Full Transcript:

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

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

Cheryl McClure:

Well, my name is Cheryl McClure, and I’m the CEO of You’re First Care. Our agency focuses on minimizing risks, providing quality care for quality of life of individuals with physical and cognitive challenges. We do not like to say illnesses, or anything else. We like challenges. One of our main focuses is, we really try to educate. We want to educate not just our clients and their families, but also our staff, because we do feel education is so important.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yeah, absolutely. The staff learning… You never stop learning. And I think, learning new techniques and strategies to care for our challenged loved ones, is always important. So, what is the best thing about serving seniors and their families?

Cheryl McClure:

Well, to me, it’s bringing love and laughter, and giving back. And, there’s so much love and laughter that they give us. Our staff that really dive in with their hearts, they always come up with something good that they’ve taken away. A lot of them say, “I never knew my grandmother.” Even, “I was very close to my grandmother and she passed away and to me too soon.” And, there’s no feeling like knowing your blessing, we all want a blessing, or we want favor in some way, shape, or form. And, just the feeling of giving back and making a difference. During COVID, so many people have been extremely lonely, even in a community full of people. And, a lot of times we’ll be the only one they see, whether it’s in a brick and mortar home, or even in, like I said, some sort of community. So, it’s really important to us.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Oh, absolutely. Yeah, I know the isolation and loneliness for so many has been really crazy. And, are we on seven months now? March, April, May, June, July, August, September, 8 months.

Cheryl McClure:

Probably going on eight.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yeah, eight months. That’s a long time to be isolated.

Cheryl McClure:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

So yeah, every caregiver that walks in the door of a home or a community is keeping that person… Giving them some hope and some inspiration to keep going, because they don’t get to see anybody, so.

Cheryl McClure:

At all. Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Okay. Let’s switch gears for just a second and talk about online marketing.

Cheryl McClure:

Oh, okay.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yeah, I hear from other senior providers that marketing online can be a challenge. It can be confusing and it definitely is ever changing. So, what has been your experience or your thoughts with online marketing?

Cheryl McClure:

I grew up in the age of manual typewriter.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yeah, me too.

Cheryl McClure:

That’s what I learned to type on. And so, I can seriously see a lot of challenges that people have. And, just when you think you’ve got something down, somebody changes an algorithm, or throws a term in there that none of us understand. One of the things, I feel, I think it coincides with education. I find that, writing articles, or giving education online, and even in a form like yours, really tends to be a better marketing tool for people. It builds your credibility at the same time you’re educating and you don’t sound like some “wah, wah, wah” commercial. And, you grab people’s attention better. I see a lot of things, and all these different marketing avenues, and it’s just this blurb of something. This is, “We do it better because of…” Well, in these days, seeing is believing. And so, I think education is probably to me a very big tool.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yes. I believe that’s very true. Whether you’re doing video, or writing nice articles, or having somebody else write them for you.

Cheryl McClure:

Right.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Outsourcing is okay, as long as you continuously add your personal touch.

Cheryl McClure:

Right.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

I think, a lot of folks hire our services to do their marketing for them online, but that is a different part of our business. And that’s fine, and we love it, and we’ve been doing it for a long time. But however, our education for our clients is, you have to participate, you have to engage, you have to provide some of your own content. It doesn’t have to be a 20 page dissertation, but just give us a paragraph and a picture of your caregiver of the month, or something that you’re celebrating because we need good news.

Cheryl McClure:

Right.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

And, people would love to know more about you, come out from behind that website, from behind that Facebook page, and talk about your staff. That’s-

Cheryl McClure:

Absolutely.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

And, educate your community about who your amazing people are that work for you because that builds trust. So, you’re right. Education all the way around is the most important piece of this whole marketing thing. And, I think it’s really good to appreciate that.

Cheryl McClure:

Right.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

I know I do. I appreciate that as-

Cheryl McClure:

Yeah. Well, I do too. I figure out what do I look at? What can [inaudible 00:05:33], and I want to learn. And I want to think more, not just see some advertisement.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yeah, absolutely. All right, let’s go back to senior care and your wisdom. What other successful leaders in the industry like yourself, or organizations, mom and dad, there’s probably people who have been mentors in your life or inspirations. Who would you like to talk about?

Cheryl McClure:

Well, there’s so many. I mean, I do really revere and appreciate the Alzheimer’s association, the Parkinson’s Association, those types of things. But, who really inspired me was my grandmother and my mother. My mother’s a retired RN. And, my grandmother was one that, she always wanted to live in a mobile home community, because she loved people. She would do anything for anybody. And, I think the biggest take away for me, just being with those two strong women in my life is that, they were so selfless in everything that they did. I mean, it wasn’t, “What’s in it for me.” Or, “Well, no I can’t today.” Or, “I’m busy.” I mean, I watched both of them, completely put their lives on hold, or put everything aside just to help another person that didn’t even have to be related to them. And to me, that’s what being in this world is about. I mean, I know you have to think about self. And, take care of self, but all of us have time that we can take care of someone else. And, do it lovingly and without anything in return. And, that’s what my real takeaway was from my older adults, that were in my world.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Oh yeah. I think, giving of yourself, and being a good steward for others, a steward of your resources to help others, is super important. And, if there weren’t people like your mother, and your grandmother, and yourself in this world, we would be in a predicament.

Cheryl McClure:

Oh my goodness.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

We need more people who are selfless caregivers. And you’re right, self-care is very important.

Cheryl McClure:

It is.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Because if you get sick, who’s going to care for the folks that need help. But, even if it’s just something little, doing something for a meal, or when somebody has a new baby in the house, or is sick, dropping off groceries, or doing something little is just so appreciated by everyone.

Cheryl McClure:

It is. It is.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

And so, we need to get back to doing more of that for everybody.

Cheryl McClure:

Yeah. And, it’s not just things, it’s just given someone a little bit of your time.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yes. So they can talk.

Cheryl McClure:

And it can just be minutes.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yes. Yeah. And, I think right now that’s what our seniors need, is just a little bit of our time. Just sit and talk, have a conversation, a little visit. Doesn’t have to be hours and hours. It can just be a little bit of a nice, good conversation about how things are going. And, that’s really all they need.

Cheryl McClure:

Yeah. Yeah.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

All right. What piece of advice would you give to other senior care providers?

Cheryl McClure:

Well, I’m going to play off of the last topic that we just talked about, but my big advice to other people in the industry is to hire wisely. And, educate their staff, one of the first questions that we ask in an interview, literally, is what is the last selfless thing you did for someone else that you didn’t get paid for, and they were not related to you? And, it’s amazing the responses that we get. We have some that just will stare off into the distance, racking their brain, trying to figure out maybe what the word selfless means. I don’t know. But, it’s amazing you can find out a lot about people. And, it can be the smallest thing, “I was in Kroger, and there was an older adult trying to lift a 12 pack of soda into her cart.” Well, how long does that take to help her? You know what I mean? Just those little things, opening a door for somebody, somebody in need, helping in and out of a car. So, people don’t understand the impact that the small things make. I think, everybody thinks it’s got to be gigantic, and it doesn’t. So, just hiring wisely. We look for the biggest hearts. Of course, I want skills, but at the same time you can teach skills, but you can’t teach heart. So, I would just say hire wisely and educate.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

That’s true. What a great question to ask. What is the last selfless thing you did, it wasn’t for pay, it was just from the kindness of your heart that you did for somebody else?

Cheryl McClure:

Yeah.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

That is really a great question, because it makes you stop and think about your own last time you did something nice for somebody without any expectation.

Cheryl McClure:

Yeah.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

And, that’s a great question. I’ll have to keep that in mind.

Cheryl McClure:

Absolutely.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

That’s a good one.

Cheryl McClure:

Anybody use it. Anybody use it.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

And it’s funny, you’ll have some people that will probably spew off five or six things they’ve done and some that have to really think about what that means, and did they really do something without asking to get paid, or without any expectation of something in return?

Cheryl McClure:

Yeah.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

That’s a great question. It’s a great self-reflection.

Cheryl McClure:

It is. It is.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Awesome. Well, that’s a great piece of advice. Okay, last question. When you have a win in life or in business, and that could be anything that can be, just a client who’s super happy, their family’s really happy, it could be a birthday for your staff, it could be a wedding, anything. How do you like to celebrate?

Cheryl McClure:

Well, honestly speaking, I try to celebrate it every day. I mean, I’m a very positive person. And, I read a quote at some point that said, “Positive people, they’re not people who’ve had a very easy time in life, but they’re just tired of being on the opposite end.” So, being positive every day and just feeling like I win every day. Every day I get my feet on the floor is a big win. But, a lot of times I look at staff, and when we have something, like you said, it could be a small win, it could be a large win, just a compliment. We have a program called BLAST, Both Lasting And Successful Teams. And, we like to recognize… And, all the credit goes to our team, goes to the staff member.

Cheryl McClure:

I encourage our supervisors to DoorDash milkshakes, just randomly out of the blue, to one of our staff that we got a compliment for. And, a lot of times we’ll do it to the home where everybody gets to enjoy it, or it might be lunch, having Panera Bread, or something delivered to the home. But like I said, and we also really utilize our BLAST program. And so, it’s a big recognition program that we have. And it’s generally monetary, but I think it’s funny because so many people get so excited. And again, it’s the smaller things, it’s the recognition. It’s not like, “You’re a queen for the day and I’m putting you on a pedestal.” It’s-

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah, just little things.

Cheryl McClure:

Yeah.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

We have a brave set of folks who are… They’re not paid, they’re not going to be millionaires tomorrow.

Cheryl McClure:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

They are paid, but they are really great caregivers who, I mean, they spend an entire day sometimes, or maybe it’s just two or three hours, but usually an entire day with a senior who is lonely, or very needy, or maybe not so needy. Either way, it’s a long day. And so, just rewarding them for being who they are and being kind. I mean, I think the DoorDash thing, that is amazing. I’m a little behind the time. So, we just discovered the value of DoorDash. Recently, my family, we got a gift card actually for Grubhub. So, same thing.

Cheryl McClure:

Yeah. Yeah.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

And, we used it and we were like, “Oh, nice. Oh my goodness. We didn’t have to leave. Now, it’s a little more expensive, but that’s okay. Once in a while this is fabulous.” And, I went out of town recently and my husband said, “Hey, could you DoorDash me some Chinese food?” And I said, “Well, sure I can, what a cool thing.” So, we are discovering the value of that. But, that is neat to have some milkshakes or something cool delivered to the house. How fun is that?

Cheryl McClure:

Yeah. Just being recognized. I mean, we work selfless, and we want to really just give up ourselves. And, people who truly have a big heart, don’t stand up there saying, “Look at me, look at me, look at me.” Those individuals though, still, I think they are even more appreciative when somebody recognizes, or just even… I’m going to tell you some of our clients, they reach over and put a hand on them and say, “I am so grateful that you’re here. Thank you for being in my life.” And, that is priceless to a staff member. What else could you expect from somebody? That is probably the last thing that’s on their mind before they go to bed that night, you know?

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yeah, absolutely. So, those are moments that you definitely remember as a nurse, a caregiver, whatever your role is. You remember those times, when a patient said something so kind, and was so thankful, even though you hadn’t expected that at all, it was just your job. But, that’s so nice when you hear that. So yeah, recognition is super important. Especially, right now the retention of caregivers. You treat them like a good family member, and you treat them like a valuable part of your team.

Cheryl McClure:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

So, I get where you’re coming from. And, it sounds to me like you’ve really done a lot to make sure your caregivers feel like they have a good reason to stay, because they are treated well.

Cheryl McClure:

They’re our largest asset. I mean, above and beyond anything we have. They’re our largest asset.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Mm-hmm (affirmative). Absolutely. Well, that is great. Great ways to celebrate, and great advice for others. And that’s what the show’s all about. So, I thank you for sharing your wisdom with us.

Cheryl McClure:

Absolutely.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

And, for letting us peek into how you do business, and what’s important to you, we appreciate that. So, thank you for doing the show.

Cheryl McClure:

It’s my pleasure. Absolutely.