With many years behind her in the marketing and sales field, Susan Canterbury Pipyne stumbled into a job in the senior care industry. That first job may have been an accident, but it was a happy accident for Pipyne.
Recently, she talked with reporter Debbie Behrends about an e-book she’s written to help families find the best care for their older loved ones, “The Best Senior Care Guide: Options for Your Loved Ones: A Daughter’s Journey as a Senior Care Professional.”
Behrends: How did you end up working in senior care?
Pipyne: I do have some medical background, working for doctors and hospitals. At one point, I worked for a doctor with a lot of senior patients and I loved them, but then I got into sales and marketing. Around 2000, I was looking for a job and got hired in marketing at Pine Acres here in DeKalb.
It really was serendipity because, at the time, my parents were getting ill. They lived closer to the city and I wouldn’t have known what to do for them so far away. I ended up bringing them to Pine Acres. They both died in 2005, within six months of each other.
Behrends: What is it you like about the senior care industry?
Pipyne: I got to know so many when I was only 18 or 19 working in a doctor’s office. They would just talk to me while they were waiting for their appointment.
They just have such amazing life stories. Many don’t have anyone to listen to them. I feel it’s important to respect our elders.
Behrends: So what prompted you to write the book?
Pipyne: After leaving Pine Acres, I went to a facility in Lisle. As a marketing coordinator, part of my job was to help families figure out what kind of care their family member needed and how to make it happen.
I had a lot of people sit in my office and cry because they didn’t know where to turn. The book is somewhat autobiographical about my journey with my parents, but it also provides information to create awareness about your loved one’s situation and walking through how to get them the help they need.
Behrends: Why did you believe this was a good time to make that information available?
Pipyne: People are living longer, and the senior population is growing. They may be able to care for themselves physically, but not mentally, or vice versa.
The theme is to get children to be more responsible and proactive in the care of their parents. For those reasons, we are the pioneers right now.
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