Full Transcript:

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

This is Valerie VanBooven with the Senior Care Industry Netcast, where leaders with three or more years in the senior care industry share their advice. It’s six questions in nine minutes. So let’s get to it. In a few sentences, tell us who you are and what you do.

Sheila Farr:

Okay. I am Sheila Farr. I am the owner and trainer at Gulf Coast… Oh my golly.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

It’s okay. I edit. Keep going.

Sheila Farr:

Thank you. I’m Sheila Farr. I’m the owner and trader at Gulf Coast Training and Education Services here in Biloxi, Mississippi. And what we do is we provide professional and personal development for small businesses, seniors, and children here on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Wow. That’s a lot. You cover the whole gamut, everybody.

Sheila Farr:

We do.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

That’s pretty cool. All right. Well, tell us, what is the best thing about serving aging adults?

Sheila Farr:

There’s two things that I really love about serving the seniors here in our community. The first are just the connections that I make because I’m very active in a lot of different areas here on the coast. So I feel very fortunate for that. So the connections are definitely one. I make really good friends.

Sheila Farr:

The second thing is all the amazing stories that I hear and things that I learn from our seniors. They’re just an incredible population to be around, tons of fun, and I just always come away from working with them, very inspired and excited. So I love that.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yep, and we hear that a lot, that their stories and their lifetime of experience is always fun to hear and great to learn from, of course.

Sheila Farr:

They’re good.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

So, okay. Let’s talk a little bit about online marketing. I always throw this question in because I like to get everybody’s opinion on where they are. I hear from other service providers that marketing online can be a challenge. We know it’s ever-changing. What has been your experience or your thoughts?

Sheila Farr:

I actually love it and adore it, and I’m pretty successful with it. And I think it’s because I’m across so many different platforms and mediums. So I really, from an advertising standpoint, haven’t really had a whole lot of difficulty reaching out and finding people. I belong to different business groups here in town, and I think that helps a lot. Networking is hugely important, especially when you’re trying to reach out to the seniors, and especially during this time when we’re going through this COVID crisis, because they’re in so many different places, and our reach to them is limited. So we’ve had to get creative with the way that we’re able to do that. And we really have. So, thank goodness for all the virtual outlets that we have available to us now.

Sheila Farr:

And then with the seniors, I find that it’s really situational. Some of them are really techno savvy, some not so much. So in order to reach them and be sure that we’re still able to serve them, we do a lot of our prerecorded things that they can play in their activity centers, in the assisted living where they live, or in some of the smaller activity centers where they’re still getting together in very, very, very small groups. So even though it is challenging, I find it very fun. I actually like it.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Me too. I like learning new things, and I like learning… And you and I met through LinkedIn. So that’s how I got you. We always are looking for great leaders who have experience and do great things in their community. And so, if it weren’t for LinkedIn, you and I may have never met. So to me, learning something new and reaching out and being able to try new things online is a great opportunity. And right now, it’s more prevalent than ever, of course.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Okay. All right. I would imagine that there are some other successful leaders in your area or in your life or your business that have made a difference for you, or you think they just do a really good job at whatever they do. So would you like to give a shout out to anybody who is making a difference in your area?

Sheila Farr:

Man, I’m thinking about that. My list is so long because we’re fortunate in this area, that we just have a really active senior population, and we have a lot of people serving that population. So it’s incredible. But I work also as a physician liaison for a physical therapy practice. And I really have to shout out one of our physical therapists. His name is Jeffrey Hussar. He is just incredible, just the way that he treats people, and the way that he engages people in physical therapy. Also the way that he trains. He’s just gone through a certification program for working with Parkinson’s patients. So he’s able to help just an enormous amount of people here on the coast. And I just love watching him go. I just love watching him because he’s just. He’s just wonderful. And I love hearing the feedback from our patients and from the other service providers, the physicians, when they say, “Oh my gosh, my patient responded so well to him. Can we send everybody over to him?” He’s just helping so many people, so he’s just phenomenal.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Great. Yeah, it’s always nice when you find that gem that everybody can relate to, and that’s so personable and can get people to do things they thought they could never do, especially physical therapy. That’s awesome.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

All right. Okay. So what piece of advice would you give to other senior care providers?

Sheila Farr:

I would say listen to your seniors. I think a lot of times, we get busy in our heads, trying to plan programs and events and activities and all kinds of things that we think they would enjoy, or we think would serve them well. But oftentimes, if we just sit and listen to them, they’ll tell us exactly what they need and exactly what they want. So I think just that, just listening, and then working to provide what they really need, instead of what we think they need.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yeah, that’s right. And we hear that a lot, too. A senior will tell you what they want to do. If they don’t want to play bingo, but they’d rather do some line dancing, then that’s what they’d rather do.

Sheila Farr:

Right. Right.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

So, yeah. Listen, and don’t assume too much because we have some very fabulous seniors out there who are interested in things you would never imagine.

Sheila Farr:

It’s incredible. That’s why I enjoy teaching yoga for seniors. I do that here on the coast, and I have such a great time with them, and it’s really neat because of course they need it. It’s helpful to them because it keeps them moving. But also the emotional connections that they make. There’s times when we get still and quiet, and then they become real talkative, whenever they’re able to sit and just kind of contemplate and reflect a little bit. So that’s really one part of my job that I enjoy just so much. I just love it. So I feel very excited about that. It’s one of my favorite things to do.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

That is awesome. And I’m sure they appreciate that too. Yoga is so good in so many ways, and it doesn’t have to be hot yoga. It can be very simple yoga, trust me.

Sheila Farr:

Right.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Simple. Yep. Okay. When you have a win in life or in business, and this could mean anything, everybody’s like, “I don’t know how to answer that,” but it’s supposed to be my fun question. So when you have a win in life, it could be a graduation, a marriage, a baby, could be somebody just doing great or whatever it is, how do you like to celebrate?

Sheila Farr:

Okay. I actually have two ways.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Okay.

Sheila Farr:

I have two celebrations, and one is for a grand celebration. And one is just for a little win at the end of the day. So my big grand celebration, I always want to celebrate with a spa day, going out and just getting pampered is heaven. It’s the most wonderful thing for me. I really enjoy that.

Sheila Farr:

But for my daily wins, whether it’s just I checked everything off of my to-do list for the day, I really love at the end of the day, just to sit down with a fancy little teacup and have a cup of tea, just make it really special. So that, to me, is just pure bliss. So I enjoy that.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yup. Those are great ways to celebrate. And you answered that question perfectly. It doesn’t have to be a big deal all the time. But if you’ve had a great day, that’s a perfect reason to celebrate.

Sheila Farr:

I feel like that too. I agree with that, for sure.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Well, I want to thank you for being on the show and for sharing your wisdom and sharing what you do with us so that we can get the word out to other people about what’s available there on the Gulf Coast. And everything that you decided was exactly… It was amazing. And I’m so glad that you work with seniors. And of course, all of the other age groups that you get to see. So thank you for doing this and thank you for being on the show.

Sheila Farr:

Thank you for asking me to be here. I appreciate it so much. Just giving me the opportunity to speak with you is just very exciting. So thank you.