Episode 1: Getting to Know Steve Bennet-Martin
In the first episode of Senior Living on the Suncoast, host Steve Bennet-Martin shares a brief overview of his extensive background in senior living.
Topics Mentioned Include his past jobs at the YMCA, Institute of Reading Development, New Vitality, New Health Corp, Windsor Reflections, Omnicare, Savannah Grand of Sarasota, Senior Crossroads of Florida, and his current job at Approved Home Health.
Hi. Everyone out there both listening and watching. This is Steve Bennett Martin and I am the host of the new podcast that you are now listening to Senior Living on the Suncoast. This is the first senior centered podcast to assist us all as we navigate the complex systems of aging together, up and down the sun coast of Florida.
As I mentioned earlier, I am your host, Steve Bennet-Martin. And my mission is to help make sure that the rest of your life really and truly is the best of your life. And for this episode, I’m gonna start by introducing myself a little bit more thoroughly, so that you have an idea of who I am as we move forward in this show and give you an idea of kind of what the format will be. As I attempt you launch a podcast emits the cove in 19 Pandemic that is currently facing not only our country but our entire world. So it should be quite interesting as I start this journey around this time on how I will pivot and change direction for some of the guest star interviews and videos I had planned. But we will do the best to make sure that we’re getting you this information as soon as I can get it ready and available for you, because a lot of these air tools that will really help us now more than ever. But to begin a little bit about me like I mentioned, uh, my name is Steve Bennett Martin. I grew up this Steve Bennett and I grew up on Long Island, New York, and rather than growing up as a mama or a daddy’s boy, I was always Grammy’s little boy. I’ve always loved seniors, and the first senior I’ll I’ve ever loved was my Grammy is Fuel IQ, and she would be the person When I woke up in the morning and got ready for school, I wanted to go over and bring her a newspaper and see her before school after school. If I needed help with my homework, I wanted to go over to her house. I wanted to help her with dinner. I wanted to be with her every chance I got. I was blessed enough to have her grow up around the corner from me, so I got plenty of brainy time. But that’s where I developed my love for seniors. That still exists well into today. Meanwhile, uh, during my high school career, my dad, I wanted to make me responsible, and I thank him now that he did. Unlike my 14th birthday, he took me to the local white messy, and I got a job as a swim instructor. And that’s when I discovered my love for teaching and educating, starting off with swimming lessons, which was just natural at the lie but taking it from there in college when I went to SUNY Albany, I did study both psychology and education with to eventually become a teacher because I fell in love with helping others learn and helping share information. Because from a young age I’ve always felt I’ve been gifted at being able to take these complex things and reword it in a way that could help others. I was always the one with, you know, the perfect great average in high school, but so I would spend my time helping my peers, helping my friends do better. And so I was always a natural born teacher, an instructor, and I just wasn’t really sure at the time. Everyone kind of just said, Well, if you’re a teacher, you become a teacher And I didn’t realize until after I graduated college and was working with the development traveling all over that you know well, that is definitely one way that you could teach and get experience. There are many other jobs and passions in which you can be a teacher, and I wanted to try and find a way to combine that with my luck for seniors, especially after my Grammy’s passing and I moved down to Sarasota, Florida I wanted to make sure that I can kind of honor her some way. I know that. I started off doing the closest thing I could find to something I had up north, which was working at New Health Cork selling natural vitamin supplements, which is similar to what I did it. New vitality, selling natural health products. And the idea was to help seniors after a while of working there as much as some of the products were amazing and did wonderful work there. Raspberry ketone, flush, Help me should so much weight. I became anorexic in the best way possible. Just kidding. I am a healthy weight now unhappy with myself. But yes, that was quite a NIF active product. But after a while, you start with these natural products that come with the half to your price tag. You’re wondering if these really are supposed to help everyone. Wouldn’t they may be made available. For all you know, I started to feel like Eleanor from the Good Place, and so I wanted to take a note from my boyfriend at the time. No husband on. Try working directly with seniors, hands on. And so I was lucky enough to get a job at Windsor Reflections, which is a local memory care assisted living community in town in Liquid Ranch. And I started office, the customer service associate, which might sound like I was selling you computers and iPad products because it is like the same job title. I had a best Buy, but instead it actually was more of a business office manager. But the sprayed opportunity for me being newer in the field of senior living toe learn every aspect of senior living from the ground up, not just running the business office and doing the payroll and the hiring and the HR and all of the operation work, but that when our maintenance guy needed help that I was able to help out him and learn the maintenance side of running a facility, that I was able to help with the kitchen, that I was able to help with the caregivers who were just doing amazing work day in and day out. They don’t get paid enough. They don’t recognize enough. These people, especially in the memory care community, is where they’re doing things that I wouldn’t even done for my Grammy, even though I loved her more than anything. And these people are doing it for a virtual stranger sitting in and day out. So getting to see how all of these roles operate was just an amazing experience that I’ll think that company legend senior, living for forever. And while I was working there, I was so determined to run my own building one day that they helped me get my court certifications. So I did learn all the state rules and regulations, take the test and pass so that one day I could become an executive director for an assistant living in town. However, right after my passing of the certification, I also managed to get an opportunity to transition to a sales role, which I considered more of a challenge but more of an immediate step up and one that I decided to take. And it was a great learning experience because honestly, at that time I really did feel like I knew everything that there was to learn about senior living from the inside of the building. But I didn’t really know much about our community. And so I took this position as a challenge and another to being more challenging than ever, because for those of you who didn’t know me before the past year, Thio I was severely introverted for the most part, unless you were one of the very specific people in my inner circle that happened to get to know me pass that, um, that outside roughness. But it is something that I had to work on actively in my sales role. I remember the first couple of networking communities I went to where I was like terrified, standing in the corner, just watching everyone not knowing who to talk to or what to dio. But it did help me get out of my shell. My time they’re working in sales helped me become more of the extroverted social butterfly that I am today to the point now where the idea of not getting out there and being involved in the community is driving me insane. Not actually, but almost because I just miss my peopling. I miss my friends that I consider my network and my coworkers and my experts and people don’t want to see and talk with a Miss Seniors and working with them. But I understand it this time. It’s important to distance ourselves with of, ah, virus going around. However, at that time, while I was working in sales, I got this wonderful opportunity to work with. Omnicare, which is a branch of CVS that sells the pharmacy service, is that you get at CVS Pharmacy to assisted living communities throughout the state of Florida, and I started them right after a really rough time in their operations history, and so that gave me a chance to really get my thick skin as I was walking into communities and being walked right back out. But it was an amazing experience traveling the entire state of Florida, being the statewide sales rep it was an amazing experience because I got the opportunity to step in virtually every single assistant living on in the state of Florida as of 17 4018 which I know that with the rate that they build that can’t be said nowadays. But as of 2 to 3 years ago, I can honestly say that I have been in almost every assisted living in this state, and it was just eye opening to the resource is that we had not only in my own backyard with Sarasota and Braid Insane and Lakewood Ranch and the options we have in our senior living community, but also in our neighboring cities like down South Cape Coral in Fort Myers and going up north to ST Pete and Tampa like these really areas. When I would go out that I would find comfort in the communities where I would know that our seniors are cared for, that they have the resources that they need. If they knew where to find them, there were other parts of Florida that I would travel to that I would feel very uncomfortable. Even I loved when I really cared about in any of their communities just because it just they didn’t have the same options. The same resource is the same standards that we have here. And so we are blessed on the Suncoast. And that really helped open my eyes to it, of course, having a traveling position that, as I was during my one year anniversary and looking at, you know, more weeks where I was gone Monday through Thursday or Monday through Friday, that I was at home with my now husband, knowing that we were gonna be welcoming a child into our lives. Eventually, as we had gone through the parenting classes, I wanted to try and come back home. And I got this wonderful opportunity to work with Savannah Grand of Sarasota, which is a local assisted living community. Nice, small home like community. And that, I would say, is when I really felt welcomed home in a way that I wasn’t expecting. I had anticipated after my time away, traveling the state not really Able Thio Network locally, or get to keep in contact with not only my professionals but my even friends and family that I have lost contact with during this time as a road warrior, but they welcomed me back with open arms. They have wonderful people like Cindy Zimmerman, who just and Pam Baron from the chips. Yes, you, when I’ve for saw them and they were like your back, it was so welcoming and so unexpected that it just only got better from there. My time it’s Savannah Grand is when I really made and created this network. You know what professionals like. Consider now, my friends and resource is, should I ever run into any problem related to seniors that I can answer myself, which luckily, isn’t that frequent? But when it happens, I know that I have a lot of resources available to me that could help, and I wouldn’t have gotten those had it not been my time at seven a grand coming home and finding those resources. However, I did realize after a while that my passion is for more outside networking. But I got this opportunity with Denise Trebek at Senior Crossroads of Florida to really learn the ins and outs of navigating every aspect of senior living for any senior, not just those in assisted living, but those in their own home with complicated care needs those and skilled nursing facilities, those rehabs those in hospitals. Um, I even worked with Children with complex care needs and health issues. And it was just this wonderful, intense experience of learning everything I could about navigating all of these systems and as soon as time is possible because I had these 10 to 12 people that were ultimately my responsibility and Denise was an amazing resource. And during my time, working with her, she helped me learn what I feel was like decades worth of information that was downloaded into my brain over this intense, you know, collegiate level X masterclass course of being a care manager and what that means and how to work with all of these systems and how they all work together and how to get what you need to be an advocate for our seniors in the community. I mean, she changed my life more than she ever could. However, at this time we also saw the writing on the wall that our adoption, which we’d been three years almost in the running, was finally about to happen. We almost were at the point where we found our forever daughter. And so as much as I loved working with Denise and the knowledge and experience she gave me, and I can only imagine what I could have learned had have stayed there longer. I needed to take care of my family first and get a good job with great health benefits. And I’m so thankful that I did, because I led me to approved home health, which I concern right now is the best job I’ve ever had. My my boss, Laurie, is amazing, wonderful, and it’s giving me the freedom. To sell the way that I need to with this great product of these caregivers that really care and this network of caress part of stratum, part of the Tidewell family, where no matter where they are in their life, we can help provide those caregivers companions that seniors or loved ones need. And I have amazing benefits. But I’m also able to offer this public this amazing resource where I’m not just one of a 1,000,000 home health companies out there, but, um, the only home health company that’s chap accredited and non profit, but also part of this network of care where if they need skilled health, I can help them with the divinity. If they need hospice, we can help prepare them for that talk and get him set up that we have these mobile physicians. And so this great network that I’m really happy to be a part of it was the perfect timing, because that’s the same time. And we were blessed with the adoption of our daughter, Pricillia. And between those two things going on at once. I also was crazy enough on top of having a relatively new job and a new family. I also launched a new podcast, but that was the amount of freedom that where he gave me in the inspiration that she gave me a swell as the experience that I had of going on a vacation with my husband to Las Vegas, not normally leaving my backyard for any reason other than like a something else on the East Coast. And so going driving from the Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon and just realizing how small my world was and how much bigger I wanted it to be, I decided to launch this podcast and it came out January 1st. It was a lifetime of happiness still going on strong. It is my passion project. It is certainly something that I will continue on, even with this podcast being my focus for the near future. And that is because, ah, lifetime of happiness is what really helped me fall in love with not only listening to podcasts, which I did when I was working as a road warrior for Omnicare but also as a podcast creator and producer. By doing a lifetime of happiness, I got the opportunity go to Pod Fest, and that experience changed my life of finding my people, finding my tribe and realizing that, yes, my life is about helping seniors. It’s always been about helping seniors. But I also learned that pod fast being around these other supportive people and being around these other creative minds that I also realized that part of my purpose for being here is to podcast, to swallow, to help people share their voices and help give these answers to the questions that our community needs answered. But they don’t always know to ask. And so I’m really happy to have taken that all together and taken all of us experience from the start of my career, working at the Y M c a thio the crappy retail jobs I did during college toe everything I shared with you about now on combine it into this podcast senior living on the Suncoast. And so I’m very excited that in the very near future we’re gonna be releasing regular content that includes news and events during the news and events. Each episode I plan to discuss current events related to senior living on the Suncoast, including educational workshops and health fairs and symposiums and other resource is for education. Where you might be able to attend in person were virtually right now that can help you get the tools and resource is, as you are working and preparing on aging or caring for a loved one that might be aging while also talking about news headlines and how they might be affecting us. I’m not always the most new savvy person, so this will be a challenge for me to really start to learn about what’s going on not only in my direct community, but more of the news that might be affecting our community, and I look forward to sharing it with all of you. I also know that podcasting is a great platform for binge listening. And so we will keep that relatively short and also keep information upon our websites and social media’s for those people, so that if you are catching up, you can just catch up quicker than usual. We also will then dive into a army and topic discussion. I will do my best to bring you an expert as often as possible. Of course, if I don’t, it’s because I’ll be very confident that I am the expert in that topic. But I always find that two minds are better than one, and it’s always more fun to have someone to bounce off of. And so I do plan on bringing guests regularly to talk about topics related to senior living on the Suncoast. I definitely want to start off by covering the basics. You know what is assisted? Living? What is memory care? What is private duty? Home health? What are these common definitions that you shouldn’t know about to kind of know what’s to come? Because this lay the groundwork for what will become these high level discussions. But I want to make sure that you know, when I start rattling off all these abbreviations going forward that you understand what I mean, because I know that’s one of the most intimidating things is when you start navigating this process. Oftentimes in an emergency where your loved one might have, you know, had a fall and broken their hip, another in the hospital and they have dementia and they can’t go home. And you have to find a community, have them move into, and you don’t know anything. In the first time that the doctor starts talking to you, start talking about a lefts and memory, cares and sniffs in rehabs, and you’re you don’t know about your home health’s and with the Home Health Summer talking about companions and some are talking about nursing and Beatty and OT And what are those in? You know they can be. Even if you know one or two of those words from your experience, you rarely will know all of them. And so I want to start by just providing those basics before we get to the higher level concepts. And, of course, I want this podcast to be as interactive as possible. And so I really am planning and expecting to keep a question and answer section going so that as we are recording and as we are releasing new content, you guys can be emailing me and posting on our Facebook page and writing in or calling in asking questions about senior living. Because I am privileged enough, I can only have a lot of these answers. I also have these amazing professionals that I work with and that I’ve been working with for years, that have between all of us. We have so much experience that if I don’t know an answer, I know that I can get you the answer. And so the best and easiest way to get those questions over to me would be our email address, which is www dot happy life pod at gmail dot com. I also have kept that happy life pod through all of our social media’s like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and that is our main website as well. W w w dot happy life pod dot com and you haven’t gotten it yet. That’s H a p p y l i f e p o d dot com The reason why senior living on the Sun Coast has that as our website is because it is part of the Happy Life Pod production company, which I have started with a lifetime of happiness and its now branching out into other podcasts. So whether you have a podcast that’s local or positive based and you’re interested in joining my network of podcasters, or if you’re interested in starting a podcast of your own, you can always reach out to me for that as well, until next time, everyone stay happy. And thanks for listening to Senior Living on the Suncoast.
Episode 2: What is Independent Living?
To help define and discuss Independent Living host Steve Bennet-Martin brings on guest expert and spouse Stephen Martin-Bennet, the CFO at Lakehouse West. Together, we break down the pros and cons of independent living, how to prepare for it, and answer frequently asked questions regarding what independent living really looks like.
Stephen’s company, Lakehouse West, can be reached here:
3455 Fox Run Road, Sarasota, FL
Hello there, everyone. And welcome to senior Living on the Sun Coast. I’m your host, Steve Bennet Martin. And I’m happy to bring you the only senior centered podcast to assist us all as we navigate the complex systems of aging together, up and down the sun coast of Florida. My mission with this podcast is to help make sure that the rest of your life really is the best of your life. Which means today we’ll be talking about independent living, and this guest needs no introduction to some of you. But too many of you. His name might confuse you a bit. His name is Stephen Martin Bennet. He is my husband, my co host on the upcoming season of a lifetime of happiness on the Suncoast. And he has been working an independent living for how many years now love?
Stephen It has been almost nine years. Yeah, nine years. And as Steve said, my name is Stephen Martin Bennett, and I’m the chief financial officer at Lake House West here in Sarasota, Florida.
Steve Yes, and especially since I’m sure hopefully some of your co workers will be tuned in to this episode on Why don’t we start by breaking the ice with one fact about you that the seniors and people you work with might not know.
Stephen So before I moved to Florida, I was heavily involved in theater in West Virginia and in Cincinnati, Ohio, where I moved here from did a lot of acting on the side, and it was something that I really enjoyed. I have not really pursued that here in Florida, but it has been one of my passions my whole life.
Steve Yes, and I love hearing your acting stories. So I know you don’t exactly have the disposable extra time right now to be joining A full production play. But I hope one day you get to pursue that down here. That would be fantastic. Yes, And in this point of the episode, normally we would be talking about news and current events they’re coming on. But as we’re recording this at the very end of March and likely airing this the beginning of April, the big news and updates that we’re all talking about right now seem to be about Cove in 19 Pandemic that’s going on. And so why don’t you just share with the audience kind of for your independent living community, how you guys have been handling it and where you see it going in the next couple weeks.
Stephen So we have been taking this very seriously since even before a lot of the restrictions were put into place. He started with We have a system called a Q Shield is how all of our guests and caregivers and vendors sign into the system. And it had we instituted a selection of questions on there that help us screen who was coming into the building. And we’ve been doing that for about a month now at our guard house, which is how you get onto the property. Everyone is screened with a set of questions, and their temperature is taken before they’re even allowed onto the property. Currently, we are only allowing staff that are healthy, um, deliveries, which are allowed to go to the front door and no further or to the service bang and home health workers and physicians. Everybody else, unfortunately, is not allowed in at this time. We’re trying to be as consciousness possible. All social gatherings have been canceled. All of our meals are being delivered to the residents. Rooms were asking them to stay on the property. It is independent living. So they are allowed to go where they want to. But we’re asking them to stay. And we’re also trying to institute the hill six feet of space around so that their physical distance is kept to that safe distance that the CDC is talking about.
Steve Excellent, Yes. And hopefully by that time that this airs a couple of weeks from now. This will all be just a funny strange memory and it won’t be something Well, we’re living in or dealing with anymore. Fingers crossed. Yes, but for those of you were who were unfamiliar with independent living when I looked it up. Ah, the independent living, as seen by its advocates, is a philosophy, a way of looking at society and disability in a worldwide movement of people with disabilities working for equal opportunities, self determination and self respect in the context of elder care, which is where we’re talking about. It’s a scene as a step in the continuum of care, with assisted living being the next step. Now those definitions both their very vague. So can you give us a better idea of what it what Ennis independent living community is like.
Stephen So the way I try to describe it to people is independent living, especially the Lake House West is like a country club where you get to live you’ve got and this is in normal times, not during over 19 times. But in normal times you’ve got the, um, the dining room area, which is it’s fine dining. It looks like a country club setting. We’ve got a heated pool. We’ve got a walking path that goes around the entire property. Once around, um, is 1/2 mile, we have shuffleboard. Bocce, we have pitch and putt golf. Um, we have transportation, to doctors appointments and shopping for those that choose not to drive anymore. Um, but it really is just a wonderful communal living atmosphere. And one of my favorite aspects about independent living are those seniors that move into an independent living facility are known to live roughly 8 to 9 years longer than those that would stay in their home. People that live in like us west. They have free maintenance on their apartment. You have a light bulb that goes out. We change your light bulb, you have housekeeping and It just is a wonderful way for them to enjoy these years of their life.
Steve Yeah, and I mean, I can understand, especially having a lot of those stressors of taking care of, ah, home being lifted off. How not having that stress and worry gives you that extra time to pursue things that make you happy. And so it gives you this ability, it, ah Tau live longer and healthier and happier. But you know, especially, I mean, with a wonderful community like yours, there’s also gonna be other communities out there with different offerings. And service is so what are the main common things that you would say that anyone in any independent living would expect.
Stephen So a lot of the things that we talked about in independent living are the universal,
Steve like the maintenance free living I know. It’s a big draw.
Stephen Maintenance, free living. The housekeeping, guaranteed one meal a day. Almost all of them have transportation. You’ve got just that communal aspect and everybody’s got a lot, especially in Florida, have the amenities like the pools and the different physical activities with Bochy on things, and it really is just such a benefit.
Steve And how would you say it’s different than a 55 plus community?
Stephen There’s a lot more structure with the 55 for us than a 55 plus community. A lot of the 55 plus communities, um, don’t have things included, like it with those you see a lot of it’s just an apartment building that everyone lives together where this is a community and you have the things included, like your meals and your maintenance and your housekeeping.
Steve Yes, and I can certainly imagine that being something that will help people as they get a aging up to the point. And so what would you say is the right age to start looking into independent living?
Stephen So with our community, you have to be 65 or older to move in, And so if you feel that that is the time for you to start looking, a lot of our residents are looking in their mid seventies too early eighties, and that seems to be a good time whenever you are finding that maybe living on your own isn’t for you or the maintenance of your house isn’t what you want anymore or the social aspect is something that you’re interested in. That’s what I’m saying. Come take a look at usSteve and with planning for independent living, knowing that that’s something that a lot of us might need at some point down the road for us in terms of cost our finances in general. I understand. You know, I know from firsthand experience you guys have the by an option. Communities either do a buy in or they do, Ah, a rental per month. And can you kind of explain the difference and kind of large ballpark ranges of how those numbers work around the area?
Stephen Sure, what usually see with rental communities our rents that are around the 5000 mark per month, and that will include, you know, one meal a day and the different amenities in the building. They usually will have a community service fee that can range anywhere from 3000 to $10,000. As a move in, that is usually to get the apartment ready for your use. With buyin communities, you put in, um, a larger amount to come in anywhere from if they can start it. And this is a ballpark general for all communities, not just specific Lake House West, but you would come in maybe starting 50 and there some communities and tell him that go over half a $1,000,000. Um, the more you put down to buy in, the less you pay per month. And a lot of the plans also have refunds. So, um, whether it’s a pro rated amount, however long you’re there of your buy in or whether it’s a guaranteed refund amount whenever you leave
Steve okay, well, that’s certainly it will help people prepare for the future, I’m sure. And in the in the time that you’ve been working an independent living, how would you say that independent living has changed?
Stephen One of the great things is that independent living is a great blend of needs based and want based living. Some people need to live there, or the lack of maintenance on their house that they can’t do it anymore, that they need to be somewhere where it’s maintenance free and people are helping with things like housekeeping and meals. And for some people, it’s a want it’s I want to live with other people. I want to experience this type of living in these years of my life and I’ve seen independent living stay that way. And the largest thing that anybody in the sales force of independent living will tell you is that we’re fighting against people staying in their homes. Nobody likes to move. Yeah, I mean, even at our age, nobody likes to move. It’s a pain. So whenever people are seniors, they don’t want to move, either. And they want to make sure that the move that they’re making is probably the last time they have to worry about moving
Steve course. Yeah, and I could certainly understand how. It’s a big decision that you have to worry about making. And so it’s It’s something you want to make sure you do your research in advance, which is why this will be a great episode for a resource for people. I’m sure now with what you do in the community and how long you’ve doing about what you say is one of your favorite parts of your job in working with the senior community.
Stephen So I have worked in finance for my whole adult life once getting out of college, and I’m good with numbers. Math is just something that has come easy to me, but I’m a people person, like with the theater background. I like interacting with people, but unfortunately, in the finance world, it’s usually you and a spreadsheet and e mails. But the great thing about senior living, and especially the Lake House West, is I get interaction with the residents on a daily basis, whether it’s someone asking about something related to my person part of the job or whether it’s just interacting with them on a personal basis. And you really develop a close familial friendship with the residents and we’re seeing each other every day. So they’re a big part of our lives, and I love an interaction. And there hasn’t been a day that I’ve been working at Lake House that I haven’t done something that has positively affected one of my residents lives and being able to go home at the end of the day and know that I’m making a positive benefit to them on a daily basis. It’s huge. My favorite thing.
Steve Yeah, I can see it. And I love that you come home every night with a smile on your face from your work and that you love it so much I have to say that your residents also are wonderful people. I got the pleasure of spending Hurricane Irma with many of them playing bartender, and it was certainly an experience that as scary as the experience was, I was glad that I was there and they were wonderful people to be around,
Stephen all right. Hurricane of her Mo was definitely eye opening for a lot of us. It was the first major hurricane I went through here in Florida since I moved down. And it was the first major hurricane that several of our residents had experienced living in a community like that. And that’s another wonderful thing. Lake House West is also built so strong and so secure. So it was probably the safest place we could have been in Sarasota, and that was reassuring for our residents. But we also made sure that during that time that they had all the meals they could want. Even when the power went out, you were able to cook for them. The generators came on, Um, we had entertainment. During that time. We played bingo. We played games. Um, we had a midnight, um, ice cream Sunday more in the middle of the hurricane, and it was things like that that we all grew closer. But it helped all of us get through that scary time. Yeah, and that’s that’s something that people living in their home still that they didn’t get to
Steve have that experience, right? They’re gonna be… It’s probably scarier.
Steve Yeah, even in a time right now of isolation where you guys aren’t doing as much as a community. I’m sure just having that sense of community is so much different than those who just might be in their homes
Stephen and even, just, you know, if someone’s going down to pick up their mail or, um, they’re dropping off something, you may see someone, and it’s just that knowledge that I’m not alone, that they may be doing their isolation, but they really aren’t alone. And they know that someone is pretty much no more than 30 feet away at all times.
Steve Yeah, and I know being that we are both young, younger in general for our community and Sarasota, what? And even when we tell our peers what we do for a living, a lot of times we got people who obviously have the stigma that isn’t true. But what are some of the more common misconceptions that you run into about like, what is not independent living?
Stephen So a lot of people will still use the term nursing home, which isn’t really used anymore. That term is now what people say skilled nursing. And a lot of people don’t understand that independent living is a thing because they know of skilled nursing facilities or memory care or even assisted livings. But a lot of people that aren’t in the senior living community don’t understand that we have these wonderful, vibrant, thriving communities or seniors that could be as active as they want or as relaxed as they want to be. And they have all these resource is available to him. So a lot of times it’s just educating them that there is this type of thing available.
Steve Yeah, and I mean, the whole idea of just a general search on the Internet can be a little overwhelming for people. It’s so daunting, and and so if someone were interested, either be in the Sun Coast or outside of our area. If they were interested in independent living, how would you recommend they go about trying to find those resource is
Stephen so the first thing I would definitely do is research independent living communities and use those specific words because that will filter out some of the other communities. That wouldn’t be exactly right for you. Whenever I’m searching on the Internet, I always use the word best like best Italian restaurant or best local clothing stores things like that. So if you’re looking in your area, put best independent retirement community, see what comes up at that point? Because that’s gonna be the thing. Either they’ve won an award. Someone’s voted them that way. That’s gonna be a really good tool to just narrow down some of the places you want to look. And once you found some and you’ll go to their Web sites and the websites, just like when you’re looking at homes online, you can click around and see. Does that look like somewhere that could be home to me? And once you’ve narrowed it down to a couple, all scheduled a tour, go in, talk to some of the people there, there, eat a meal because if this is where you’re gonna be spending, you know 10 to 15 years of your life you want to make sure that it’s absolutely right for you, because the people that work in these communities, that’s all they want, is for you to be happy.
Steve Yeah, and I could say I mean, there’s no harm to tour. Have a lunch, try your amazing food. And
Stephen we always say we’re more than happy for you to tour as many communities in town as you want because we’re pretty sure you’re coming back to us.
Steve Yeah, especially if they come to your holiday party, which is always a big, amazing experience each year
Stephen Ah a holiday gala is definitely a no holds bar holiday party with amazing food and entertainment and so much joy. That’s the big thing with Lake House. I always feel so much joy there. All the residents are kind of the staff is amazing. The longevity of our staff, like we had somebody retire last year. He had been our maintenance director for over 30 years. My head receptionist has been a lake house for 35 years Now. You don’t see people sticking around unless it’s a great place to work.
Steve Yeah, and you definitely isn’t. I’m glad that you’re in it for the long haul? Absolutely. And so this is normally the terminally We goto audience questions and answers. But since we are pretty launched right now, I wanted to just start with one of my easiest, easier questions. I would say I would say the first question is a name one of your favorite moments with seniors in your community.
Stephen So my seniors love to play watching, and they’re very, very good at it, and they would always say, Well, you guys should play with us So we created a staff team one year and we were not very good, but we got better as the season went on. But they did not take it easy on us at all. And there was a lot of good natured teasing back and forth between both sides, and that was a really great way for the staff to bond with the residents in a way that was outside of our normal interactions with, Um yes. So that’s always been one of my favorite things.
Steve And what was your team name?
Stephen We were the help.
Steve Yes. And, uh, I would say that I might already be able to guess since you were added up earlier. But if you weren’t working in this work, if you weren’t working with seniors, who would you be working with? Or what would you be doing with your life?
Stephen Oh, I’ve always wanted to be a soap star like I grew up with. Guiding Light was my favorite civil opera, and if so, I know there’s only a few left on the air. But if being a soap opera star was still like a whole thing, that is exactly what I would do.
Steve I can imagine. Well, who knows? Maybe you’ll make us a soap podcast one day or something. Oh, dare to dream. And if I was a senior, But as you said, I could be a CZ young as 65 move into your community. But with most of your residents being in the seventies or eighties, if I wasn’t at the point where he needed independent living yet, but I could use some extra help around the house, what could I do? Or what should I do?
Stephen My first thing, would you say, to call a home health agency
Steve like approved home health of help.
Stephen Why not call my husband, Steven Bennet Martin at approved home health because that would be a great way, even if it’s somebody to come and, you know, tidy up around your house, make a meal for you once a day, help with your groceries. We’re just that social interaction of having somebody there and playing cards with him for a couple hours. I think a home health if you’re not ready for independent living, but you need a little extra help home health agencies of the way to go.
Steve Excellent. Yes, well, I hope they give me a call or I’ll make sure you include my information as well as yours in the show notes. Thank you. And for the last question, what’s a one piece of advice you would give a new caregiver if someone just is all of a sudden responsible for caring for a loved one? What’s one piece of advice you would give to them?
Stephen One of the things that I’ve learned over the years at Lake House West is that at any age and with anything going on, everyone wants to be treated how you would normally treat them. Everyone wants to be treated with dignity, respect, kindness. Um, they most of them don’t want to be treated like they’re fragile or broken. They want you to joke with them and tease them and interact with them. How you would if you weren’t caring for them because other than their ailments, they’re still the same person they’ve always been.
Steve Yeah, And I would say that as beautiful and wonderful advice to definitely keep in mind that, you know, even if your relationship with that individual might change with that caring relationship, don’t forget that original relationship is still the basis. And so as we close out, if they were, don’t meet. If our audience wanted to reach out to you at Lake House West to schedule a tour, get some information that would be the best wayto to contact you guys. So
Stephen the three ways that I would suggest our check out our website www dot leg house west Don’t come. And that’s all. One word L a k g h o U S e w e s t dot com. You can check us out on Facebook. It’s facebook dot com Backslash Lake House, West Sarasota. Or, if you want to give Lake House West a call, it’s 94192375 to 5. And you’re gonna ask for Susan Solomon? She has been our sales director there for over 10 years now. And if there’s anybody that knows about independent living in the Sun Coast, it is Susan Solomon.
Steve Excellent. Well, thank you very much. And I would say if they were interested in following you on Twitter. You are a very active Twitter user and just someone who’s who’s fun to follow.
Stephen My Twitter handle is sj_martin .
Steve wonderful. Excellent. And thank you very much. Everyone else for tuning in and listening through the episode Suncoast on the thank you, everyone for tuning into Senior Living on the Sun Coast This is Steve Bennett Martin. You can always find us on our website www dot happy life pod dot com Are socials are also, you know, facebook dot com backslash happy life pod. We’re happy life pod at Twitter and on Instagram.
Stephen And so for those of you that air wondering how that spelled it is h a p p y l i f e he o d happy life pod on all social platforms.
Steve Yes, Excellent. Thank you very much. Everyone in until next time. Stay happy
Episode 3: What is Assisted Living?
April 15, 2020 HappyLifePod
Steve Bennet-Martin defines and discussed assisted living facilities with the assistance of guest experts, Elli and Mark Baldwin. Elli and Mark are owners of Sunways Assisted Living Concierge, as well as active members in multiple non-profits throughout the Suncoast.
For more general information on Assisted Living Facilities in Florida, check out the Agency for Health Care Administrations website: https://ahca.myflorida.com/
To contact Elli and Mark for additional help locating an assisted living facility for your loved one check out their website at https://www.sunwaysalc.com/ , e-mail them at email@example.com , or call them at 941-343-7747
Episode 3 Transcript (In Progress)
Hello there, everyone. And welcome to senior Living on the Suncoast. I’m your host, Steve Bennet Martin, And we’re happy to bring you the only senior center podcast to assist us all as we navigate the complex systems of aging together, up and down the sun coast of Florida. My mission with this podcast is to help make sure that the rest of your life is the best of your life. Which means today we’ll be talking about assisted living Our guest today, Elli and Mark Baldwin are the owners of Sunways assisted living concierge. Welcome to the show, guys.
Elli Hi, thanks for having us Steven!Steve yes. And you guys actually get to Have the special title of being the first duo that I’m interviewing instead of just the one on one? Elli All right, you go. We’re used to that.Steve Yes. And so why don’t you give the audience a little bit more of your background? Cause I know you are just as involved in the community as I am. I see you guys everywhere I go, so tell us a little bit more about what you Do?Elli Yes, we’re usually out in about for sure. So, sunways assisted living concierge. We are a free placement and referral service for seniors and their caregivers, so that means we help families identify. It’s not only the right assisted living community for them, but all of the resource is that goes with that because I think we can all agree for anybody who’s kind of gone through this process that nobody just needs placement. You know, nobody just needs to find the right community. It usually means there’s, ah, lot of other resource is needed to take you from point A to point B. So we’re kind of the connector, connect all the dots so that they’re getting what they need.Steve Certainly. And I know that you got involved from what I understand from a personal experience. Isn’t that correct?Mark Exactly. Yeah, absolutely. Um, several years ago, my mother, my grandmother excuse me how to stroke in. My mother and father were the primary care givers, and we really saw the pressure that it put on them both. They really didn’t know where to turn. There wasn’t anyone there weren’t any resource is, um, local eats where they’re at the help. Um, and it really put him through the wringer. in like l a kind of alluded to my mom and dad needed so much more than just a place to provide the correct care for my grandmother. You know, she needed to sell a house she needed, you know, Fuller finances together, et cetera, et cetera. And essentially, we formed Sun ways with the idea of we wish, you know, my mom had that type of service when she was in that situation.Steve Yeah, And then that’s what I love the story behind your company being inspired from that personal connection because there’s so many people in the senior living industry that you can tell just like you’re doing it because they caring You guys are definitely two of those individuals.Mark Yeah, you know, it’s on that note. You know, we obviously we started with started a company for those reasons, and we really wanted to have a really footprint, if you will in the community, um, be able to walk people through these situations in person, et cetera. Um, and within the 1st 3 months, it’s truly turned into a passion, a true passion of ours, which, as everybody knows, if your job is your passion is really not your job. It’s been a beautiful,Steve yes, wonderful. And I’m sure that especially as we get into two news and what’s going on currently since this episode airing around mid April and Burr in early April. Now we’re still going to be, I’m sure, dealing with the Cove in 19 Pandemic. And so how are you? How has that affected you guys both personally and professionally?Elli Well, I’d say on the personal side, we are now home school teachers. So there’s that we have two young kids. We’ve got a seven year old and a four year old, so that’s added a whole layer of newness to the myth.Steve I know how you guys do it. I have 1 18 year old and I’m at my wits. And on day three,Elli Uh, yeah, it’s, uh, we’re hoping it’s gonna get a little easier in time. I think like us just finding the routine and trying to work. Um, you know, work that out. Once we get the train moving, it’ll be okay, but it’s kind of getting the kinks out here in the beginning. But, um, on a professional piece, you know, we’ve really from, like, almost day one when we’ve realized, you know, that they were gonna be some major changes not only just in society, but really how it’s gonna affect our industry. We really pivoted and have been trying to pivot to figure out how we can still be serving caregivers, seniors and their caregivers during this time because, quite frankly, like our service is air even more important now because people are handcuffed to get information even more than they were before. Not being able to a lot of times go in person. So we’ve been working on a lot of online. Resource is just free content that we’re getting out as well as, um, putting together some final details on some one on one and group kind of coaching and webinars that we’re gonna be doing to really walk are givers through the process of how to plan and create long term care plans for their loved ones. So we’re actually really excited about it because we think that coming out of it were actually gonna be able to set ourselves up to help even more people. But it’s still crazy getting getting there, though, you know, getting from point A to point BSteve I understand. And you like me. In some ways, we kind of had that the heads up because you have already been really active and positive on social media on all across all the platforms, ahead of time. So for a lot of people that were businesses that are just trying to start to figure it, all of it out now, in 2020 you were well ahead of the bell curve in terms of having your content already online and out there and having that exposure, which is great. And I’m sure it’s been helpful.Elli Yeah, exactly. Yeah.Mark And, you know, on that note, a CZ well, as faras us being over to provide our clients. Um, what they need at this time, with everything on lock down, we’ve been doing a lot of zoom calls with families and their caregivers. Um, obviously, we pride ourselves on, you know, one of our stupor steps in our process is meeting with the family, if possible, whether it’s at a coffee shop or in their home, you get a better idea of who they are as people, right? We think that’s a huge part of this process. Um, and we found that that zooms been working pretty well matter fact, we’ve got it. We’ve gotta zoom. Call it to a clock with a family of four just to go over different options and kind of answer some questions, etcetera. So we’ve certainly pivoted, But But, like Ellie alluded to it seems like our service is are now even more important,Steve expert And I know that ultimately had a lot of the times what you end up helping with results in a placement into an assisted living facility. Which is why I brought you on to talk about that Today s o. I get just a defining for the audience on aka which is the agency for healthcare Administration. They’re the ones audience that run assisted living facilities and make sure that they’re all giving the care that they need to be giving your loved ones, and they define it at as it’s designed to provide personal care Service is in the least restrictive and most home like environment. These facilities can range in size from one resident to several 100 may offer a wide variety of personal and nursing service is designed specifically to meet an individual’s personal needs. So How would you say that definition is? And how would you define it? Thio Family.Elli Yeah, I think that that that’s what a great definition, because it really it’s very bank and honestly, so was assisted. Living. That’s the one of the main parts of our job is just educating seniors and their caregivers on really what their options are. Because nine times out of 10 families have, ah, perception that usually is not accurate for one reason or another of just how, how much of a wide range there are. Like you said, everything from small residential homes with just one or two residents, um, all the way up to resorts that make you feel like you’re at the writ on it and everything in between and beyond that, to just different levels of licensing that would create different levels of care. So what’s really important is, um, identifying what the need is, whether it’s us. I’m helping you identify the need or a caregiver or doing that for a loved one or just somebody sitting down and saying What what do I want? Not only from the standpoint of the look and feel and size of a community But what care do I need? That’s usually the first step to really finding out. You know, at least tryingto narrow down the list a little bit.Steve Yeah, correct. And what would you guys say? You know, with such a difference from community to community, though, what are some standards that people would expect in any assisted living facility they moved into in terms of what could they expect their loved one or themselves to get in terms of care, Kind of a daily routine?Mark Uh, well, I guess the short end of that first thing that comes to my mind had Steven is is the level of care, right? I mean, that’s the person moving into the community that you love one movements of community. That’s of the utmost importance that they’re going to be getting the level of care that they need. And quite frankly, that’s a pain forElli Yeah, absolutely. Um, and usually always in communities, you know, you’re going to get an apartment. You know, sometimes that could be a private apartment. Sometimes that can be shared. Obviously, in a shared situation is gonna be more affordable. Those apartments can usually range from, you know, anywhere for the studio. One bedroom to two bedroom, depending on the community. Ah, usually three meals a day will be included in that and unexpected and sometimes let snacks. Laundry service is housekeeping. Service is transportation, and activities are usually things to expect again. Every community is different in terms of what that means to them. But those were some basics of usually what’s involved in an assisted living environment.Steve Yeah, I know the audience if they’re listening and order that these episodes air being released, the episode before this was talking about independent living. And so I would say that the biggest difference with moving to assistant living is as you as you guys said. You start with that level of care where the owner, sir, someone will set that care assessment to figure out what kind of daily help you need, which you wouldn’t get in an independent living. And then it is the three meals a day and those air, like the two biggest differences from an independent living, wouldn’t you agree?Elli Yes, 100%. And that’s, you know, we worked with so many families to that, um will come to us saying that you know, their loved one or they’re looking for independent living, right, because the stigma of assisted living is that you know you need help with all of your activities of daily life on and then it might be a hospital setting. But that’s really not the case at all. I mean, we have There’s so many truly independent people that, um, are still even driving, um, and really don’t need much care. It all that air living in assisted living because the benefit of that is that you’re really able to agent place. One of the things with independent living is that, you know, and one thing that you probably covered and in the previous conversation is that is a different licensing, right? So because of that, if somebody is an independent living and their level of care changes like all of a sudden, they do need some help with dressing or bathing or cues because of maybe some cognitive decline or things along those lines, they would be needing to bring in, um, you know, a private duty or outside help, just like they would if they were living at home in assisted living, even though you might move into assisted living with little to no care and really living independently. When that changes, you don’t need to change your apartment. You don’t need to move locations. You know, you are already in a place that is license to be able to give you what you need. So the benefit of that is really people being able to agent place.Steve Yeah. One of the friendliest residents. When I was working at Savannah Grand, he was pretty much independent. But the big difference was like, I want my three meals a day. He didn’t want t o like he wanted his three meals a day, Not just the one. And he goes, and I know that I’m gonna need assisted living eventually. So why not move in now? So I don’t have to move again. So he even he was at that age where he could have chosen and fit into either category. He just shows that for the convenience of the meals and not wanting to move again and again and again, he wanted this to kind of be the last time you had to move.Mark Yeah, and there’s so much competition these days to its it seems like most of the communities. Now you know their food is very good because everybody’s trying to keep up with the other communities.Elli Absolutely. And you know, on top of that, too, I think that a trend and I don’t know what your take on this Steven is. But a trend that we’ve been seeing in the industry on the in assisted living is really for assisted living environments. Thio create more of an independent type. Feel one because, um, you know, seniors are staying independent longer and longer, right and wanting to be around people that are of similar, uh, you know, in a similar place in their life. You know, it’s funny. We’ll have clients that are 94 walk into a community and say, Um, I like it. ButMark there’s a lot ofElli old people here, and it’s like you have to laugh, right, because there were 94 95 themselves. ButSteve they don’t just state of mind, Ah,Elli 100% you know, And on top of that, to we we have seen, in a very big trend in the industry of couples who are together that have different levels of care, you know, maybe a wife that is the main caregiver for a husband that has cognitive decline or early stage dementia, and she does not need any care. But he does, and then being able to live together in an apartment where she gets support is a caregiver. But he also gets the support he needs. AndMark he gets to play poker with his buddies twice,Elli right? Exactly. But she can still thrive, too. She doesn’t feel like she’s in an environment where she’s not around anybody that she could see eye to eye with. So I think communities were really trying to adapt, to make sure that they’re able Thio, meet people where they’re where they’re at. Yeah,Steve wonderful. And, I would say, especially since there are so many assistant livings. That’s one thing that’s changed since I started. Even working in the industry about eight years ago is that since then, where I was the only memory care at the time, when I worked at Windsor Reflections in Liquid Ranch, I was the only memory care with him. I think five or 10 miles, and even by the time that I left there, there was about eight within a couple miles of us and there’s more every day. But I would say that it’s definitely people are getting a little more confused with the choices and the options. Wouldn’t you agree?Mark Yes. Yeah, And you know, it’s kind of assignment on that, Steven is if we talk to clients all the time that after they move into a nail out of their loved one has, you know, they comment on how their quality of life has increased. Um, improved, improved, right? Increase. Um, you know, with the camaraderie, having friends, having those three meals a day, not being stuck between your bedroom, living room and kitchen et cetera. Um, so it’s, uh, it’s been pretty. We’re rewarding to hear that.Elli Yeah, and I totally agree with you. I mean, that’s one thing that we always say, the clients, especially being here in the Sun Coast, in the Sarasota area. There’s so many options, and it’s like, good news, bad news. I mean, good news is, um, as you know, a resident. You have a lot of different options to look at, but that could also be overwhelming. And especially as a caregiver, almost, um, you know, paralyzing because it’s like, what? What do I even ask, what do I do it? And so what was that?Steve I was good, because I know that I could have asked any assisted living in town on. But there are so many ones, and everyone is different in their own way and has something else to offer that it gets so overwhelming for a family. And like people, often times I’ve seen wait almost too long to move into an assisted living to the point where it’s almost too later, they won’t be ableto enjoy it to its fullest cause they waited so long and so having a resource like you that can help them so they don’t feel paralyzed by fear so important. So I wouldn’t want you to give away all of your secrets. But I would say, like, what are three questions that anyone, if they were to try and toward and assisted living facility by themselves, like, what are three questions they should ask?Elli Um, Mark, you want to say the one that you that you are always lean on, right? Um, about the chef in for nursing?Mark No, I I always recommend, you know, get introduced to the Director of nursing and the head chef and to have a meal in a vote. Lunchtime. Having deal, Um, see what the food qualities like. See what? The atmosphere, the environment, you know, See what the residents are like during mealtime.Elli Yeah, absolutely. Because food is so important. So yeah, first tip definitely being meet the head chef and and go at meal time. Because you do get to really get a sense of the feeling and the ambience and just kind of how people interact more so than just doing a tour. Maybe in the morning, or everybody’s in their room and you just really can’t look and feel is much. And then the 2nd 1 that more kind of alluded to two is meeting with the director of nursing and really understanding, um, where they care. The care level is, uh, because it does, it is not all created equal. Not only with, um, very simple note their license that they have, but also, you know, do they have a nurse on site or are they just on call? What is the protocol? If there is an emergency to communicate and keep you as a caregiver in the loop, so really understanding kind of the care piece is Ah, a huge part of it, Tim. And I’dMark even say, added about the activities that the community offers, youSteve know, that’s a good number three is certainly activities because yeah, just dependingMark on what you’re into, how active you are. I mean, how how you’re gonna fit in. And you know it’s gonna go a long way to determine how you are. Yep,Steve Absolutely excellent. Yes. And while I’m sure that, of course, the answer is, if someone needed help finding an assisted living resource in our community, the answer would be to call you. But if they were out in Washington or listening to this podcast from outside of our area, where would you recommend or how would you start finding or assisted living facilities for your loved one?Mark You know, we’ve actually helped several families that weren’t local. Um, find the correct community for their loved ones. Um, so that would be our first kind of train of thought, and if not, we certainly don’t want to do anybody a disservice. We we do have partners in different parts of the country where we you know, similar businesses such as ourselves where we can put them in contact with them if we couldn’t help her.Elli Yeah, absolutely. I mean, we would recommend they would reach out to us, and we would obviously identify what their needs are and then being able to either one us make the right recommendations for them or to be able to recommend a service that is local, that’s gonna be able to help them, Um, even more because, you know, recommending just going to Google and the black hole that is the Internet. Um, you know, it’s hard. A lot of online resource is are just really there to sell a certain agenda. And so it’s hard for us to put our name behind any of them. Unless we’ve done kind of the research and felt it out ourselves. So I would say they reach out and we’ll figure out what’s needed.Steve Exactly. And for people who insist on using the Internet for their information, the one resource that I found very like really important when I was working with and continue to work with assisted living facilities is Bacchus actual website. You could actually look at facilities and see what they’re passed inspections were like So you can see, you know, a lot can change in 2 to 6 years. So don’t think that because eight years ago the community had a bad doing that they’re bad now. But at the same time, you can see if they’re having the same issues again and again. You can see what their survey results are likes, and it can also just be a good re enforced through that. Your community doesn’t have any deficiencies, and they’ve been great. So it’s a good move. So that’s a yeah, yeah, enders. And IElli think you can 30 via Miles Thio of your zip code. So it it’s a It’s a good way. If nothing else, just two, um, have a starting point like a starting list to say, Okay, these air ones that have great ratings, that air within five miles of my home and then just kind of work outward from there.Steve Yeah, and if you’re in senior living sales and marketing, that’s what I used to do. Even when I was doing for Omni care for the pharmacy sales, as you could just look up the city and print out a list of all the lfc. You’re like, That’s where I’m gonna go for the day.Elli Yeah. Yeah.Steve Now, Ellie, you had mentioned before, you know, in terms of asking questions about, you know, nursing for the nurse, about the different licensing. Now, that can be confusing because you have every community has a standard license, but some have license is on top of that which you mind giving us a brief overview of the different licensing.Elli Yeah. So beyond the standard license. Like you said, every assisted living for them to be an actual business has to have a standard license. But then a community can choose to get a higher license on the first step up from a standard being in Ln s license, which stands for limited nursing service, is And that, um that provides kind of a number of select nursing service is I don’t have the actual list in front of me, butSteve and it changes of often!Elli Exactly. I mean, we’d like to sit there, and there are a lot of kind of gray areas and even communities that even though they, um, you know, have a certain licensing, they choose to kind of going above and beyond. So That’s another reason why it’s super important toe. Ask these pointed questions and not just kind of take it for what’s on a piece of paper or what you’re gonna find on a website. But you’re going to get a higher level of care there and nurses that are actually gonna be in the building, not just on call, um, which we’re gonna be able to, Help help residents And then above that is that an ECC license, which is extended congregate care and those service’s are ones that are permitted within the scope of a nurse’s license. So even certain things like, um, you know, fully catheters, etcetera. That would be in the scope of a nurse’s license. And an ECC license community can still kick take care of that, too. So that’s just another level up then, usually above that is where you will go, um, and and require skilled nursing, which I’m sure you’re gonna be covering and maybe the next podcast,Steve but that in the next episode it’ll be this. It will be skilled nursing. It’ll be memory Karen.Elli Yeah, exactly. So standard. Then Ln s and then e c c. And typically, if you know a resident cannot be served within the scope of an E CC license. They’re going to have to go to a higher level of care that would not be assisted. Just, you know, assisted living.Steve Yeah. And as you gave the definitions that I also like to add the ass tricks to the for the Ellen s and the E CC license is both were regarding what nurses and caregivers can do. And so that’s I’ve also worked were with facilities before where they might have an Ellen s or any CC license. But they don’t have a nurse that works at night. And so if your loved one needs nursing service is round the clock, their license doesn’t mean anything. If they don’t have the nurse on site to be able to support the license. Correct,Mark right? Yep.Steve And so that’s always exact. That’s always a good follow up question. The nurses like, Well, we haven’t you cc license, you’re like And what’s your nursing situation, like around the clock,Elli right? Yeah, right. Yeah, because I mean, as you know, Justus well, as anybody else, you’re just the health care staffing situation in the United States is a tough one, no matter where you are in the country. So it’s really important that, um, you know, when you are meeting with the director of nursing and asking those care questions that you’re asking about Like you said nurses, they’re actually on site a CZ. Well, as you know, caregiver to resident ratios is a really good pointed question. And, um, just understanding what their protocol is for that because it will give you a better idea of how much one on one care your loved one is gonna be getting if they need it.Steve Excellent. And in terms of another quick question from the audience, when is the right time to move into an assisted living community?Elli That’s a tough, oneMark loaded question. Yeah, it’s a tough one. A personal situation.Elli It is. It is so personal. I mean, the first thing that comes to mind when you say that, though, is, um, the time to move in is when when your loved one is in a situation where they want to age in place. Because I wouldn’t even like you kind of alluded to earlier. I wouldn’t even say that you recommend people wait until they actually need service is because sometimes you’re on thin ice and you’re waiting too long. But if you, you or your loved ones are in a situation where you want to be in an apartment setting that you can actually age in place and get care, care if and when you need it, then assisted living is the right move for you. Because once you move in, you know that you’re in a place that you’re gonna get what you need.Steve Yeah, exactly, I would say, especially when I was working in assisted living and memory care. Community is the number of times there was a family calling on a Friday at six PM because their loved one felon was in the hospital and all the sudden can’t be discharged home and they have to make that decision within 24 hours. And it is. They said, you know, they probably could have needed that help. A month ago, they knew he’s been one fall away from eating it. But, you know, why would you wait until that fall happened to get to that point? If you knew you were that fragile to begin with, in my opinion,Elli No. Absolutely. I mean, we come across that all every single day. I mean, that’s why I like education. And we’re so grateful for even resource is like you and what you’re doing trying to get this information out. Um, because we feel like the number one reason why people don’t make a decision is just lack of information. It paralyzes you because you don’t know what the first step is. So you just don’t take a step it all and the next thing you know, you are in a crisis situation where you’re making decisions. Uh, not only in such a tight time line, but it’s such a heightened emotional state. So it’s really important to be having these conversations ahead of time. Just having these conversations doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re acting on them. But at least you and your loved one no, um, what the options are and where you want to go and what you want to do. So if and when that happens, you are able to kind of have a seamless transition because yeah, like you said nine times out of 10. That’s not the caseMark going when you want to, not when you have to.Elli Yeah, exactly.Steve Perfectly said yes. And what’s one piece of advice you would give to a new caregiver who is now all of a sudden responsible for caring for a loved one?Mark First thing that comes to my mind is Take time for yourself. You have some self care. It’s huge. I mean, we’ve been, uh, we have logged about here recently. More big on south care. I mean, the care giver. Stress is really we’ve seen it way too many times. Way too up close and personal.Elli Yeah. Um, it is, it’s it’s reaching out. Um, it’s reaching out for help and whether it be a support group, whether it be online communities, whetherMark the sun ways, sometimes that’s our job,Elli right? I mean, I can’t tell you how many times that you know we should. It’s here with our clients because sometimes just venting process that needs to happen.Steve I’m sure you’re you’re half psychiatrist or you have, like, psychologists and half you knowElli it is one of the many half afraid that that you have to put on. But it is really, um it’s finding time for yourself and really arming yourself with information and, like Mark said a lot of times it is working with a resource likes on ways to be able to get that. But, you know, really arming yourself with what the options are because the guilt and the pressure that sits on the shoulders of caregivers is so immense. And that’s what leads to this burn out and the stress. So really army yourself, without information, puts you in control and allows you to be proactive versus reactive, and it really makes all the difference in the world.Steve That is very true. And while it is clear that you both are doing what you were meant to be doing in this world, if you were not working with seniors, what do you guys think you would be doing with your lives?Mark I’d like to think I’d be a professional baseball. I really didn’t have a whole back when coming out of high school, but it didn’t work outSteve allElli right. Mark is still holding on to the dream that he’s, ah, that when we’re one of these Orioles spring training games that you know they’re going to see him in the stands and say, Hey, we need you. Come on, get up. every timeSteve I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you.Elli Yeah, 100%. Man. That is a tough question. I haven’t really. I thought of that in a long time. In my gut. Thought was actually a chef, maybe even like a private chef. I don’t think I would be meant to be in, um, like a restaurant type situation, but being able to be one on one with somebody. I love cooking. And I love showing, you know, love to people through food and kind of through that whole act and just entertaining. So maybe it maybe a private chef, would be something anotherSteve wonderful. Yes. And so I we are very thankful, though, that you are doing what you are doing now. And so if someone needed your help, how would they find you?Mark Then go to our website, which is www dot son weighs a LC dot com, which gives you an obviously a high level overview of what we do. What we’re about, what our passion is. Um, and there you can still actually information on our website where you can email us directly at info that son weighs a LC dot com that goes directly to both of us. Um And of course, the bat phone is always on, uh, which is my cell phone, which is 9413437747Steve Go. And I will make sure that information is in the show notes.Elli we have. Ah, speaking of the website, we do have a caregiver blawg on their, um and we, uh, update that at least once a week. We do a lot of close ourselves, but we also have a lot of guest blog writers that are experts in different areas to come on and and write different tips. Tricks resource is specifically geared towards army and caregivers with what they need. So, um, you know, go to the web site to check that out as well as a resource.Steve That is fantastic. I will make sure I leave all of that information in the show notes. So of people that are listening now can’t write or click away, they can reference it later afterwards. Yes, and for thank you, everyone for listening to senior living on the Suncoast. You can find more information about this show as well as my other shows at www dot happy life pod dot com and also email us if you have any questions, either about assisted living or questions for a future topic at Happy Life pod at gmail dot com. And all of our socials on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter are Happy life pod so you can find us there. That’s H a p p Y l i f e p o d. And thank you again market Ellie for joining us. It’s been a pleasure.Elli Thanks for having us stay safe and try to stay safe!Steve yes and stay happy.
Episode 4: What is Memory Care?
April 16, 2020 HappyLifePod
Steve Bennet-Martin defines and discussed what you need to know about Memory Care with guest expert Neema Patel, from Brookdale Deer Creek. Neema has almost a decade of experience working with memory care residents through the suncoast and helps explain how you can best be prepared for what lies ahead if you or your loved one gets a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s or dementia.
More information on her community can be found here:
Brookdale Deer Creek
Phone: (941) 927-7600
More information on our podcast and the Happy Life Pod network can be found here:
Episode 4 Transcription (in progress)
Hello there, everyone. And welcome to senior Living on the Suncoast. I’m your host, Steve Bennet Martin. And I’m happy to bring you the on Lei signor centered podcast to assist us all as we navigate the complex systems of aging together, up and down the sun coast of Florida. My mission with this podcast is to help make sure that the rest of your life is the best of your life. Which means today we’ll be talking about memory care. Now our guest expert today, Neema is becoming a lifelong friend of mine. But she is more importantly, one of the first senior living friendships I made when I was working at Windsor Reflections. And while our paths have drifted all over the senior living field Um, since we have known each other, she is remained in memory care as her passion this entire time. Welcome to the show, Neema.Neema Thank you for having me.Steve Yes. And so after working with me at Windsor Reflections For how long were working together? Like four years?Neema Yeah, about four years.Steve And so what was your journey like after I stopped working with you at that memory care community,Neema I went on to become a memory herr Director for a community and Venice. I was there 2.5 years. I helped open a brand new memory care. I was in charge of hiring the training just, um, the programming. And after that, I went on to become a failed manager for a freestanding memory care community in Sarasota.Steve Excellent. Yes. And your community now Brookdale Deer Creek. Correct.Neema Yeah,Steve it is a beautiful community, and I just love that you’ve really taken that passion for seniors and just ran with it. And so, for those who might not be familiar with memory care, the definition that I got from Brookedale’s Web site, your company website is defines it as memory. Care is a kind of specialized care for people living with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. Communities typically feature safe and secure environments where staff can monitor the health of the residents. You’ll also find programs, activities and events that are designed to help memory care residence work on their cognitive abilities while also getting to enjoy passions and hobbies. Staff typically are specially trained to provide the quality care needed for seniors with memory loss. Now what do you think of that definition human? What else might you add on or simplify for our audience?Neema That definition is spot on memory care. It’s specialized to meet the specific needs of a person with you there, Alzheimer’s or dementia were able to personalized care and dig in a little bit deeper, especially with our programming.Steve Yes, and I know programming is something that you were our programming director when I was working at Windsor Reflections handling all of the activities in life enrichment. And I would say, What are some of the common misconceptions that you hear when you tell people in your personal life what you do for a living about memory care, that you may be able to kind of help set the record straight on for our audience?Neema I think a lot of people feel sad. So me, um, when I tell them that I work any memory care community, Um, and when I tell people that it’s my passion and how it’s a fulfilling job for me, they don’t have a hard time understanding why, Um, and at that point, I’m able to explain. But the residents are still people. You just have to dig it will be to find out who they are, who they were. Um, you still get to enjoy them. They still get to enjoy what they used to. D’oh! Um, and I was actually just telling a friend of mine that the best part of this job and working with Memory care residence is the unconditional love that you receive in return from the residence. It’s unforgettable.Steve Yeah, it certainly is something that that changed my life. I know working with that community is when I fell in love with working with seniors in general, but especially memory care residence always have a little soft spot in my heart. And so the the one thing that I always find, too, just to help people understand that memory here is a little more advanced than just getting old and forgetting things. That’s not what memory carries. And if you’re forgetful, that doesn’t mean you have Alzheimer’s or dementia. Correct name. I mean, I know that from all of our training, Andy, when we were at Windsor, are nurse that trained us when she was talking about memory. If she just put in a really positive way that made me realize the difference of like if you lose your keys, your normal because we all lose our cues from times. But when you find your keys, if you don’t know what those keys or four or where they came from, that’s when you might have memory care related issues. Correct?Neema Yes, it’s a funny that you use that story. That’s what I think of all the time also.Steve I mean, she just she said it so perfectly. And it’s just a way because we’ve all lost things or misplace things. And it happens typically, not as much as when we got older is when we get more stressed. And so, especially during the time that we’re recording this right now in April of 2020. It’s a stressful time for many of us. Some sure lots of us are worried we might have memory care issues when in reality it’s just the stress is making our memory not what it normally would be.Neema You’re right.Steve And Neema, What drew you to memory care? Everyone has a story about why they found out how they love what they love. So tell us what yours is. Neema mine is actually an accident. I was across the street from one’s reflections. I used to live around the corner when I first moved to Florida. Um, I was across the street with my son getting a haircut, and I have watched reflections being built and it just opens. I thought, Let me walk over and see what this building is and what this business is. Um, I interviewed with the general manager. I mean, the executive director. I didn’t realize it was an interview at the time, and, um, I was kind of hired on the spot, and I started working there just to kill time. We had owned businesses and had sold them and just recently relocated to Florida. And I was bored. My son was in school full trying. My hand at the time was always busy, so I was home alone. I started working in this memory care community as a caregiver, Um, and from there I want to become their life enrichment director. And that’s where my passion for dementia care group, That’s what started.Steve Yes, and it’s certainly grown since then. I mean, you have such a caring heart, and you just find such different and unique ways to keep the people under your care. Cared for not only enjoying them and making sure that they’re safe and healthy, but that they’re also happy and really enjoying life. So thank you for what you do for our community.Neema Thank you. I love it. I love what I do. I also work from assisted living for a couple of years. Andi. Even then I you it was still rewarding. It just wasn’t dementia care. My heart still wanted to go back to memory care. I felt like I could do more for the residents. They’re I have more patient for dementia residents. Then I did assisted living or even Children. Yeah, that’s how I ended up back in memory care.Steve Yeah, and I know that a lot of our listeners that are listening to these episodes as they come out daily recently, our past episode we defined and talked about assisted living in general with Mark and Ellie Baldwin, and we talked about things. Need to know about that. Just the basic assisted living facilities and general knowledge. Now, memory cure communities typically are assisted living facilities, but they have some differences. What are the biggest differences between an A L or assisted living and a memory care community in terms of design and function,Neema Um, at first designed only think that they are a little bit smaller. Um, they’re usually shaped without a dead end. So, for example, Frankie, that’s been toe wins. The election wins the reflections or my current community. It’s a circles. The residents were able to continue walking without hitting a dead end. Um, as far as functionality, there’s, I feel like there’s more staff and memory care of the staff to revenue ratio is a little bit lower than what you would see in an assisted living.Steve Oh yeah, almost always rightNeema it is. And I think the most important being that is different in a memory care is the life enrichment programs for us keeping residents socialized and engaged in that what memory care is all about. We get to enrich their lives and give them purpose again. A lot of the assistant livings you still have residents that can run programs or called bingo. You know, turn on the movies for movie night and memory care. You really don’t have that? Uh, we at Brookdale, we d’oh cluster groups, so we have a my community. I have my life, much from director that does a main activity, and then our staff will break off into little groups and find little things to do with the rest of the residence. So you get Oliver. Residents are still engaged.Steve Yes, and that is so important to keep people engaged in active. And that certainly is one of the biggest differences. And I know that I had a unique experience, as I’m sure you believe. There’s a similar where we started in memory care. But later on in my career, I ended up working for an assistant living, and there was there when I saw firsthand seeing one of my residents in the community that had memory Kerry issues that she wasn’t. She was safe. She was happy, and her family was happy with her being there. But when she was in activities, residents would treat her differently because they knew that she had dementia, that she knew that was the woman who doesn’t remember things like don’t bother talking with her. She was treated differently by the residents, and the activities that we were doing themselves were at a much higher level where you know with her bingo board. She couldn’t keep up with it, and so she often would just sit in like Lily, bless her heart. She always had a smile on her face, but I know that in a community that would be more of a memory care center community, not only would she be safe and happy and healthy, but she also possibly would have thrived more because the activities were designed to more toe help set them up for success, right?Neema Exactly! So, I mean, like you mentioned bingo. Bingo. If we knew that a resident was struggling. We would either sit them with somebody, another resident, um, or staff member. I could kind of help them follow along. We wouldn’t necessarily play for them, but we would assist them in playing.Steve Yep. And what one thing as the definition and you mentioned as well as that. All of the staff gets extra training for working with memory care residence. And that’s one thing that I loved when I started working in the community, because even though I was just working in the business office, that when I started there, I still got the same amount of Alzheimer’s in memory care training that the people on the care staff got. You know, we all went to the same meetings daily. We all went to the same stand up meetings monthly, and they made sure that I was just a CZ educated with how to do transfers and how to talk with the residents and learn about how they’re different forms of dementia. All are different from one another. And so I like that you got that level of education in memory care communities typically across the board not just for the people providing the care, but for everyone else as well,Neema Right? You’re absolutely right.Steve And so out of, you know, obviously, right now, if you’re living in Sarasota and you’re interested in memory care, Brookdale Deer Creek is a great option. But how would you recommend someone if they were, outside of necessarily our neck of the woods? What’s one way to find assistant living communities? Or that I have memory care that you would recommend for people across not only Florida but the the world? How would you research it?Neema My number one place to go is either the Alzheimer Association. They usually have, um, the different memory care communities listed as well as you can go to like senior locators. They can help you and educate you on what’s out there as well.Steve Excellent. And I know that we recommended for the System Living Facility episode and I think it also follows through with the memory care. But you can also find a lot of information in terms of the quality of the facility by checking aka the Agency for Healthcare Administration on their website. They have a lot of resource is and keep track of how the memory cares. Perform in terms of providing care for residents, right?Neema Yes, I completely forgot about that.Steve You know? I mean and those air both are great. Resource is now moving on to questions and answers. I I think I know who you might say, but you might surprise me. Name one resident who’s changed your life forever.Neema I have too many. So one resident that, um, is still in my life would be Elizabeth Platon. I know you remember. I’m sure that’s what you’re thinking, but it’s just there. Yeah, we took care of her husband at Windsor Reflections. He was the Swedish man ever always had a smile on you get a kn extra smile if you came by with cookies?Steve Yeah, he always had a sweet tooth.Neema Yes, he did. So Elizabeth is his wife. She used to come in and visit a couple of times a week, almostSteve daily. I mean, she was a regular. Neema I mean, toward the end, it got a little bit. It was harder for her to get in the car and drive over. She lived down the street, but it started to get a little difficult for her. Um, she came into my life when we became closer when her husband was near and stages and she had fallen sick and couldn’t get to the community. So I volunteered to pick her up and drop her off during my lunch breaks. We should spend some time with her husband. Um, once he did pass away, I noticed that she had declined a little bit. Didn’t want to come out. Um, Didn’t have purpose anymore. Her purpose was coming to visit her husband every day. So I, um we build you lifelong friendship. She’s become my adoptive grandmother. She actually moved in and lived in one of my communities for a while. She was in a stricter living community. Now I occasionally will drop by jelly doughnuts for her. Yeah,Steve I always used to love that. When I visited that community, I got to visit you and then see her at the same time because she was just always such a such a joy to see.Neema I was the best part of starting my day. I used to go and cuddle her in bed and then start my day with my morning meeting. But she is my favorite person on dhe shooting my life. She’s become my guardian angel. She anytime I’m having in a queue, I’m able to bend to her. And she’s like that grandmother figure for me. I don’t have any grand parents left in my life, So she’s become it. She says. Prayers for me. She will, um, if I have a problem, she’ll find solutions. She has the best advice ever, and I don’t think I’ve ever left her apartment without a gift. She always parts with something, whether it’s a chocolate for my son or a book for him, there’s always something.Steve She is a sweetheart. All right now, one. Another listener question that we had was What if my loved one isn’t at the point where they need to move into memory care community, but they’re still showing signs of forgetfulness or being able to care for themselves? What would you recommend in a case like that?Neema My finger place right now is the Friendship Center they offer, um, kind of like a D program. They’re the only place right now in Sarasota that offer something like that. It’s called the Living room, and I know they have one in Sarasota County and in Venice. Um, it’s you’re able to find out for different times. Laws trump up your loved one there, and they have them entertained and engaged in activities.Steve Yeah, it’s the Friendship Center is great. No makes trailing thought into the show notes on. I also wouldn’t get my paycheck each week if I didn’t throw in. That private duty caregiver companion could also certainly help you around the house. Checking in on your loved one once we can’t help it is to help make sure that they’re doing while in their home and that they’re safe.Neema Yeah,Steve now, Neema, if you weren’t working with seniors, which clearly is we’re meant to be with your life. What do you think you would be doing with your life instead?Neema Probably owning a zoo. Um, and being the the next Tiger Queen,Steve that is very timely. Yes.Neema One fact about me is when I was in college, I volunteered at a local animal shelter on and we had a pointing area where our dogs would get sent off to get euthanized. So when I would work late, I would, um, bribe them into letting me take adult home. And that gave me time to find a home for them. So I kind of fostered all the corn team dogs in there and found new homes for them. I think I ended up fostering almost 27 dogs and finding homes for all of them.Steve That is awesome. Yeah, I I know that in my in our sister podcast a lifetime of happiness in one of our recent episodes, I didn’t happy news how during the code that 19 pandemic, a lot of people are unable to volunteer in the animal shelters as much as they used to. So a lot of people have increased the ability to foster pets and that, like a lot of people are fostering right now to help animals who might otherwise not be ableto get the care that they need in the animal shelters or might be euthanized if they weren’t adopted is because of lack of space. And these people are getting them a home temporarily knowing that it’s just to kind of pass until the pandemic and our lives all kind of return back to normal. So that’s awesome. And Neema, what is one piece of advice that you would give to a new caregiver? Not only in like a facility, but even if, like my name’s Steve and all of a sudden I’m responsible for caring for, like my mom or my dad or my grandparent’s like, what’s the first piece of advice you’d give me?Neema First piece of advice is you have to take care of yourself in order to take care of others. If you don’t take a break and get burned out, um, it it makes caring for someone else a lot harder. Um, the next big advices don’t take everything that your loved one says or does. Personally. You have to remember being especially with dementia residents. You are that familiar face. You become kind of the punching bag because they are frustrated, you know, knowing that their memory is slipping and they don’t know what to do and who to lash out on. And you become that. Like I said, that punching bag, Um, I know personally, I have a lot of caregivers that get very emotional when someone that they’re caring for lashes out and says mean things to them and then couple of days later, they don’t remember. Um, so you just have to remember it’s situational, they don’t mean it. Steve Yeah, and I would say I mean, and as much as that is definitely a common thing that a lot of new cue Gerber’s especially deal with in terms of tools. The number one tool, I would say for a caregiver, especially if your loved one is diagnosed with any form of dementia, is education, because I saw a clear difference in the way that the family members who would also show upto are support groups and show up to our education, Siri’s and do research on their own and look into community resource is like the Alzheimer’s Association, those family members of the ones that coped with everything the best because they understood how the disease worked from a clinical perspective, so that it kind of helped them understand that their loved one is not the person that they walk down the aisle with that day, that they’ve changed and how that how they changed. And so I think that education is also in a very important community resource.Neema You’re absolutely right. It is.Steve And so where would you recommend? I mean, a friendship center you’ve already mentioned would be a great place for some resource, but for education? What? Where else do you know of where seniors in our community might be able to get or their loved ones get information?Neema I know the Alzheimer’s Association website. They left, um, different support groups that are offered throughout the county. I host a monthly support group in my community. We do it every second Wednesday of the month is 11 30 12 30. It is open to the public. We do have a lot of our own families that attend, Um, and it’s just it’s a good sounding board for everybody to bounce ideas off of each other.Steve I agree, and I think that your support group is great because especially since you got that mix of people in the community as well as people from outside or welcome to a 10. A lot of times, people outside the community are afraid of what a memory care community might look like or how it might feel. And so, attending those support groups, you don’t have to move your loved one into that community if you attend the support group. But it might give you an idea and not only the support you need, but an idea of what living in those communities might be like for your loved one. So you have less of that stigma of it being a nursing home, which it certainly is not nowadays,Neema right? You’re absolutely right.Steve Excellent. And now, with Mima being that the best memory care in town, we’re gonna mention today’s episode being Brookdale Deer Creek. How would they find your community and how to reach you? If they were interested in either your support group? We’re getting some care for their loved one who might have memory care issues.Neema Um, so my phone number, my work cell phone number, is nine for 13765666 You can call me or text me anytime. I can’t. If I can’t help you with something, I will find you someone that can were located off of 84 50 Macintosh Road and Palmer Ranch. Um, we’re currently not doing any onsite tours, but if you are interested in receiving a virtual tour, I’d love to do that with you.Steve Yes, and that’s because we’re recording in April where we’re having the Cove in 19 Pandemic. But I’m sure once the band’s on the pandemic or lifted and we’re allowed to to go out again, that those will be elected. So if someone’s listening to this a couple of years from now, they could, you know, a couple months from now they should be able to come in for a tour, right?Neema Yes, there. As soon as we’re ready to go, I welcome everybody to come in and see us. We were just newly renovated as well three months ago.Steve Well, I sense a good old networking slash community event when this is all said and done, so you can premiere the renovated community.Neema I will, thank youSteve sounds good and in the meantime, thank you, everyone, for listening to another episode of Senior Living on the Sun Coast. If you’d like to find more information on not only this podcast in this episode, but also our other podcasts, you can visit our website at www dot happy life pod dot com. If you have any questions on memory care or anything else regarding senior living for future episodes, you can email us your questions at a happy Life pod at gmail dot com. And you can follow us on our socials, including Twitter, Facebook and Instagram at Happy Life Pod. So that is H A p p Y l i f e p o d. And thank you again Neema for joining us.Neema Thank you. Coming for having me. I love doing these with you.Steve I love doing them with you too. And thank you audience. And until next time everyone stay happy
Episode 5: What is a Skilled Nursing Facility?
In this episode our host Steve Bennet-Martin sits down with Brittney Lamonde Reilly to define and discuss what skilled nursing and rehabilitations are like and things you need to know about them to help prepare you as you age.
Brittany works at Sarasota Health and Rehabilitation in Sarasota, right by the hospital. Their contact information is:
1524 S East Ave, Sarasota, FL 34239
Brittney’s Cell Phone (No stalkers): 941-400-1046
Episode 5 Transcript (in Progress)
Hello there everyone and welcome to Senior Living on the Suncoast. The only senior centered podcast to assist us all as we navigate the complex systems of aging together, up and down the sun coast of Florida. Which means today we will be talking about skilled nursing facilities. The expert for this episode is Miss Britney Lamonde Riley. She’s been working with the senior population for her entire career and is currently the business development manager at Sarasota Health and Rehab. Welcome to the podcast, Brittney.Brittney Thank you so much for having me. Yes. Steve How long have you been working at Sarasota Health and Rehab?Brittney I’ve been at Sarasota health and rehab for about two years and a few months. Now, Um, I literally been working in health care since I was the legal age of 16. I started in dietary and kind of worked My way up from there.Steve Yes. And I mean, even now it’s such a young age. You already are such an integral part of the Sarasota community with all the groups that were a part of together. So is natural that I would want you on for this episode. And I thinkthat skilled nursing is something that people only really typically encounter when they absolutely need it. It’s typically because of emergency or something bad that happens or a change in health status. And so I know that that could be very confusing and overwhelming for some. So just to help prepare our audience in advance, can you explain for us kind of what a skilled nursing facility is? How you would define it?Brittney Sure. Um, so in my particular building, um, we do a lot of skill nursing, so I would define that as short term, a short term interim between the hospital and going home. So say you went to the hospital because you fell and you fractured a bone. And, you weren’t well enough to go home, so then you would come to us and you would get your physical therapy, Your occupational therapy. We do a lot more complex cases, too. Um so where we can do wound vac. So if you have a bad wound that wasn’t healing and you needed a wound vac you could come to us and you could get your treatment for that. And of course, we do your medication management for you. So we do A lot of a lot of skilled nursing service. Yes It’s more complex, I guess, to where you can’t go home right away after the hospital, so you need our service is in between to get you ready to go home.Steve Yes, that is an excellent and just jump in and to elaborate from the definition I found from www.skillednursingfacilities.org , figuring they would be the perfect place to go to to get that definition they define it as “a skilled nursing facility is a lot like a nursing home, and many times the terms were used one in the same. But a true skilled nursing facility may offer more skilled medical expertise, and service is yet a skilled nursing facility provides skilled nursing care and or rehabilitation Service is to help injured sick or disabled individuals Get back on their feet.Brittney Yes, and a lot of times you will, um, here it be called a nursing home, and a lot of times people tend to shy away once it is called a nursing home because a lot of the times that’s associated more with long term care, which we also do provide. So that’s if you really can’t go home and you cannot go to an assisted living. Um, we do do long term care here, and you can still get some skilled service is while your long term care. But it’s basically your home.Steve Yeah, and I mean, you have a wonderful community and you guys do such important work for all of the seniors in our area and making the type of care accessible for everyone. And so before we get into more about skilled nursing, just, uh, why don’t you share with the audience something personal about you that even the professionals like me might not know about you.Brittney Mm. Let’s see. Um, I would say a lot of people don’t know my major that I got in collegeSteve then what was that?Brittney actually actually received my bachelors and communication sciences and disorders with a concentration in sign language. So deaf studies. So I actually and fluent in signing, which has been a while. But I have used it some a few times in my health care career, which I was pretty excited about that. I can still kind of use it here and there. So But that is my major is sign language. I’m pretty fluent with that.Steve That is wonderful. I did have no idea. And I think that that’s something that’s important for all of us in the community to know about. If I ever need someone for a sign language, I know who to call now.Brittney There you go.Steve Yes. And so with news and updates, a lot of the social events or networking events, as well as even senior centered health fairs have kind of been put on hold due to the covid 19 pandemic. We’re recording today on March 27th. But this episode probably air around early April. And so for news, I guess that would be the biggest thing is tell us a little bit about how this has impacted your community and what’s been going on in your community during this canned emmick.Brittney Sure, Yeah. Um, a lot of senior communities have been affected in pretty big ways. We are pretty much what you would call on. Lock down. We’re on restricted visitation. The only time a visitor can come in is if their loved one is on hospice and actively passing away. That is like the only exception. Um, we are taking temperatures at the door. All of our staff has to wear mass. Um, we are trying to find hand sanitizer because everybody kind of bought up everything. We have some work good, but we don’t know how long this is gonna last. Four. So a lot of people have been donating to us. Um, the big I would say the biggest thing is the family members not being able to come here and visit their loved one. So, actually, right before this interview, I had my work phone, which is an iPhone and a loved on had texted me, asking me if I could face time with their mother, who is actually a dementia patient. So I took the phone and we had a nice little face time with her. That’s about probably the 3rd 1 that I’ve done. So we’re trying to find ways that they can still see their loved ones because it really is hard on them. Um, yesterday we had one of our residents meet their brother at the glass. Our front door is all glass. And so they talked through the glass yesterday. So that made his day because you could tell some of them are kind of, you know, they’re getting kind of sad about the situation. So we’re doing anything and everything we can possibly think of. We’ve had people, um, send cards with nice things, like their kids are making nice cards with pretty pictures on them. Yesterday we had 125 carnations donated, so I gave them all of our residents and that bright up there day, it was awesome to be a part of thatSteve I can imagine. And I love how, like the whole community has been rallying together now more than ever, which has been just wonderful.Brittney 100%. Yes. So I would say that’s probably the biggest thing, but we’re not allowing any visitors at all. Um, even the pharmacy has to meet up front. They’re not allowed to go past the reception desk. So our nurses come up and they get the medications out of the secured pops and everything, um, you know, limited transportation, leaving the building things like that just so we can keep our residents safe because, as we all know, the elderly population, this disease kind of goes to so you can really affect them. So we’re really taking a lot of precautions and for myself knowing that I work here basically staying away from everybody. My whole family canceled even Easter, So we’re not even having Easter. So we all work in health care, so we know like, the severity of the situation. Steve yeah, it’s been a definitely a trying time for us all. So yeah, I’m sure we’re doing business a little different than usual currently. But in the back of a normal routine, when things are operating as normal, I would say when When are most likely people to hear about or be told? You know, you should consider a skilled nursing or you might need to go to rehab. Can you kind of walk us through what the the process might be like? Yeah,Brittney yeah. So the steps so most of the time, not all of the time. So we do take people from home or assisted living, But most of the time the person is going to be at the hospital, and some kind of event has happened. They’ve had pneumonia. They’ve broken a bone, you know, generalized weakness, anything that’s going on. So when you hit the hospital, um, most of the time the case manager will come talk Thio, you know the doctor. So if they mentioned skilled nursing or even if you want to bring it up first before they even say anything to you, you can say, Hey, I think I might eat skilled nursing. I don’t know if I really feel comfortable going home right now. All you have to do is talk to the case manager for your floor of the hospital, and then you tell them to send the referral to your skilled nursing choice. Um, once they do that, that skilled nursing facility will check all your all your benefits, whether you have Medicare or different insurance. Um, And then once everything’s cleared there, that facility will call the case manager and let them know, Hey, we’re going to go. Everything’s fine. We are able to transfer, and in between that time to the skilled nursing facilities will call the families just in case they have any questions whatsoever myself. I always give them my cell phone number. So you have any questions at all? Um you can reach out to me and in between myself, I go to the hospital and I actually talked to the patients and talk to the families as well. Right now, I’m not able to do that just cause everything that’s going on. But that’s usually the process. Wants you at the hospital. Talk to your doctor that’s rounding there and talk to the case manager, and they know the process. After that, they send the referral for all we do everything else that do that, Um And then once you come to the skilled nursing facility, um, that’s a fairly easy process as well. The hospital sends transport. You don’t have to worry about any of that. You come, you will get your room. Ah, the nurses will come assess you to see you know what’s going on to make sure there’s nothing that the hospital missed in the paperwork. Anything like that, the scene ease will do your blood pressure. Take your temperature and this is for anybody who comes in the building. That’s a normal process, and then we order your medications and the medications air, then delivered to the facility for us to dispense to you. So they’re kept on a med car and we keep your schedule, um, as best as possible when it’s coming up from the hospital.Steve Excellent. Yes. And I’m sure that part of the day to day routine while you’re in that rehab is going to be getting all the care that you need met. But in addition to that kind of, what would a daily routine look like while you were there? And depending on, obviously, there’s going to be a lot of different severity ease. But in general, how long times, like, how long do people typically stay?Brittney Um, it really depends on what’s happening with that particular person, um, and Medicare, if they’re straight Medicare or if they’re saying like a freedom plan. So when you get here, the therapist is gonna come and assess. You will do their assessment and see what you’re going to need, whether it’s just PT pt ot And sometimes people get physical therapy, occupational and speech therapy because we do provide all of those so they will assess you for everything we look at. They look at the paperwork from the hospital just to kind of get a feel for what’s going on. Um, and then a daily routine, once you’re assessed is, though kind of sets you on a schedule. Um, and they will work with you with therapies, and you know, they’ll watch your progression. You also have what’s called a care plan meeting. So that includes nursing, um, Rmds, Who does all the assessments and things therapy, soldier service’s and dietary in activity. So all those people will have you in a room to go over what your needs are if you have any concerns and they kind of go from Okay, So this is your baseline. So you were walking independently at home? No. Walker and O’Kane, you have some stairs, things like that. And then they take that figure out. Exactly what? How much amount of time you’re gonna need with therapy? Basically. So they know where they’re trying to get you.Steve Yeah, I’ve certainly was. It was eye opening when I was working as a care manager because I had worked with leads for the longest time in assisted living where they were always like, Well, I’m in the skilled nursing and waiting for my care plan meeting. I’m waiting for my care plan meeting and that was always like the bill to end all. No one would ever know anything that was happening sometimes in the process, like until that meeting. But those meetings were so important because I saw first hand when I was a care manager and being the advocate for those people in being in those meetings. You really do have every single branch of your entire community meeting together to discuss that one person and how they’re progressing. And that’s so that is so important. Great. Exactly.Brittney And you know, in between it’s no problem. If the families need to call, you know they’re a power of attorney or their health care surrogate, a proxy they can call, and they can get updates in between. Even before that meeting or after, I think still have any questions or anything like that, I am. And then once the person is ready to go home, our social service director, she helps set up home health any, um, dia me equipment so durable medical equipment that you might need in the home and then we do follow up calls as well. Once the person leaves the building just to make sure they’re good to make sure the home health was good. Everybody came through and you don’t have any questions or concerns, so we follow even after discharge.Steve Excellent. And is that something that’s typical with most skilled nursing facilities? Do you know, or is that something kind of special that you guys do at Sarasota Health and Rehab?Brittney I would say that something special that we dio is because we call them. Um, I believe it’s the third day on the 10th day and the 30th day of their discharge because, um, in the meantime, you never know what’s gonna happen. You know, the ghost in the hospital, here to home. Sometimes, you know, they might just not be doing well at home, so they have the option of returning to the feel nursing facilities I left within 30 days of their discharge date. So that’s always an option as well. So that’s kind of why we follow just to make sure that they’re okay doing well. If they do need us, then we can look into, you know, accepting them back into the facility for more surfaces.Steve Yeah, I’m sure that’s a great service that you guys offer. Yes, and so I would say, though, like you had said at the beginning, most of the people that come in are gonna end up coming in from the hospital on. That’s the most common experience. But what would be a couple of the circumstances in general where I might be at home and asking myself, Do I need to worry about calling my doctor trying to go to skilled nursing? Or how might that work in those, you know, were rare cases where it doesn’t happen directly from the hospital. What do they look like in general?Brittney Okay, so, you know, sometimes will take people from assisted livings. Um, you know, they don’t necessarily need to go to the hospital, but they definitely need a higher level of care than what they’re able to provide their. So what we do is we get the medical paperwork from the SS A living in the doctor. We send them our form, which is called a 3008. So that’s just a transfer form that states they need to be in a skilled nursing facility. Um, and then depending on if they were in the hospital in the last 30 days and had a three night stay. Um, we can take them under their Medicare benefits, But if they did not go to the hospital in the last 30 days, what we can do is either we can take them in private pray, or what we can do is take them in Medicaid pending if they don’t have Medicaid already. So the Medicaid pending process is we would need three months bank statements, consecutive, and they’re so Security Award letter. So that’s the letter that they get once a year states how much income they make off a so security. Usually that’s all we will need. Sometimes people will be over assets or they have a little more income than allowed by Medicaid. So we do have, ah, person that we work with an older law turning that we can refer these people to a CZ Well, so I’m definitely a resource for that if we cannot do the Medicaid application in our building, but most of the time we can well, we do not charge for that service, So as long as I have all of those paperwork beforehand, we will be able to take them into the facility. So I do that quite often whether that’s from home or the assisted living, and it basically is the same process from home. And besides, I would need the paperwork from their primary care physician. But it’s usually fairly simple, and I trying to make it as easy as possible because these transitions are hard and they’re stressful and people don’t know where to go. And, you know, sometimes I get mixed information. So if there’s any question at all you guys can call me, you can call me. I could point you in the right direction. If I don’t know the answer, I will find you.Steve That is excellent. That is something that I remember. Even I had said in the pilot of this episode is like, If I don’t know the answer, I know someone like you were one of my many assets that like I know if I don’t know what you know it or if you don’t know it, someone else will know it. But we all kind of are in this, like a little hive mind of people in Sarasota that have all these resource is so that you’re able to help with that. Since you’ve been working, you said. As you mentioned in health care, you know, in one way or another, since the moment you turned 16 how would you say that’s changed? York’s like your experiences are working in skilled nursing. How’s that? Evolved over the past, You know, time that you’ve been working with them.Brittney I I really enjoyed it just because I’ve done so many different positions. Like I said, I started in dietary. I’ve done activity. So I was able to have fun with the patients. And then, you know, from there I worked in the dementia unit. So I was able to work with people with cognitive impairments and keeping them happy and active. And so I’ve done you pretty much everything travel, doing business development for a large corporation, helping people try, um, to help them with their marketing ideas and going to the hospital and given them those resources to now being at my building, which I absolutely love. I just kind of like my home here. This’ll is. I absolutely love this building, and I love the teamwork that we have here. I’ve just watched everything changed with skilled nursing facilities in different buildings that I’ve worked in and I really love this building and how it’s ran and the service is we provide because not every nursing facility provides the same. Thinks, say not all skilled nursing have will do a lot of long term care. Not all skill nursing’s will have that secure dementia unit. S O. I’m really proud of this building, and I love that we can really help through all levels of their life.Steve Yeah, and I mean, certainly at the end of this show will make sure that you get the chance to make sure you give your information out to anyone who might need ticket help from you directly for your job. But for people that might be listening to this that aren’t in Sarasota, they might be somewhere else up and down the Suncoast or even outside of Florida. Like, how would you recommend someone search for a skilled nursing facility if they were to needed or wanted to do their homework in advance?Brittney Um, you can, uh, really just use Google. You can do nursing homes and near me. You can go on CMS. Um, and look up the star ratings. You can look up everything on that website as well, but really, to be honest with you, Google is like the master here. So you can just Google depending on where you’re at. So say you’re in New York, you know, nursing homes near New York City. Or, you know, Texas, um, nursing homes near Crisco. And here, Sarasota. There’s a lot of different abilities, and they all provide something.Steve Yeah, and in addition to the different service is I did hear you mentioned during that the star rating. And that’s something that when I was working in assisted living, which we don’t have stars. It was a new concept. Can you kind of explain the star system and how it works?Brittney Sure. So you have a total of five star that you can get, um, in there, different categories. So staffing is one quality measures is one. For example, um, so comes in and they do annual surveys. And, um, when we get new patients, existing patients here we are always sending in assessments. And that’s what the MDs job is. This a sending assessments in how they’re doing and just a pen. And there’s so much involved in this that it would probably take me four hours to even explain. But depending on how you’re doing is depending on your star rating, and they do change often. Um,Steve but as a person Googling that doesn’t know too much about skilled Nursing five would be the best. One would be the worst in general, although I’m sure that there are always Asterix and that as much as everything else. But that’s typically how this the it works. Correct?Brittney Yes, yeah,Steve and in terms of numbers, while we answer the question of the five stars. Also early, when we were talking about hospital stays and insurance, you mentioned the three nights. Can you explain a little bit more for people who might not be familiar with what the three night rule or the three night minimum is?Brittney Yeah, no problem. It also for regular Medicare patients. So you’re not on any Medicare advantage plans, no united, no at non nothing like that in your straight Medicare. If you go into the hospital, you have to be impatient not observation, but impatient for three consecutive nights. So your fourth day you are able to admit into a skilled nursing facility under your Medicare benefit. If you have to night or you come on your third day That will not count for your Medicare benefits in a skilled nursing facility. In same thing with observation now that comes trying to back to the home and the assisted living admit, emits is the same thing the three bank statements in the Social Security Award letter or private pick. Because that’s how that works.Steve Yeah, and the three nights of something that it gets confusing, cause I know sometimes people will even be in the hospital for a full day and think that that’s part of their three days. But then they find out that they were admitted during that first stay. So while they were in the hospital for three physical days, also, my advice for my experience would be to make sure it’s three Midnight’s admitted formally, and not just like in the e r. Waiting for someone to see you.Brittney Exactly. You have to be considered inpatient, not observation. Sometimes, like you said, they will have you an e r or that have you an observation for the first day and you’re thinking you’re impatient and you’ve stayed, you know, the three days, but really that first day was only observation. So we have to go. And that part of our job and the emissions department at the skilled nursing facility is to look at those dates. So we will know. So nobody you know that’s not gonna go over our head or anything like that. You’re not gonna be blindsided. We’re gonna know that. And we will contact the family to let them know exactly what’s going on in what process will have to follow.Steve Excellent. Yes. And so I know that with communities like yours, you seem to really help people through this process through start to finish. And I would hope and assume that every skilled nursing facilities like that. But I also understand the reality from being a cure manager that not every community is as wonderful as yours. So if I If I was staying in a in a skilled nursing facility myself and I was getting ready for my discharge, like, what kind of questions should I be asking her? What kind of service is might I be looking into to arrange for when I get home to help me, cause I’m sure it’s going to be a change coming from your community, then going home. Finally, I might not always be ready to hit the ground running back to my old life. So how in general, do you help people prepare for their discharge? And what kind of questions should people be asking?Brittney Sure. So that’s where our social service director comes into play. She does all of our discharging, whether that’s the home assisted living, um, any type of discharge at all. She helps with that. So she’s going to come into your room and she’s gonna ask you a bunch of questions so and you can go right back out or two if she doesn’t ask you those certain questions. But a lot of times will ask you, Do you need grab bars? Um, are you? If you’re in a wheelchair and that’s where your baseline is? Do you have a wheelchair ramp? Do you have a way to get your house? Do you have a toilet riser? Do you have bets like a mode? Do you have a walker? Do you have ah, wheelchair? So she’s gonna ask you all of those questions, and then she’s going to ask you if you have a home health that you prefer. So we will find you a home health we have, You know, some people that we use and not, um you can provide us with the home healthy would like to use. And then she sets up all of the orders with the physician from us, and she gives those over to the home health company. They will come in and meet with you. Um,Steve And we’re gonna be talking more about Home Health Service is in one of the other episodes this week.Brittney Awesome. Perfect. Yeah, it’s a great service is Well, so we help you from, you know, emitting all the way to discharge him. Our social service director, um, will be there for you to answer any questions that you might have. But I would say a lot of the times. The questions are Can you get me a walker King? You’ll get me a wheelchair. Can you get me those DEA me items? That’s most of the questions that we do get.Steve Excellent. And before we close that I have two more questions that I just love to ask all of my guests. The 1st 1 is, if you weren’t working with seniors. What would you be doing with your life?Brittney I would probably be working probably with Children.Steve Children, Brittney To be honest, yes, there was a dream. A dream of mine. Once it’s everybody kind of laughed because, like, totally not do any of this. But at some point in time, I wanted to be a veterinarian. And so I guess you could say a veterinarian or work with kids. I wanted to be a veterinarian. I wanted to move to Australia, and I wanted to to adopt six kids. So I wanted to do something with Children and animals. And I don’t know if that would be something that would be combined. It ever really got too far into it. Because I got, um you know, Steve you got the senior living bug like we fell in love. That’s the thing! I got sucked in. And I’m here to stay because I absolutely love what I d. And being able to help, in so many different ways. So I would I really enjoy what I do, but I think maybe Children and pets. I don’t know what I would. Steve no matter what. It speaks to your caring personality.Brittney Well thanks.Steve And what would you say is one piece of advice you’d give to a new caregiver if a caregiver, just all of a sudden it I was caring for my husband or my dad or my uncle or my grandfather All of a sudden, starting tomorrow. What’s just one general piece of advice you would give to someone who is now responsible for caring for someone else?Brittney You need to make sure you care for yourself as Well.Steve amen. And I couldn’t agree more.Brittney Yep, that is so important. And a lot of people I’ve noticed they have, like that guilty feeling. And you can’t. You have to make sure that you’re taking care of yourself, too. Because if you’re not taking care of, you can’t take care of somebody else properly.Steve Yeah, I’ve seen so many times, and the statistics even speak that more than half the time. Then let the person providing the care passes away before the person receiving care. So it just goes to show how important it is to really take care of yourself. So that is wonderful advice. Thank you very much for that. And I would say, you know, where can everyone find you? Where can they find your facility and any other information you’d like to share with the audience in the world?Brittney Sure. So, um, we are located actually directly across the street from Sarasota Memorial Hospital. So we are East Avenue in between Floyd and Walled Emir streets or actual addresses 15 24 East Avenue south and that Sarasota, Florida 34239 my phone number. If you need anything, I have my phone connected to my head. 24 7 I taste calls on the weekends because a lot of times things do happen on the weekends, too, and I can try to help us. That stuff can. My number is nine for 1 401 046 and we also do have a website, and that is W W w dot Sarasota health and rehab dot com.Steve Excellent. I will make sure that I put all of that in the show notes. So if you’re listening to this episode, you can just scroll down to more information about the episode, and it will be there for you whenever you’re safely able to read it and refer to it. And in the meantime, thank you, everyone for listening to senior living on the Suncoast. You can also check out our website, which is www dot happy life pod dot com. That’s also where you can find us on our socials at Happy Life Pod, and my email address is Happy Life pod at gmail dot com. If you haven’t figured out the spelling by now, it’s h a p p y l i f e p o d So happy life pod at gmail dot com For any questions you have about senior living in general, we would love to get your questions and answers. So as we go forward, we can ask our guest experts as they come on questions from your mouth and not just mine. And in the meantime, thank you very much for joining us, Britney.Brittney Of course. Thank you so much for havingSteve yes. And until next time everyone stay happy. Bye.
Episode 6: Private Duty Home Health
Steve Bennet-Martin defines and discusses what private duty home health is with guest expert MariAnne Hernandez. Together they review information you should know about private duty in advance before you need it, how to access it, and what questions you should ask when interviewing a private duty home care company.
When we turn to focus on our company, Approved Home Health, we also talk about how our technology brings us closer to our seniors and their families than ever before, as well as the special ways in which we help our clients. You can find more information about us here:
Approved Home Health
To start care: 941-412-6767
Main Number: 941-870-8740
This podcast and the Happy Life Pod Network
E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your questions and comments!
Support this show and get VIP access here: https://www.patreon.com/happylifepod
Episode 7: What is Medicare Home Health?
April 21, 2020 HappyLifePod
Steve Bennet-Martin talked with Stratum Health Systems colleague Shelli Webster, from Avidity Home Healh, to define and discuss what medicare home health is and what you need to know about it in advance.
You can find more information about general Medicare Home information here: https://www.medicare.gov/coverage/home-health-services
If you live on the Suncoast and need help contact Shelli here:
Avidity Home Health
And for more Senior Living on the Suncoast check out our website: https://happylifepod.com/