Certified Senior Advisor Basics
Not everyone who works with or is involved with seniors, advising them with respect to their needs, has the specific certification to do so. A Certified Senior Advisor (CSAs) understands how to build effective relationships with seniors because they have a broad-based knowledge of the health, social and financial issues that are important to senior. They are also knowledgeable in the dynamics of how these factors work together in seniors’ lives.
The health and social work fields have an array of credentials, as do other professions. The CSA credential focuses exclusively on seniors. Professionals who choose to earn the CSA certification know what’s important to seniors and how to keep their interests first.
So why should seniors and their families look for a Certified Senior Advisor to service their needs?
- CSAs understand the financial, health and social issues seniors face.
- CSAs know how to communicate effectively with seniors.
- CSAs recognize what’s important to seniors.
Through the specific, intense research based education received during the certification process, CSA professionals are uniquely prepared to help older adults navigate the new, complex and changing needs of their later years. This insures a more successful, educated transition through the process of aging.
This is all well and good but why would I want to seek out a professional with the CSA certification?
The Society of Certified Senior Advisors (SCSA) educates and certifies professionals who work with seniors. SCSA utilized the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA), in developing the accreditation for a CSA. The Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)® credential applies to professionals who are able to demonstrate their competence and knowledge of working with older adults into their professional practices. This credential applies to professionals in all areas of the aging industry.
In order to maintain the CSA certification, individuals are required to demonstrate a commitment to high standards, continuing education, professional ethics, and trust. This sets the CSA credential holder apart from other practitioners working with older adults enabling better success and satisfaction of the services provided.
CSAs Understand the Financial, Health, And Social Issues Seniors Face
These are the key factors that converge to fundamentally shape our lives. A CSA is not an expert in all professions. They cannot advise you as to your financial needs unless they are a Certified Financial Advisor. They cannot advise you on a health matter unless they are a clinician. What a CSA can do is advise you of the need for certain services such as living wills, durable power of attorneys or the need for a geriatric care manager. A CSA can also assist you in locating and hiring these qualified individuals and companies that can service those needs.
Those with the CSA certification are better able to apply their professional knowledge to seniors. Making their professional recommendations and referrals far more effective, as well as a valuable resource to senior clients.
CSAs Know How to Communicate Effectively With Seniors
Having a successful relationship with older adults requires unique communication skills and strategies. Cultural differences, generational distance and a slower understanding process are a few of the reasons why. As Certified Senior Advisor, we understand the need for effective communication and how to communicate effectively.
Through the CSA training process, we learn to:
- Exercise patience and compassion to minimize frustration on the part of the elder
- Ask questions instead of giving orders or direction. Our elders need to be treated with respect and dignity. This allows them to still feel in control.
- Ask instead of Assume. Again, you may already know their answer but it allows the elder to be involved in the process.
- Do not use “bossy” language. Elders don’t respond well when they feel they are constantly being ordered to do something. Use “I” instead of “You”. Suggest they go to lunch or take a shower, don’t order them to.
- Offer choices whenever possible. This allows them to feel in control.
- Set consequences. Our elders still have the ability to reason. They understand there are requirements and consequences in life. All we need to do is remind them of the consequence of not taking a shower and allow them to make the decision.
CSAs Recognize What’s Important To Seniors
Make no mistake: No title, certification or credential can make someone credible. Credibility is the sum of knowledge, skilled communication, and high ethical standards. When professionals bring these things to their work, they give their clients recommendations and referrals that their clients appreciate. And that’s the single factor that defines any professional’s success.
When clients ignore your recommendations, it can mean they don’t see the need for your service. Or that you don’t fully understand their needs. Or, worse, they don’t view you with enough credibility to deserve their trust.
When they take your advice – or buy your product, or subscribe to your service – it means they respect you and value the role you play in their lives. It means they believe you understand their needs and can solve their problems.
However, the key is understanding. Only if you understand what’s important to seniors will you gain the essential credibility you need.
CSA professionals understand the surprising complexity of what it means to be a senior today. It means looking at seniors in an entirely different way and thinking about them with a completely different mindset.