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

Sandra Heintz:

Sure. My name is Sandy Heintz. I’m a certified senior advisor. I am a local owner and operator of a franchise called Right At Home in Northwest Houston, and it’s family operated with my husband and I, Dan, and our fantastic support team.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Nice. Awesome. And so you guys serve the Houston area. How long have you been doing this?

Sandra Heintz:

So I bought the franchise eight years ago.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Wow. Is there any particular reason why you got into home care?

Sandra Heintz:

So I was a caregiver at 15, 16. I worked in a skilled nursing facility and have loved working with seniors my entire life. And I’m a huge advocate for aging at home. And this opportunity, I did not expect to be an owner, fell into my lap.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Wow. Very cool. Yeah. Everybody usually has a story about why or a reason for doing this and being in home care. What is the best thing about serving aging adults?

Sandra Heintz:

So I think my favorite thing is I enjoy engaging with seniors and hearing their life story and their history. I always have. I had that opportunity with my grandparents. And so I learn a nugget from every interaction that I have with their families and their loved ones.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

And their stories are so good. And it’s so nice to be able to listen to every… I always say this, every single human could probably write a novel about all the different cool and strange and wonderful things that have happened to them in their lifetime.

Sandra Heintz:

Absolutely. And there are experiences that they live that I’ve never lived. So whether it’s been war and participating in war, they just have different levels of experiences and I find that fascinating.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yeah, absolutely. All right. I would imagine, and we talked about this just a little bit, but there are folks out there that have been in your life or organizations that have really meant a lot to you and maybe steered you in this direction, maybe it’s an organization that does a great job or it’s just someone, a parent or a grandparent who has meant a lot to you in all of this. So who would you like to talk about?

Sandra Heintz:

So I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you that my grandparents are my heartbeat and the reason I am who I am and do what I do. I had the privilege of walking with my maternal grandfather. He had cognitive decline in his older age, ended up being in skilled nursing. And I got to be the interface between my family and the skilled nursing and just, it was such a privilege and an honor, and then I got to walk with my grandmother who thrived for 90 and a half years until her body got tired. And just the joy I had of watching her stay as independent as she could and having her give me information and advice and loving me unconditionally, is what I hope to give back to my care team members, as well as the seniors I work with.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yep, absolutely. That’s awesome. I love it when we have grandparents and parents who’ve meant so much to us and who have really been a shining example of a human, of a good person, and someone that we can think about as a mentor, someone who we would like to be, have the same amount of independence and resiliency that they do even at a super old age.

Sandra Heintz:

Absolutely. Absolutely. My grandmother smiled so I hope that I smile as much as she did in her age.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yeah. I know. I always say if I ever have dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, I hope I am the nice lady that laughs and smiles and holds a baby doll and not to like, “[Weh 00:04:22],” because I probably will be, “Weh.”

Sandra Heintz:

I might have to agree with that as well. Me too.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

I hope that’s not the case, but anyway. All right. So let’s talk about online marketing. This has been a particularly challenging last 10, 11 months, and networking in person has come to a halt for many of us. It’s really challenging and things are, in some areas getting a little better. Although I don’t know, every day the numbers look bad, but we have vaccines on the horizon for most people. What has been your experience with online marketing throughout all this?

Sandra Heintz:

I think probably my biggest issue is trying to find a balance. There’s a lot of noise in online marketing. We can, we’re better, we’re this, we’re that, everybody trying to find a place in a spot over the last 11 months. And so what I have been challenged with is finding a balance for us to be a trusted resource, as well as being able to promote our value and our service line. Our engagement online has been, we want to make sure that we don’t contribute to the noise, but we filter it and add value to it.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

That’s a good mission for your online marketing, is to add value to it and not just contribute to the noise. It’s challenging no matter what, I would say.

Sandra Heintz:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

And being absent is not a great idea. And being there, tweeting 40 times a day, which I don’t even do, that’s not even an issue to me for home care, but being anywhere and posting 40 times a day is just contributing to noise. So, yeah, you’re right. There is a fine balance. For sure.

Sandra Heintz:

Yeah. And to be trusted, right? So meeting someone face-to-face, this is a trust work. Home care and senior care is a trust work. And if you can’t do it face-to-face, you have to be able to find a way to leverage that online, where they feel that, because now it’s more impersonal.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yes it is. And I think coming out from behind your website and coming out from behind that Facebook page to me, is a great way to develop that trust. So whether it’s a little video or an article or something that an owner, a caregiver, someone that’s a marketer for the organization does, and you see their face and you talk to them, just like we’re doing now, this builds trust. People get to know you, you come out from behind all of that, this is who we are and I’m the person responsible for your mom or your dad, whether it’s my caregiver or myself or someone else in the home, the buck stops here.

Sandra Heintz:

Absolutely.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

I think that really helps a lot, especially when we’re not seeing them face-to-face right away.

Sandra Heintz:

Yep. I agree.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

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

Sandra Heintz:

Okay. So it’s my favorite. Don’t forget your why. I love Simon Sinek’s TED talk, and it is truly part of my fabric and my being, don’t forget why you do what you do. So my why has always been, it’s our life verse for our company, that our light will shine before others so that they can see our good works and that God will be glorified. And every time we have an issue, it’s always telling my team, “Why are you doing what you do? Go get your why.” Because if you don’t have that, you have nothing.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

That’s true. That’s true. If you lose your why, it leads to burnout really fast, especially in an industry that is hard to staff sometimes and hard to… This is a human, very human, very emotional, very overwhelming, industry to be in sometimes, and I think making sure your why is in your head every day is really important, because without that burnout can happen really fast.

Sandra Heintz:

It happens extremely fast. We deal with death, we deal with complex medical issues, and most people in this field take everything personally.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yes.

Sandra Heintz:

You have to be able to get back to, why do you do what you do? So that you don’t get angry, you don’t get burnout, you don’t lose your focus.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Absolutely. And truly, you are the last stop between independence and dependence a lot of times.

Sandra Heintz:

Absolutely.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

So the success of you having a caregiver in that house and maintaining that independence, which happens all the time, and keeping them independent, which is the amazing nature of home care, that not working for some reason, is to that family member is the determination between, “Yeah. We can keep Dad and Mom at home, or maybe we can’t.” So it is such an emotional, overwhelming time for everybody. And then you enter in family dynamics. So while they’re more crazy.

Sandra Heintz:

Absolutely.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

So having your why right next to you is really important. So thank you for that advice. That’s great.

Sandra Heintz:

Thank you.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

All right. So when you… Oh, oh. I have some dogs barking in the background. When you have a win in life for business, how do you celebrate?

Sandra Heintz:

Well, I’m a family person. So I love to celebrate with my family. And my family goes beyond just my immediate family, it goes to our team. So one of the things that we do, is we celebrate our care team because they’re the true heroes. And I always tell my inside support staff, without them, it doesn’t matter who wants to use our service, we have nothing. And so we want to make sure we walk into their world and celebrate them for what they do, because they are putting aside some of their own life issues and serving others in a vulnerable state.

            And then the other thing we do is, we are a mission-based company, so we give a portion of our profits back to other charities that are life giving, and one of them is Free Wheelchair Mission, they provide wheelchairs around the world. So we give some of our profits to them. And then some of our local community charities to have an impact on our clients and our care team. We want to be that light.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

That’s awesome. Those are great ways to celebrate, especially the giving back and honoring those caregivers. Oh my goodness. They really, they make this whole industry turn, they make it move, because without them, we would, you’re right, we would be nowhere.

Sandra Heintz:

You have to have hands and feet and they provide that. And so know your why and celebrate them.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Absolutely. Great advice. Thank you so much. That’s why we do this show. It’s why we do this. We keep it short, but I think you have been able to pack a lot of great information and a lot of great wisdom into this short period of time we’ve had together. So thank you so much for joining us on the show and for doing this segment. Thank you.

Sandra Heintz:

Thank you, Valerie, for the opportunity.