At every stage of life, we encounter and navigate both new and familiar journeys. They can be comforting or confusing, exhilarating or exhausting, joyful or mournful, and present many opportunities and challenges. How reassuring it is to already know, quickly discover or be guided along a wise and pleasant route.
Leaside’s Karen Linker, founder and CEO of Family Navigator for Seniors is one such skilled and caring guide. As she explains, “I love working with seniors, their adult children and caregivers, and I specialize in dementia care and housing whether home care, retirement homes or long-term care.”
Karen adds, “We all want our loved ones to live independently as long as possible yet when dementia progresses and we’re without a roadmap or someone to guide us, the number of complex issues and decisions we face is overwhelming. I encountered this during a visit to my parents, who lived hours away. Upon arriving I realized that although my mom was doing an amazing job, my dad was in need of much more specialized care. Dad had a previous dementia diagnosis, yet it had progressed and we were ill equipped and had no plans in place to deal with the situation. My mom’s fall, breaking her hip a few weeks later, added much pain and additional complications to our dilemma.
“There were so many complex issues to deal with and despite my career background I was in need of guidance.”
Karen has enjoyed a rewarding career spanning decades in many diverse roles. She began as a registered nurse working in specialized coronary and heart transplant units. She next worked with a medical heart device manufacturer where she taught medical practitioners proper devise use and care. She then moved onto a seven-year leadership role with a large retirement living corporation where she learned about seniors’ housing.
“All this experience was inadequate preparation for dealing with my parents’ dilemma,” she says. This encouraged me to follow my passion and transition from corporate life to entrepreneurship. I started my business to share the many lessons and copious research I’d assembled, working through my family’s challenges, all in service to support those encountering similar issues with their loved ones.”
Karen’s business now provides the services that would have eased her own family’s journey. “In a brief discovery call potential clients can determine if there is a fit between their needs and my services. If yes, then we proceed to an assessment phase where we clarify requirements. I then set to work researching and recommending options. My ongoing research and key links and collaborations with other professionals in the field, many in Leaside, provide a current and comprehensive roadmap for my clients.”
A few signs Karen urges watching your loved ones for include deteriorating grooming and housekeeping, spoiled fridge food, difficulty performing familiar tasks, and unusual sleep patterns.
Learn more at her website: www.familynavigatorforseniors.ca.