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. So let’s get to it.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

In a few sentences, tell us who you are and what you do

Rebecca Auyer:

Sure, Valerie. Nice to see you this morning. My name is Becky Auyer and I am the owner of Inspire Care of Central New York. Your question says who you are and what you do. I’m a mom, I’m a grandma. So those are very important reasons as to why I got where I am. But as far as in the industry of senior care, I am the owner of Inspire Care of Central New York. And we are a certified care management company and also a home physical therapy company. That is my background. I’ve been a physical therapist for 40 plus years. And so in the home care industry and then pivoted and came into this industry of care management close to 10 years ago.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Wow. Yeah, 10 years ago. We’ve talked a lot about care managers on the show. We’ve talked to care managers, but we’ve talked about here managers and what a blessing they are, because this is… When you’re navigating senior care challenges, there are so many different things coming at you from so many directions that you need to manage and organize.

Rebecca Auyer:

Absolutely. I didn’t play the title of problem-solver, but of course that’s what I’ve been it seems like my whole life, in my previous life, and the one is a mother and grandmother, but now that transitions we are problem solvers. And I like to say that is what really motivates me each and every day.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yes. Senior care is a tough time in life for the family and for the senior it can be a tough time. It can be challenging financially, mentally, physically.

Rebecca Auyer:

Everything.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

So we have so many things to deal with. And physical therapy too. We’ve just, actually… My husband just finished up some in-home physical therapy after having back surgery. He’s doing great, but you know what, we completely understand the value of having a physical therapist come to the home and teach us things that we-

Rebecca Auyer:

That’s right.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

… might not have ever realized or known about the way we move

Rebecca Auyer:

That’s right. And you will age better. I say aging well is really under the tutelage of a physical therapist who can have eyes and ears to help you. And you’re right. It’s in the home I find is the best place for PT. I’ve got a lot of colleagues doing the clinic work, but really where do we live most of our lives and have our biggest challenges? It’s in our homes.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yes. I’ve been a nurse for a million years, but there are still things that our physical therapists has pointed out that might be helpful to us, might be not so helpful to us, especially for Charlie. And so it’s been a really great experience. Yeah-

Rebecca Auyer:

Wonderful.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

… I highly recommend it.

Rebecca Auyer:

I’m glad to hear that.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yes, absolutely. All right. What is the best thing about serving seniors and their families?

Rebecca Auyer:

The best thing I think is their uniqueness. Each one is so different. And I find that as I problem-solve, as I said about their situations, I’m able to help them plan for a good end to their life. I think aging well is what we should all be about. What do we control? What do we have over control of and what can we plan for? So it’s given me the opportunity to speak into people’s lives about how much purpose they still have, how quality of life is so important. I think it’s a holistic approach. I’m definitely minded toward the physical aspect, but there’s so much more of each one of us. So I think the best part is having that opportunity. It’s really a privilege, Valerie, to be able to help guide them and sometimes family members. And I’m going to speak about my mom and a little bit. We aren’t always the best ones or the ones that are listened to. And so having a caring professional come into your home and come alongside and listen to what’s going on, it’s a privilege. And that’s the best part I think about working with seniors.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yeah, absolutely. You hit the nail on the head in so many ways and it is a privilege. I would totally agree with you that like my aging parents probably would listen to a third party professional than they would listen to me. And they will listen to me, but I mean, there comes a point when you really need a second opinion and one that’s not related to you.

Rebecca Auyer:

Exactly. Exactly.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Absolutely. All right.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Let’s talk about online marketing for a minute. We’re going to change gears a little bit. I ask everybody this question. Things have been a little bit more challenging lately since about March in our world and online marketing can be confusing. It’s ever changing for sure. What has been your experience or what are your thoughts about online marketing?

Rebecca Auyer:

Probably before March, if you’d ask me that, I would say, “We’re doing fine. We’ve got great referral sources.” I’m not sure that my seniors need to and communicate that way, or I would be involved that way, but I have always had a presence as a company and business owner on social media. And did I do it? No. I always found the person that knew and had the expertise to do it. It wasn’t my wheelhouse. But when March hit, Valerie, I found that it needed to be my face. It needed to be my presence, my reassurance to my clients, to their families, and even to the business world around me that we were an essential business. That we were [inaudible 00:06:04] with all the CDC guidelines and we actually became educators just alongside of all the other professionals.

Rebecca Auyer:

And the best way to do that because we were going to people’s homes. I can’t say I was just in my jammies sitting here in front of a screen, but we were needing to be in front of our audience and our consumers and our community in a way that never had happened before. So I sought out great advice. I did some more of these Zoom presentations and calls, and it’s really what’s going to be driving I think so much of our industry. I’m a face-to-face person that is the best way, and I’m learning though we need to pivot and have another way of doing that interaction.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Very true. Great job on that. Yes, definitely since March, I think it’s opened all of our eyes. Of course I’ve always been a proponent of online marketing, but I would say that getting accustomed to and comfortable with hearing your own voice and seeing your face on video is perfectly okay. And I would also say that we have gotten used to… I mean, I guess before doing video, everybody has this impression that you have to look great and you have to be all dressed up. I would say today, people are happy to see who you are and just be comfortable with the knowledge you’re sharing. You don’t have to get all dressed up. You can just have a really honest and educational discussion about a topic and people are just happy to get the information because everybody’s starved for that sort of interaction and something to do, something using our brains. And it’s gotten better of course, over the months, but there’s definitely going to be a future of using video and using our online methods to communicate with each other a little bit more I think so.

Rebecca Auyer:

Absolutely. Absolutely.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Absolutely in the right direction.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

All right. I would imagine that in your career and in your life, there have been people who have been mentors to you, who’ve been inspirational to you, or organizations that have just done a really great job. Would you like to talk about anybody in particular?

Rebecca Auyer:

I appreciate that opportunity and platform. It’s a challenge. I’ve watched some of your other interviews, and I know everybody that has a myriad of background like I do, you don’t want to leave anybody out. You want to make sure that you highlight all those very instrumental people in the path that got you where you are. And I would say as a physical therapist doing home care, I had some great agencies that I worked for. The Visiting Nurses was one of mine. And in our Onondaga County, Central New York area, they’d been around a long time since the 1800s. So we had that great background.

Rebecca Auyer:

And I would say [inaudible 00:09:04]. Everyone was instructed well, they were compassionate, caring. So I got a foundation there that I have not left behind, but I have to highlight somebody else right now. And that’s going to be my mom. My mother was challenged with Parkinson’s for 25 years. And when you have a therapist for a daughter, she can always say to you, “I’m glad that you went through college and I assisted Becky, but now maybe I don’t need to exercise quite so much.” And I would say, “No, mom, you do need even more so.” She was someone who aged with Parkinson’s gracefully, constantly looking beyond her disease to who she was and who you were. She engaged the people she met, and I want to be that way.

Rebecca Auyer:

I don’t want to be consumed with my worldly problems. I want to always be listening to other people’s issues and problems. She instructed me that way. And challenging as Parkinson’s is, she dealt with it in a very, very excellent manner. I hope that I can instill that with my clients who have Parkinson’s or a life limiting or a challenging chronic condition. That it doesn’t have to define you, that you still have a great quality of life. And if that takes me helping define that and engaging you more, even if it’s not physical therapy, but some other way to get to the emotional and the core of who you are. My mom was a woman of faith. I think that helped drive her as well. And I am as well, but I really find that she was my shining star and my true mentor.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Oh, that’s great. I mean, having a mom who has been like a good inspiration and a great teacher throughout your life, there’s nothing that replaces that really.

Rebecca Auyer:

Nothing, no.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Great. And that she had Parkinson’s disease for 25 years. That’s a long long.

Rebecca Auyer:

It’s a long time. It’s a long time. Actually I gave a presentation at our Parkinson’s conference, which we have annually here in town and used her as my example. I had several videos of her throughout her trajectory of disease process and she had died just three months before I gave my presentation. So my vinyl video of mom really was touching I think to everyone, to show those in the audience how they can age well with that particular disease.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yes. How lucky is she to have a physical therapist for a daughter to help her with all that stuff?

Rebecca Auyer:

Who would have known?

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

I know that’s crazy, but you know what, it was meant to be.

Rebecca Auyer:

It was meant to be.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

That’s great. Well, thank you for that.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

I’m sure that because you’ve been around for a long time, you’ve probably had lots of opportunity to give advice. So what would you say to other senior care providers out there? What piece of advice would you give?

Rebecca Auyer:

I think when you are meeting a prospective client or working with the senior population, you have to step back. You know what you are offering them, but you’re not sure, or shouldn’t be sure is this what they need. And so I think coming to the table always with you, leading with what you’re doing, actually might curtail you really knowing what they need. [inaudible 00:12:35] listening. I know what a physical therapist can do for you. I have all this in my expertise that I can share, but I think the first thing any senior provider needs to do is listen. And by listening, we can really hear their issues and we can come alongside. Perhaps it’s what we are offering, but maybe it’s not. I have a very collaborative approach with my other senior providers in my area that we are doing all for the client. So we need to be client-centered together. Bolder together, working together.

Rebecca Auyer:

And so I really feel like if they have that open attitude about listening to their new clients, prospective clients, and then being able to share with others what this person needs particularly in their aging well trajectory, then I think we will all do the best job we can. And I have found a niche. I think finding a niche. And right now we’re trying to be pre-planners. We often are brought into crisis management and what we have developed as a tool that can help people who have developed this wonderful life, protect it and be ready for the next crisis.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

I think pre-planning is something that we all should strive for. We wish more people would do it. You’re right. Most of us are brought in, in the middle of a crisis or in the beginning of a crisis, but doing a little bit of forethought and planning ahead, it’s so much easier on everybody concerned. Everybody concerned.

Rebecca Auyer:

Everybody.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

The seniors, the family members.

Rebecca Auyer:

We’ve developed this LifePlan. It’s called the LifePlan by Inspire Care, and it came from just hearing everybody’s crisis management stories. And they’re not all pretty, and they’re not all well-prepared and they’re frustrating. Anyway, that’s what we have developed and we hope many people will have the peace of mind that will come with filling out and completing something like this.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Nice. Is it something that people can get from your website or by contacting you?

Rebecca Auyer:

Yes. Actually we launched it in May. I want to say it was on the horizon, regardless of COVID. COVID just cemented the fact that a crisis can occur. Look at that. I was seeing it in people’s lives, but now we had it front and center. And so we launched in May. Our website is yet to be out there for the LifePlan, but yes, contacting Inspire Care. We can let you know just how we can assist you with that and getting the LifePlan in your hands.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Right. We’ll make sure your website is with this video everywhere it goes. So folks can-

Rebecca Auyer:

Thank you. That’s great.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

… reach out and find out more about how they can get ahold of that information. Awesome. All right.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Last question. When you have a win, how do you like to celebrate?

Rebecca Auyer:

I’m not a real demonstrative person. I’m a people person. I’d like to celebrate with someone. And that’s usually my husband. I would say the immediate celebration is about the reflection of what happened and how did that happen and who should I write a note to? I am a person that is writing pen to paper notes to people for thanks and making myself grateful, making sure they understand my gratefulness. So I would probably be making my list. Okay, with that win, who was instrumental in helping us get that accomplished? And a thank you note would be going out the next day to say, “I appreciate you.”

Rebecca Auyer:

And then my husband that night, definitely we would be discussing it. HIPAA is something else. And I guess for husbands who are a sounding board and I have a disclaimer. He is part of our company, but he’s also signed those HIPAA releases. But we know if it’s about a client and it’s a win, we’re all celebrating. And he’s one of my celebratory coming together with me at the end of that process.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

We all have to have a confidant to-

Rebecca Auyer:

We do.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

… share our happy moments with. Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. Well, thank you for that. And thank you for doing the show and for sharing your experience and your wisdom with us. That’s what this is all about. Is helping each other and helping our communities and helping consumers know more about the services that we provide and the resources that are available in their community. And the folks of Central New York need to know more about what’s available to them and how you can help. So that’s what this is about. Thank you very much. All right-

Rebecca Auyer:

[inaudible 00:17:10] time. Thank you and I will keep watching your site. There’s great advice there.