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This month, I wanted to get back to talking a little bit more about our commitment at Options for Senior Living. With each family we serve, our team strives to be the best professional referral and placement agency in the valley. For years I wanted our company and our industry to be a trusted partner to our referral partners and senior living partners and protect vulnerable seniors from unethical agents. Many times over the years I have shared with you – we operate in an unlicensed and unregulated space. There is only one law in the state of Arizona that affects our practice. The law requires agents to disclose their fees and where they are paid, along with the number of referral fees to families. We earn our referral fees from contracts with senior living communities and providers. We have always been upfront with families in terms of disclosing information about our compensation. I listened to the complaints levied against our entire industry by the Ombudsman’s office and members of the area agency on aging back in 2009 and 2010. The issue of ‘disclosure’ was one of the first issues brought to my attention. And, is one of the best practices we wrote when we launched PASRS in 2010.
In 2017, I was part of a group that launched the National Placement and Referral Alliance. The NPRA identified four initiatives vital to the professional growth and recognition of our industry. We undertook a large project of developing the first and only industry-specific certification program in the nation for referral agents. This initiative was vital to legitimizing our industry and becoming a more trusted profession to consumers, Senior Living providers, and our referral partners port. The certification is written for agents to have an indicator or benchmark of their experience and expertise. Mainly those working in the industry for the first time. Agents who were inexperienced or new to the industry would be unable to pass this examination in most cases because they do not have the fund of information, only experience gives you. There has long existed a certification program known as the Certified Senior Advisor, and those who hold the certification become members of the Society of Certified Senior Advisors. The CSA has been recognized as the best certification program with an education component, preparing people to work with seniors and their families in some capacity. It is not an industry-specific certification for referral and placement agents. Many people are coming into this industry from other professions. The CSA has been recognized as the best certification to acquire, to legitimize an agent when serving families and seniors.

I pointed out in the past, Tammy Luna, Kerri Ann Ronquist, and I are three of the first 100 agents in the nation to earn our CPRS certification. Additionally, Katie Pena and Glenda Redman from our team have completed and passed the certification program for the CSA. Both Katie and Glenda completed the classwork at the end of 2019. Due to the pandemic, they were unable to test for the certification until just this past week. We are so proud of them, and their achievement further supports our mission at Options; we are the premier referral and placement agency in the valley with the largest number of people acquiring national certifications.

I am so proud of our team and the work we do. I am so proud we have served well over 3,000 families successfully in the last 18 years. Along with those 3,000 families, we have provided resources to twice as many families. We have connected them to some of the top professionals in other industries throughout the valley. We are proud of the long relationships I have with many of you in our community, and we look forward to closing 2020 strong. We are excited to talk more in the coming weeks about a new relationship we have established with a very dear friend of mine – Art Brooks. Art is the host of the radio show called – ‘The Rescuers’ and I was a guest of a few weeks ago. We are now working on the details of our partnership for the next year. Art features individuals who have made a significant impact in this community and around the country. These people are people of strong faith, and it is a perfect partnership for us to begin to undertake. More to come shortly. We have certainly had our challenges in 2020, but by no means have our hearts or determination to serve our community been diminished. We are looking ahead with great anticipation and hope.