Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

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

Amy Temperley:

Hi, my name is Amy Temperley. I am the owner of Aging Is Cool. We do cool engaging recreational activities for older adults in residential care sites. We have about 80 different classes that we offer. Right now, all of that is virtual so we can offer those anywhere around the country. And then most recently we, in a joint partnership, with a group called Heart and Soul Care, we launched a website called amightygoodtime.com, where older adults can find activities throughout the country for free. They can search for free on the website, all different types and where people who are senior marketers or who are offering programs for older adults can post those activities. So it’s a one stop shop for older adults to be able to reach things to keep them engaged and for you to be able to reach your audience.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Nice. What a great resource that you’re offering. That is super excellent. We’ll make sure all those websites are listed here with your interview when we put it out there so people can get in touch with you or look for resources in their local area. So that’s awesome.

Amy Temperley:

Thank you.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

We’ll add themselves. Yeah, that’s cool. All right. Well, what is the best thing about serving aging adults?

Amy Temperley:

I always shock myself when I say this. I have been serving older adults for 30 years now, and I have just always been drawn to this population. Their wisdom, their energy, their resilience. I learn constantly, and I think over time have found more that older adults are very kind of go with the flow in a lot of ways, right? They’ve been through a lot of trials in their life, and so when something new comes their way, they’re able to navigate it a little bit better than other folks. And so I just admire that quality. So they’ve always been my friends. I was old before I was old. I always had older friends and I still live that way.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

I think there are a few of us out there who are old souls and we’ve always had an affinity for friends that are older than us or even in our childhood, been really comfortable around older adults or having adults in our lives.

Amy Temperley:

Definitely. I was never a kid person, so this is my audience.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yes, absolutely. I say that. I always said, first of all, I always thought I would never have kids, and then I had triplets, so that’s not the door, but I still don’t like other people’s kids. Does that count?

Amy Temperley:

Probably true. I could understand that.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

No, no kids are great, but I definitely would not say to someone that I am a kid person. I’m not a baby holder. I’m more comfortable around adults and older adults. I love it.

Amy Temperley:

Me too, me too.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

All right. What other successful leaders, organizations, or people have been in your life that you just want to give a shout out to or have meant something to you, whether it’s from a mentorship perspective, maybe your parents, grandparents, or an organization that does really cool things?

Amy Temperley:

Goodness, there’s multiples. When I think of a person, of course, I think of my grandfather who just … That’s probably where my first affinity for older adults came. My early career, I worked in nursing homes and I had a real admiration for Bill Thomas, who created The Eden Alternative. It was the first time I’d seen, and this really dates me because that was a long time ago. It was way back in the late eighties, early nineties, but really taking a creative approach to senior programming and thinking about older adults in a different way, and really focusing on them as adults and not children who needed to be taken care of, but who needed to continue to be productive engaged members of society with a purpose. And I think that’s kind of what our business is built on today and I would attribute it to way back then.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yeah. I would say The Eden Alternative was a huge change in this industry and I mean, there can always be more and better changes, but that was the catalyst for making sure that people are treated with respect and dignity and given activities that they can enjoy later in life. And not just, I guess, making places not as institutional as they once were.

Amy Temperley:

Right.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Even though they still seem that way in some cases, it’s better. It’s better than it was.

Amy Temperley:

It is better than it was. And he’s still doing the work, which I find fascinating and still making some really interesting changes in our industry.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yeah, and I think this whole last year has taught us that we do need change and we do need to think differently about how we provide activities and it’s been tough. Tough for activities directors, tough for people who provide activities in nursing homes. This has been a real challenging year and we hope that we don’t see anything like this again for a really long time.

Amy Temperley:

Fingers crossed.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

That’s right. But at least we’ve learned a few tricks that have helped us keep people engaged and keep people moving and learning and enjoying themselves during the day and not just sitting there.

            So let’s talk about online marketing a little bit. So I would imagine with two websites you guys are doing a lot of online marketing. It’s really hard to network in person still, depending on where you are. Some states are more open than others. In Florida it’s like a free for all, and then I don’t know, and then California is completely locked down. So we have everybody kind of in waves in between how to network. So online marketing has obviously become really important, so what has been your experience?

Amy Temperley:

Early on when we started Aging Is Cool, it was a struggle, and that was five years ago. So getting to older adults, sort of business to consumer, was really, really challenging. What we have found in the last few months since we launched A Mighty Good Time, and especially since COVID began is there’s been a real movement towards online. Increased use of Facebook, increased use of Zoom, YouTube. Videos are key here for older adults. been doing a lot of research on the marketing pieces around that. Facebook ads are working for us in a really, really big way.

            Now admittedly, A Mighty Good Time is bringing something that folks haven’t seen before. It’s free. It’s something people can use to find activities for them, but by doing Facebook ads, we’ve gone from ten of my friends liking the site to over 600 in about 30 days. So we’re getting 20, 24, 25 likes a day or follows, and that surprised me because five years ago I had thought, “Oh my word, I’m never going to be able to get to people.” So I think there’s a real movement of older adults into social media and technologies, and they’re starting to take classes and learn more about how to utilize it because they’ve had to during COVID. They’ve had no choice. So I think it will be a huge way forward for this population.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yes, I believe that, and I also think that given the right tools, whether it’s the phone they’re using or an iPad or a tablet of some kind, they’re willing to learn and they’re willing to engage more online with family and other products and services that they normally wouldn’t have even thought to do. So I think given the opportunity with the right … Making sure they have internet access or whatever they need to make that tool work and making sure they have something they can use and a little help from family and they’re on their way. They’re very resilient in that way. So I think that’s been awesome.

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

Amy Temperley:

Oh, goodness. Really listen to your client base. Take time to stop and actually talk to people and do focus groups and ask them what they really want. We’ve just seen too much over the years of us offering programming, particularly in the activity space, offering things to them that they don’t really want, that don’t really benefit their lives, that aren’t particularly interesting. And when you stop and you say, “What do you really want?” And people say, “We want to be active and engaged.” Okay, I can bring you that. Or, “I want more peace in my life.” Okay, I can bring you that. But really listen to what they’re saying. We have for way too long worked around this population versus actually providing the services to them. We too often go to their caregivers and their families, and in some situations you have to do that, but I think we need to really stop and listen to the people we serve.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

You mean bingo isn’t for everybody?

Amy Temperley:

I hate bingo. No, bingo is not for everybody. And you know what’s funny, if you’ve watched a bingo game anytime, right? Nobody’s talking to each other, so it’s not social, it doesn’t use that much brain power, and it’s not, other than getting a prize, it’s not actually all that much fun.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Right.

Amy Temperley:

It has its moments and bingo will always be with us, but let’s think more creatively about what people really want.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yes, absolutely. Yeah. If you talk during bingo, you are out. You are in trouble. I can’t hear.

Amy Temperley:

That’s right. It’s not a friendly game.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

No, it’s you’re in for the win. So yeah, absolutely not. Yeah, I’m just kidding about bingo. I’m sure there’s still some fun bingo stuff going on, but I would agree. I think things have evolved and you know this way better than I do. Things have evolved tremendously. My hope is that like what we mentioned before, we see the light at the end of the tunnel, we can get back in and for places … But I do think for the future, we have learned that there is a way to engage and have activities without a physical presence of an outside vendor. Just doing the Zoom, doing the videos that are prerecorded with an activities director that’s in-house is a great way to get people moving a little bit and thinking and doing other things.

Amy Temperley:

Definitely.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

So I think these are definitely on the right track, and this is an amazing addition to anybody’s, whether it be nursing home assistants or whatever it is. So let me ask you this, when you have a win in life or business, how do you like to celebrate?

Amy Temperley:

One of my first roles was working in nonprofit agencies. I did social work for a few years and then I did fundraising, and anytime we got a big check, that was the big win, it was just time to go home. So I have this tendency that if I have a big win, my day is over. It’s time to go do something nice for myself. It’s like, all right, success, pat myself on the back, go have a nice meal or a glass of wine and just let the rest of the day go and just end it on the highest note possible.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

I agree with that. When you have a nice win in life or whatever that means to you, it’s time to just call it. That’s it. We’re good today. Tomorrow’s another day. Let’s just go home and eat and have a little something to drink and be done.

Amy Temperley:

Exactly.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Go out on a high note is exactly right. Well, thank you so much for doing this interview, for introducing us to your products and services that you guys offer. We’ll make sure all the links are available under the interview. I know that this has been a really challenging time for activities directors and anything like this, anything that they can put … Any tool they can put in their pocket to have additional options out there is going to be worth it. So thank you so much.

Amy Temperley:

Thank you. Appreciate being here.