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EP 157 SCI Netcast: Gabriel De Armas, Home Instead Senior Care Miami

EP 157 SCI Netcast: Gabriel De Armas, Home Instead Senior Care Miami- Learn more about Gabriel and the Home Instead Miami Philosophy
EP 157 SCI Netcast: Gabriel De Armas, Home Instead Senior Care Miami- Learn more about Gabriel and the Home Instead Miami Philosophy
EP 157 SCI Netcast: Gabriel De Armas, Home Instead Senior Care Miami- Learn more about Gabriel and the Home Instead Miami Philosophy

Connect with Gabriel De Armas

 

Connect with Approved Senior Network

Main Website: https://www.ASNMarketingPlan.com

Be a Guest on Our Show: https://www.seniorcareindustrynetcast.com/netcast

About Valerie VanBooven RN BSN: https://www.asnmarketingplan.com/about-us/

Podcast Website: https://seniorcareindustrypodcast.buzzsprout.com/

Senior Care Industry Netcast Interview with Gabriel De Armas, Home Instead Senior Care, Miami

 

Gabriel De Armas, Jr., Director of Business & Community Development

Gabriel grew up as part of a big family that engrained in him love for his elders and the notion that giving back is not an obligation but a privilege. Always with a broad smile and a caring demeanor, Gabriel is dedicated to improving the lives of all his clients and works towards building a company culture of goodwill and service above self. Thanks to Gabriel’s efforts the “Be a Santa to a Senior” non-profit program has become a fixture for the past ten years at the Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Holiday Party. He is also active on the local committee of the Alzheimer’s Association of South Florida and the Board of Directors of the Rotary Club of South Miami. “The look of surprise on a senior’s face when they receive an unexpected gift with their name on it continues to inspire.” Gabriel is married and has two young boys.
 

 

When Asked What is the best thing about serving aging adults:

 
“Aside from the knowledge and the wisdom that they share, it’s just an overall good feeling. We come from a large family, so it’s natural for both my sister and I. My mom had me at 45 years old and she’s 90 now. So she’s still dropping dimes and lessons on us.”

What Organization Deserves a Shout Out?

“The Gentleman’s Journal is an organization here founded in Miami and it is family first business second, honor both profit and be your brother’s keeper. So they focus on being a good man at home and being a good entrepreneur and being a good representative for your community.”

Hot Marketing Tip/Advice:

“Don’t be afraid to ask for the business. Don’t be afraid. If you’re talking to a social worker, you’re talking to a discharge planner. It’s great that they know you. It’s great that they know you have a couple of kids. They know you’re good people, you know a little bit about their personal life. But don’t be afraid to say to them, “Hey look, you know me well enough, is there anyone on your floor or anyone on that roster that you think could benefit from some home care at home?” And you’ll be surprised what that’s going to do for your business.”

Hot Marketing Tip/ Advice 2:

“We even offer a discharge service where we’ll pick you up from the hospital and we’ll bring you home. We’ll pick up your prescription. And we’ll go do some groceries. We’ll clean out your refrigerator and wash some clothes and that’ll be a one time thing. And that will lead eventually to them saying, “Hey, I had a good first time experience with Home Instead. I’m going to call them again when I need you.”

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 share their advice. So let’s get to it. In a few sentences, tell us who you are and what you do.

Gabriel De Armas:

My name is Gabriel De Armas, I’m part of family owned and operated, Home Instead here in Miami. I do the business development and the community outreach.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Awesome. You need all of that. The business development and the community outreach is number one, so that’s awesome. What is the best thing about serving aging adults?

Gabriel De Armas:

Aside from the knowledge and the wisdom that they share, it’s just an overall good feeling. We come from a large family, so it’s natural for both my sister and I. My mom had me at 45 years old and she’s 90 now. So she’s still dropping dimes and lessons on us.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yep, absolutely, I’m sure. And I think that if we sit and just listen for a while to our seniors, our parents, our grandparents, we can learn a lot. They’ve been through a lot in their years and we can learn a lot about being tough, especially if they’re 95.

Gabriel De Armas:

And being present. There weren’t all those distractions like we have now.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

That’s right. What other successful leaders or organizations in your area, and you’re in Miami, right? You’re a Miami location. There’s probably organizations in that area or nationwide or other leaders in your area that have really inspired you. And you think, “Man, these people just do a great job.” Who would you like to talk about?

Gabriel De Armas:

Gosh, early on, I joined the Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce. I did that for a very long time, still a member, but no longer involved on the board or chairing any events. I am still a South Miami Rotarian, which is a nationwide worldwide organization. As a matter of fact, before this call, I just got off a Zoom meeting for Rotary. And Rotary, really set kind of like a leadership path for me along with the Chamber. And then lastly, I would say the Gentleman’s Journal. The Gentleman’s Journal is an organization here founded in Miami and it is family first business second, honor both profit and be your brother’s keeper. So they focus on being a good man at home and being a good entrepreneur and being a good representative for your community.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Nice. All three very reputable organizations that have done so much for so many. And I know Rotary, the population of Rotary in some areas is getting older. We need more people, more young people to get involved with Rotary and to really step up. It’s a great learning experience, like you said, and we need some younger skin in the game for Rotary.

Gabriel De Armas:

And that’s really where the Gentleman’s Journal has kind of allowed for some of those younger folks that may not really even know what Rotary is. And the Journal does a lot of kind of reflective, really build on oneself and learning from other men. And their model is really like iron, sharp as iron. And if you really are not afraid to get uncomfortable, then we’re there to forge better men.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Nice. Very nice. I’m glad you brought that up. Very nice organizations.

Gabriel De Armas:

Yeah, thank you.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

All right. I would imagine, now you’re in Florida, so we know Florida has been wide open for a long time, as far as our pandemic in the last two years. But marketing strategies have still had to change a little bit. I know there are probably facilities in areas where you could just walk in freely before, and now you kind of got to say, “Well, wait a minute.” So how have things changed for you as far as marketing the last 18 to 24 months?

Gabriel De Armas:

Gosh, in the very beginning, it was the unknown. We know a whole lot more, but it’s still kind of touch and go, not as bad. But in the very, very beginning, Valerie, the hospitals were closed, they were off limits. I was still able to get in because of the relationships that I have. And I remember maybe in the first three months when things were really bad, I would still go in and drop things off at the Social Work Department or at certain nursing stations. And I’ll never forget a good friend of mine, they’re a social worker, said, “Gabe, what are you doing here?” And I said to her, “What are you doing here? We have the same mission. You are working, right?” I said, “Well, I’m serving also.” So since then, what I do in order to change, I’ve hired someone offshore.

Gabriel De Armas:

I use a company called, Get Staffed Up. I have a wonderful assistant who helps me do a lot of my search engine optimization. She helps me with my marketing, editing videos. And she, as a matter of fact, her anniversary is this month. So it’s a one year anniversary for her and she’s been great, so that’s helped us to be able to continue to try to grow our workforce, because that’s been a challenge for everybody across the board. All service industries are having a hard time with their workforce. And so that was a move that my sister and I made and we thank Get Staffed Up for that, and they’re wonderful. So if anybody needs a plug, let me know, I’d love to be able to help them with that.

Gabriel De Armas:

And then continue to make those touches, make those calls. It’s important too, if you have those relationships and build those relationships, send a text, send an email, have things delivered to those organizations, so you don’t have to personally go, but you’re still making that contact. A good example is every Valentine’s Day, we deliver chocolate covered strawberries. We’ve been doing that for, I don’t know, 15 years. So I just placed the order. I just got the bill right before I opened your email. I saw the bill. I was like, “Oh God, everything’s going up, even chocolate strawberries.”

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yeah. That’s definitely the truth. There is no doubt about it that everything’s gone up in price a little bit this year. But, all of that is great. Thank you for sharing that, great wisdom. You can’t stop. You can’t stop marketing. You can’t stop reaching out. Even if your state is completely closed down. We keep saying, “Well, we hope that’ll change in a minute,” but then something else happens [crosstalk 00:07:12].

Gabriel De Armas:

Even early on, when they were doing support your local heroes, we would do things where we would do a small parade throughout the hospital and they would come outside and I’d have Home Instead flags on my vehicle and blowing the horn. That was the first time I got to see a lot of my friends that are working inside the hospital because it’s kind of like they were in a bunker. So whatever it is that you can do to show appreciation, I certainly am a big advocate for that.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

And they don’t want you to get sick either. You’re walking into the hotbed of insanity right there. So they don’t want you to get sick and they don’t want anybody that doesn’t have to be sick to be sick. So anyway, our hospital staff are overwhelmed. Our home care staff are definitely overwhelmed at times. And it’s affected us in so many different ways. But I would say, that when you have an attitude like yours and you are still reaching out, just doing the best you can, looking for creative alternatives to staff, hiring offshore for online kind of stuff, doing all those things, you just got to keep moving. Eventually this will wear itself out. We just got to-

Gabriel De Armas:

You’re growing. When you find yourself in a position where you say, “Oh my God, what are we going to do?” You figure it out. And we’ve been very fortunate. We even started doing our own training. We never used to do that. Now we’re certifying our own home health aides. So you pivot and you move.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yep. And you just got to do what you can do. And people will say, “Well, how did you get through all that?” You did what you had to do to make it through. And especially, you’ve been in this business a really long time. So you’ve seen other issues come up over the years. Maybe not quite this big, but you’ve been through other things, you’ve been through staffing issues. You’ve been through it all. So you know that there’s a break in the cloud somewhere over there.

Gabriel De Armas:

Sure. I think the worst prior to COVID was probably the recession 2007, 2008, 2009. But nothing like this.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

I think I recall, we’ve been around for a long time too. And I think I recall that when that recession happened, it seemed like it really hit our business a year or two after it hit everybody else, it kind of trickled down a little bit. We could see that the home care agencies who, some of them just weren’t going to make it. Some of them were either brand new or didn’t have the right funding or were struggling to begin with and they just weren’t going to make it. And we could see that as time went on. But yep, you live through a lot of things if you can stick it out. So what piece of advice would you give to other senior care providers? You’ve already given a lot.

Gabriel De Armas:

Gosh, ask for help. And I think me personally, I struggled asking for help and it’s good to be able to talk to other organizations that are in the same field. There are organizations that you’re able to join, where you can say, “Hey, how did you get through this?” Or, “What are you doing differently?” If you’re part of a building like ours, where you have 9 or 10 floors, do a social hour. Let the people in your own building know that you are present and that you’re there. And that you’re able to help them in navigating some really sticky stuff, because that’s what we do. We help people through their life events. And it’s important that you get that word out. It’s important that people know that you exist. Talk to the person in your elevator while you’re on your way up. You never know where you fit.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

That’s right. You never know where a chance conversation could turn into business or a good relationship or whatever. So yep, helping others is definitely the way to go here. Asking for help, but then in return helping someone else, it always-

Gabriel De Armas:

And also too, Valerie, it took me a few years to figure this one out. Don’t be afraid to ask for the business. Don’t be afraid. If you’re talking to a social worker, you’re talking to a discharge planner. It’s great that they know you. It’s great that they know you have a couple of kids. They know you’re good people, you know a little bit about their personal life. But don’t be afraid to say to them, “Hey look, you know me well enough, is there anyone on your floor or anyone on that roster that you think could benefit from some home care at home?” And you’ll be surprised what that’s going to do for your business.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yes, absolutely. I was a discharge planner many, many years ago as a nurse, not a social worker, but I was a discharge planner. And when you’re overwhelmed and you’re trying to get people out the door, when someone says that to you, it’s like, “Yes, come here with me for a second. Let me show you what I got.” And it just takes that, “Is there anybody that we can help get home today?” “Yes, there is. Please help them get home today.” Because you’re under the gun to get people discharged, which sounds horrifying. But it’s the way things work-

Gabriel De Armas:

And you also didn’t have time to be chatty. You’ve got work to do. So, if someone is coming up to you and offering solutions, you’re going to think about it because you need to get that person out and you might need the bed for someone else. We even offer a discharge service where we’ll pick you up from the hospital and we’ll bring you home. We’ll pick up your prescription. And we’ll go do some groceries. We’ll clean out your refrigerator and wash some clothes and that’ll be a one time thing. And that will lead eventually to them saying, “Hey, I had a good first time experience with Home Instead. I’m going to call them again when I need you.”

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

That’s a great tip right there. Discharge to home. How do you like to celebrate with your staff? Great week, great month. Great year. How do you guys celebrate?

Gabriel De Armas:

Well, one thing that we do is if it’s your birthday, you get the day off, you get a paid day here, if you’re part of this team. As far as our caregivers, if we call you on a Sunday and you bail us out, you’re getting a gift card in the mail. And one of the things that we do that is pretty cool is when they first join the family, they have a little sheet of paper that asks them specific questions. Where do they like to go shopping? What’s the favorite department store? Where do they do their groceries? Where do they fill up their car? What’s your favorite color? Do you have a favorite fragrance? If you can go anywhere, where would you go? Things like that.

Gabriel De Armas:

And then when you do get one of these amazing caregivers that bails you out on a Sunday at 3:00 PM, or you get a night shift, someone who actually will do an overnight for you on a whim because a caregiver got sick or a car broke down, you’re able to go back to that file and look and send something personalized. And half the time, most of the time, they don’t remember that they filled that out. So they’re like, “How did you know?”

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

That is super.

Gabriel De Armas:

Yeah, that’s pretty cool.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yeah. That’s a good retention strategy, too. Absolutely rewarding people that go the extra mile that help you. People are always asking, “What’s a great retention strategy?” Being present for these folks and understanding them and their lifestyle and what they need. It is about recognition, but if you get down to it, they need to feed their families. And they need that peace of mind that they’ve got enough hours. So helping them is incredibly important.

Gabriel De Armas:

I got a good one for the caregivers that have children. We’ve been doing this one for years. We order complete school supplies. So when they come to get their checks, or we ask them to come and get their checks, for the most part, if they have two or three kids, we give each child a set for school supplies, and that comes with everything that they could possibly need for the school year.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

That is amazing. Because I have three children, oh they’re 14, 15 now. I’d say it’s $100 per kid here almost, just about $100 dollars per kid if you buy everything that’s on those lists. And they frankly, don’t use everything on the list, but the kids-

Gabriel De Armas:

No, they don’t [crosstalk 00:16:05]. This company prepackages everything.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

That’s perfect.

Gabriel De Armas:

They send you the bundle and then you just…

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Hand it out and that’s definitely more economical. I know we have the opportunity to order those and that is a better way to go. So, that’s amazing. Can you imagine how much money you have saved those families over the years in school supplies alone? Oh my goodness.

Gabriel De Armas:

Yeah. I don’t think we’ve ever thought of that, but just the joy alone, it’s so nice, because it’s unexpected.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yes-

Gabriel De Armas:

Except for the ones that been working us for a while, they’ll always ask, “Are we getting school supplies again this year?”

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Well, you know what, if you have somebody that’s working for you that long, that they ask year after year, then you know you’ve done something right. So, that’s awesome. All right, well, I want to thank you for sharing so much wisdom and joy. You guys do an amazing job, not only with your community, but also with your caregivers. So thank you for that. I appreciate that.

Gabriel De Armas:

Thank you for the opportunity.

 

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN

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