Season 2 | Episode #5

How To Innovate Senior Care With Healthcare CEO Kris Chana 

Throughout this podcast and article, there is mention of Chelsea Place Senior Care. They have since rebranded to ActivAge Daytime Senior Care

Today, let’s learn about the inspiring journey of young entrepreneurs in the senior care industry. We focus on Kris Chana, who ventured into this field at the young age of 23. Driven by a profound passion to make a significant impact in the lives of seniors and their families, Kris’s decision to start a senior care business was not just a career choice but a commitment to enhancing the quality of life for older people. 

His deep-seated desire to help and connect with older adults motivated him to tackle the unique challenges of the senior care sector. This blog outlines how these early experiences shaped Kris’s approach to business and leadership, highlighting his commitment to building a caring and responsive service that addresses the real needs of seniors.

Life Before Becoming a Healthcare CEO

Starting a senior care business at a young age is rare. A deep passion for helping others drove Chana to enter the senior care industry at only 23. The primary motivation behind his choice was to make a meaningful impact in the lives of seniors and their families.

Starting a senior care business at a young age presented unique challenges for him. People didn’t need to understand why a younger person would be involved in senior care. With limited resources, Kris Chana and his wife, Chelsea Chana, lived in the assisted living facility for three and a half years.

They both took on various roles, from caregiving to marketing. They had to handle every aspect of the business, from cooking and cleaning to providing personal care for the residents. This hands-on experience provided a deep understanding of the challenges and needs of seniors, serving as a constant reminder of the humble beginnings and the dedication required to care for older adults.

How To Disrupt the Space as a Healthcare CEO

Being deeply involved in the day-to-day operations in the early days provided him with a profound understanding of the challenges and needs of seniors. This hands-on experience instilled empathy and appreciation for the team around him today. It allowed him to relate to their experiences and better understand the roles they fulfill. Chana’s firsthand experience has influenced his leadership style, emphasizing the importance of being actively involved and understanding the frontline work rather than making decisions from a distance.

Chana sees himself as a disruptor in the senior living space, challenging the status quo and striving to create change. He believes that the industry has become accustomed to the status quo, and he is dedicated to shaking things up and introducing innovative approaches.

About the Senior Daycare Center 

When Chana and his team considered Chelsea Place’s next steps, they stumbled upon an unexpected opportunity that would revolutionize the senior care industry. After encountering multiple requests for daytime care in their assisted living community, Chana delved into the world of adult daycare centers and was astonished by the limited options available to families. Most adult daycare centers were Medicaid-funded, limiting their ability to provide a high-quality experience for participants, especially for privately paid clients.

Addressing the Need for Change

Chana identified the need to offer a better experience for seniors and their families, particularly those not covered by Medicaid. He recognized the growing financial burden of one-on-one care. He saw an opportunity to create a cost-effective solution to enhance the value provided to seniors and their families.

Introducing Innovative Senior Daycare

In response to these challenges, Chana and his team opened a licensed senior daycare center with a capacity of 60 people. This standalone facility was designed to provide a comprehensive and enriching experience for seniors, offering an alternative to traditional home care and assisted living services.

The Impacts of Isolation on Seniors

The pandemic has exacerbated the issue of isolation for seniors, with many experiencing heightened feelings of loneliness and disconnection due to restrictions on social interactions and limited access to community resources. As a result, it has become even more crucial to provide innovative and engaging experiences for seniors to combat the effects of isolation.

Increased Isolation and Loneliness

The pandemic has led to a significant increase in the isolation and loneliness experienced by seniors. They have been unable to participate in social activities, visit with friends and family, or engage in their usual routines. This has had a profound impact on their mental and emotional well-being, contributing to feelings of depression and anxiety.

Addressing Isolation Through Engaging Experiences

To address the challenges posed by the pandemic, Chelsea Place has implemented creative initiatives to promote social connection and engagement among seniors. The center aims to alleviate loneliness and give seniors a sense of purpose and fulfillment by offering stimulating activities, virtual interactions, and personalized support.

Embracing Technology for Connection

Utilizing technology has been instrumental in bridging the gap caused by physical distancing measures. Chelsea Place has leveraged digital platforms to facilitate virtual social gatherings, educational sessions, and interactive experiences, allowing seniors to connect with their peers and loved ones from the safety of their own homes.

Prioritizing Mental and Emotional Well-being

In response to the heightened isolation experienced by seniors, they have strongly emphasized promoting mental and emotional well-being. This includes offering counseling services, organizing support groups, and implementing strategies to foster a sense of community and belonging among seniors.

Activities at the Senior Daycare Center

At Chana’s daycare center, they offer a variety of engaging and enjoyable activities to ensure that seniors have a fulfilling and stimulating experience during their time there.

Interactive Games and Puzzles

Organizing interactive games and puzzles, from board games to brain teasers, helps keep seniors mentally sharp and entertained. The activities promote cognitive function and social interaction.

Creative Arts and Crafts

Seniors can unleash their creativity through art and craft sessions, allowing them to express themselves while engaging in therapeutic and enjoyable activities.

Physical Fitness and Movement

Chana prioritizes physical well-being at the daycare by offering exercise classes and gentle movement sessions tailored to their participants’ abilities and comfort levels.

Social Events and Celebrations

The center hosts social events and celebrations to foster community and connection, allowing seniors to share laughter and joy with their peers.

Music and Entertainment

Music therapy and live entertainment are integral parts of their programming, offering musical experiences that enrich and entertain seniors.

Cooking and Culinary Activities

Seniors can engage in cooking demonstrations, baking sessions, and culinary experiences to explore their passion for food and nutrition in a supportive and interactive setting.

Themed Days and Special Programs

Chelsea Place organizes themed days and special programs to add variety and excitement to our activities, ensuring that each day brings new experiences and opportunities for connection.

A Healthcare CEO on His Favorite Content

Chana and his team have created diverse, engaging, and heartwarming content on their YouTube channel, showcasing the extraordinary experiences and adventures they provide for seniors at Chelsea Place. Some of their favorite stories and videos include:

Parasailing Adventure

One of the most memorable moments captured on their channel is the parasailing adventure with Lee, a 78-year-old resident. The video documents the surprise and excitement as they took Lee on her first parasailing experience, creating a truly unforgettable and joyous moment for her.

Convertible Mustang Ride

An uplifting video features a resident from their assisted living facility enjoying a thrilling ride in a convertible Mustang. By renting a Mustang, the team ensured compliance with lockdown restrictions while providing the resident with an exhilarating and safe experience.

Upcoming Adventures

Chana and his team have exciting plans for future videos, including helicopter rides, deep-sea fishing trips, airplane rides, and more. These upcoming adventures promise to capture the spirit of adventure and joy that Chelsea Place brings to its residents.

Cultural Impact and Team Engagement

Beyond its impact on the residents, the YouTube channel has also significantly shaped the internal culture at Chelsea Place. By inviting the team to participate in the content creation process and showcasing the genuine care and dedication of the staff, the channel has fostered a sense of purpose and excitement among the team members, further reinforcing the positive impact of their work.

How Healthcare CEOs Can Create Content to Impact Their Company Culture

By sharing authentic and unfiltered experiences through the YouTube channel, Chana has fostered a culture of transparency and resilience within Chelsea Place. The videos showcasing the challenges and triumphs of business ownership have humanized the brand and allowed the team to connect with the audience on a deeper level. This transparency has empowered the staff to embrace a problem-solving mindset and adapt to the dynamic nature of entrepreneurship.

Involving the team in the content creation process has instilled a sense of pride and purpose, reinforcing their commitment to providing exceptional care for seniors. The YouTube channel has showcased the residents’ remarkable experiences and highlighted the dedication and passion of the entire Chelsea Place team, creating a culture of authenticity, empathy, and continuous improvement.

An Inspiring Book and Quote Recommendation From a Healthcare CEO

One of Chana’s favorite books, which has significantly impacted his entrepreneurial journey, is “Your Next Five Moves” by Patrick David. The book provides valuable insights into strategic thinking and business tactics, offering practical knowledge that has dramatically influenced Chana’s approach to entrepreneurship. Patrick David’s methodical and educational content has served as a mentor for him, shaping his understanding of business and leadership.

As for a favorite quote, Chana resonates with Napoleon Hill’s “Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” This principle underscores the power of determination, self-belief, and unwavering confidence in pursuing one’s aspirations, reflecting Chana’s mindset and approach to overcoming challenges and achieving success as an entrepreneur.

Advice for Other Healthcare CEOs

Encouraging young individuals to pursue careers in senior care is vital for the industry’s future. Here are some actionable insights for healthcare leaders seeking to inspire and engage more young talent in senior care:

  • Emphasize the Impact: Highlight the meaningful and fulfilling aspects of working in senior care, showcasing the difference young individuals can make in the lives of seniors and their families.
  • Education and Awareness: Foster awareness about the diverse opportunities within the senior care space, emphasizing the need for talent across various roles, from caregiving to innovative care model development.
  • Mentorship and Guidance: Establish mentorship programs and platforms for young professionals to connect with experienced leaders in the senior care sector, providing guidance and support as they navigate their careers.
  • Collaborative Initiatives: Encourage collaboration between healthcare organizations, educational institutions, and industry associations to promote the appeal and accessibility of careers in senior care to young individuals.
  • Advocacy for Innovation: Advocate for integrating youth-centric innovation and fresh perspectives in senior care, fostering an environment that values and welcomes new ideas and approaches.
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