Our Story of Elderly Parents in Crisis and a Broken System
Susan Hyatt co-founded Silver Sherpa after her own elderly parents went into crisis. This is her story.
An international healthcare expert and corporate strategist, Susan was working abroad when both of her elderly parents went into health crises. Having advised numerous premiers and Canadian Ministers of Health in previous years, she flew back to Ontario to help her parents navigate the system assuming the Ontario healthcare and community services system for the elderly would be in good shape.
As anyone who has been in, or had parents in, crisis knows – the system is not in good shape. This is what Susan found when she returned to Ontario to help her parents:
- Services for seniors and elders were disorganized, fragmented, and separated into siloes.
- Hospitals did not have realistic discharge frameworks in place for seniors who would need coordinated access to help at home as well as community services.
- Dealing with healthcare was only the beginning of the services required. Changing family circumstances triggered legal, financial, and tax issues as well as the need to look at different housing.
- There was no one company to turn to who could coordinate from a long-term or big picture perspective. Instead, Susan found herself dealing with a multitude of doctors, hospital, and CCAC personnel, numerous care agencies, and a number of professional companies.
Even with her own knowledge of the healthcare system and planning expertise, it took Susan six months to help her parents through their crises and another six months to determine where they should live, as neither of them could return home.
During this difficult and stressful period, Susan realized the critical need for a professional services firm to coordinate not just estate planning, but to actively assist elders in dealing with major life transition issues such as personal loss, where to live, disorganized finances, challenging family dynamics, and confusing healthcare options.
They needed someone with experience to step back, see the big picture, and figure out the next steps. They needed someone to quickly assess their needs and formulate a clear action plan. They needed someone who understood the system to coordinate the help they needed and connect them with trusted professionals along the way. They needed a trusted co-pilot – an advisor – a Sherpa.
And so, Silver Sherpa was born.
Susan has worked with national governments, large health care organizations, and technology companies around the world, making her uniquely qualified to understand the inevitable issues associated with ageing and how to help families deal with them in a proactive and respectful way.
Under Susan’s leadership, Silver Sherpa helps elders and their families plan for their current and future challenges and take action on those plans, allowing them to have peace of mind and enjoy their silver years.