies there were in existence and asked if I could imagine what would have happened if she kept her idea of the hospice model of care to herself.
Her perspective humbled me and will forever be one I return to.
- Website: Www.keepsakecompanions.com