Ky Sisson and his family own the in-home senior care firm Lend-A-Hand, opened in 1992. He was also a reporter and personality on Reno’s Channel 2, KTVN. On Jan. 5, Sisson launched a new television show on the channel to combine his passions. Aging & Awesome airs weekly on Saturday evenings at 7 p.m.
Tell me more about Lend-A-Hand.
My mom, dad and grandparents founded Lend-A-Hand in 1992, when I was in the womb. … My mother had a vision for in-home senior caregiving, which now is a mega-industry—whereas 26 years ago, it wasn’t. She was a pioneer in the industry and across the state. We were the first in Reno, and later on she was the lobbyist who [obtained] legislation to ensure the protection of seniors, of a vulnerable population, from agencies that were frivolous.
What is your mother’s name?
Tammy—Tammy Sisson. She’s a pioneer in assisted living, group homes, adult day centers. She’s has an amazing heart for seniors. … Lend-A-Hand has really been our platform—we call it our ministry—to help people who are unable to do the activities of daily living.
What’s your role in Lend-A-Hand?
I do day-to-day operations. I talk to clients. I hire our caregivers. … I’m constantly hiring. We don’t hire just anybody with a pulse. … Everyone’s hurting for employees, and so I do a really thorough, four-step process. … I was doing marketing and PR early on. And then this show came to mind. I thought, well, if I could do this, it would be an amazing outreach for this company, but I wanted it to be about other providers, too. I didn’t want it to be the Lend-A-Hand show. …
How long were you on television?
I worked freelance for three years, and I worked at Channel 2 for two years. My personality, my mantra was always outgoing, energetic, outgoing. … I like the really energetic, more talk show, lifestyle type of television. So, I said, “OK, I can combine two of my passions here—senior care … and then also that aspect of being Aging & Awesome.
That’s the name of the show, right? You mentioned talking about problems seniors face, but that sounds like there’s more to it, more positive stuff.
No, it’s not just addressing the problems. It’s showcasing the brilliant, wonderful personalities—the love, the passion for life that our senior community has. Yes, aging is challenging, but there are ways to stay aging and awesome.
Your co-host, Jo Dellaripa, is 86?
She’s 86, and she is kind and loving and positive and optimistic—and so she embodies what I want others to see. I’m just a dude who is young and likes to tell stories and has the energy to do two full-time jobs. … I want the audience to see Jo. I want the audience to see Jo and go, “Wow! If she can do it, I can do it!” …
Give me some details on topics you’ll cover.
The biggest thing is that we want people to take away tangible information, substance they can use in their lives to meet the challenges that will come. Everybody is getting older. Everyone is going to have an aging mother or father. We want people to go, “OK, I learned on Aging & Awesome that when mom is doing x, y and z, we should get her to a doctor to be evaluated for Alzheimers.” … No one wants to talk about that. No one wants to talk about mortality. Nobody wants to talk about things like “What is ageism?”—and ageism is a horrible, discriminatory, very widely accepted form of discrimination. How can we be aware when we’re being ageist? Those are some topics that no one really knows about.