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Meet Lisa Sneddon of Senior Living Experts

Today we’d like to introduce you to Lisa Sneddon.

Lisa, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Back in 2005, I was working at the Sunrise Assisted Living in Lincoln Park… it had just recently opened. Many of the families who came to talk with me were very confused about what exactly their options were for senior living and senior care. I was friendly and familiar with many of the other properties in the area, and liked to refer people to another place if my property was not a good fit.

In addition, when people would call, they would not be able to visualize what the community looked like or what the residents were like. I would tell them about how high a level of care they had and they automatically had a vision of a dreadful sterile nursing home in their head.

So I thought how can I help people find the best fit for their situation and help the communities show off themselves and what they do best.

In January of 2006, I started the company and always imagined that we would be providing a high level of service to families but also to all the wonderful communities and resources for seniors in Chicago and the suburbs. I was based in the city myself and my first few clients and communities I worked with were within the city limits.

Has it been a smooth road?
No business is a totally smooth road, but the struggles we have had have only helped us become better. I had a few advisors working for me that I later found out were not up for job. However, the two advisors that work with me now have both been with me for 10 years!

We also have issues with not being able to help every single person that contacts us.

Sometimes there just isn’t a solution or we have to refer them to another agency.

We got some competition along the way, but I feel we have an amazing reputation and there are so many people who need the type of service that we offer that it is wonderful they have choices. We are good friends with our competitors. It is not the type of industry where people who are mean or nasty last. You have to genuinely love seniors and those people are usually great people to work with in general.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Senior Living Experts – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
We help families navigate all of their options when they need to place a loved one in senior living – especially assisted living and memory care. We partner with over 200 properties in the area and we are familiar with their strengths and weaknesses.

When a family contacts us, we usually start with a phone call to determine their needs, the care level of the person who will need to move, their budget and preferred location. We also ask them questions they usually don’t think about because senior living is not something people are expert at shopping at. We are!

Once we have determined 2 or 3 properties that will work, we set up tours for you. We then meet you at the first property and go on the tour with you. This is helpful because the process is new and overwhelming and there are many questions you may forget to ask. We really hand select the properties for you based on what we know and have found that going to more than 3 places is a waste of time & confusing. We can then summarize the pros and cons of each property with you, as well as re-explain pricing and what is included. The final decision is then left up to you.

There is no charge for our service as we get paid a fee by the communities we work with. We do not partner with communities that we feel do not offer great service. We do work with over 200 in the area. And we will show you a property we do not partner with if that truly is one of your best options. Fortunately, we work with just about everyone.

What sets us apart from our national competition is that we provide the in person tours. We have also been all of these properties many many times. And we usually are very familiar with the people that run them. Some are better than others and we know that even if a property is pretty, if they staff isn’t that great, it’s not going to work. We are way more hands on and personal. I like to say the national company is Walmart and we are Nordstrom. I used to work at Nordstrom many years ago, so I feel like I can say that. Anyone could really start this kind of business if they wanted to, and many people have even bought into franchises to do so. But they don’t always last because they don’t have the patience or the expertise.

We are very proud of all of the amazing reviews we get from clients and most of our business is people who have worked with us in the past remembering how much easier we made it for them and they refer neighbors, friends, co-workers. We also get a lot of people referred to us by professionals over and over again like geriatric care managers, elder care attorneys, and doctors. They would not refer to us if we made them look bad or did not deliver the service they said we could.

Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
Chicago is a huge dynamic exciting city with a small town feel. Especially in our industry, we all help each because everyone in senior care is focused on seniors and they want to provide the best services possible. We share resources, information, and often get together personally to hang out! I have lived in DC and Seattle never felt the kindness of strangers that I do in Chicago. Residents stopping their walk to work to help a tourist find something. People making eye contact and smiling. I think we might take that for granted. Living elsewhere made me really see it.

What I like least is that there are actually not that many options for seniors in the city and a lot of times we have to move a long time city dweller to the suburbs – because the best place for them is there. I don’t know if it’s a cost thing or a zoning thing or a combination of that and other factors. I would like to see more assisted living and memory care options in the city – both private pay and subsidized.

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Getting in touch: VoyageChicago is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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