Steven Gan

Steven Gan
Helping people think through the experience of caregiving for loved ones
Oakton alum Steven Gan knows firsthand the experience of caring for a loved one. During the four years he spent caring for his mother toward the end of her life, Steven became interested with the science behind her medications and how they impacted her health and level of care. He embarked on an educational journey at Oakton, where he found a community of professors and advisors who encouraged him to explore a new career in the medical field.

Although Steven’s mom passed away in December 2020, he has channeled his passion for caregiving by helping others who are grappling with whether or not to serve in a caregiving role.

Discovering a new passion for the field of healthcare
“I have been a CPA working in the field of credit risk management for the past 40 years, but life can sometimes catapult us in a completely different direction.

I never thought that I would be my mother’s full-time caregiver. When my mom started to decline mentally and physically, I felt I needed to act. I began to research ways I could improve her health and quality of life at the age of 88, and learned it would help her to focus on nutrition, exercise and reducing her medications.

As I researched each drug she was taking, I became intrigued by their molecular structures. This motivated me to want to study the biochemistry and pharmacology behind each drug’s method of action.

Fortunately, I discovered Oakton College where I could study biochemistry, pharmacology, and many other courses in the life sciences that would greatly support the level of care I was able to provide to my mom. This included the Person-Centered Elder Care Support certificate and becoming a Certified Nursing Assistant through Oakton’s Basic Nurse Assistant Training curriculum.

With the knowledge I gained through my coursework, along with consulting with my mother’s healthcare providers, eventually my mom was taken off all her medications. At the age of 90, this was completely unheard of.

At the same time, I also took the prerequisite courses necessary to apply for and be accepted by various physician assistant (PA) programs. Through my participation in the Alzheimer's Association, the National Caregiving Association, and the National Geriatric Society, my goal was to work as a PA in geriatric medicine.”

Finding a second career and a purpose by sharing caregiving insights with others
“It’s a lofty goal to pursue becoming a PA at the age of 66, but after careful consideration, my desire to help other potential caregivers has become my focus.

The Baby Boomer generation requires care despite a shortage of qualified caregivers, and so more and more family members are now being faced with taking on the direct caregiving role.

But not everyone can manage the challenges of being a loved one’s caregiver. In addition to the direct physical and mental challenges, there are a multitude of financial, legal, insurance, logistical, and human relational challenges that can be difficult to grapple with. In view of the totality of what is required to care for a loved one, I partnered with Dan Reid to create a course titled, Could You, Would You and Should You Be Your Loved One’s Caregiver? Our course is a road map that helps people understand to what extent they are able to be successful in the caregiving role. We are delighted to be teaching this course at Oakton College.

It is my hope that as my life’s journey moves forward, I can continue to have a purposeful life by supporting those individuals who anticipate a caregiving situation for their loved one in the near future.”