Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

This is Valerie VanBooven with the Senior Care Industry Net Cast, where leaders with three or more years 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.

Bonnie Elliott:

Thank you, Valerie. My name is Bonnie Elliott. I’m the owner of Care Patrol of Central Maryland in Loudoun, Virginia, and we serve Carol Frederick and Washington Counties in Maryland and Loudoun County, Virginia, and we offer a free concierge service that helps families find safe quality senior care for their senior loved one. Sometimes it’s the senior themselves looking for care, that’s okay too. And we provide all of the related resources that go along with that journey. So if they need an elder attorney or a mover, or a senior realtor, financial resources, we help with all of that from start to finish and follow up afterwards.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Awesome. What do you think is the best thing about serving aging adults?

Bonnie Elliott:

Wow. The best thing is everything. Knowing that the senior that we’re helping will thrive physically, mentally, emotionally with safe quality care in a community setting or in-home care, whatever that is and that the family stress is decreased, right? So they’re able to return to their role of the adult child or the spouse or the sibling versus being that authority caregiver and that really benefits both the senior and their family, their loved one.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. It’s not just knowing what your resources are, but also knowing how to use your resources. So teaming up with someone like you helps people, not only find new resources, but also you’re there to guide them on how to best use those resources and which ones make the most sense for their particular situation.

Bonnie Elliott:

Exactly.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Because we can look stuff up on the internet all day, but if we don’t really know how to use those resources wisely or which ones we should even bother with, I mean, there’s so much information out there knowing which resources really fit my situation and what not to really worry about and what to really go for, that’s 90% of the battle right there.

Bonnie Elliott:

Absolutely. Absolutely. We consult, we educate, we advocate. Little known resources like the VA Aid and Attendance Benefit, things like that. We’re constantly helping with all aspects.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yes, I agree. So I know your services are so valuable and I we’ve interviewed a few care patrol folks over the last year or so, and everybody brings, for their local area, really brings to the table a wealth of knowledge and information that you just can’t get anywhere else and advocacy as well. So we love everything you guys do.

Bonnie Elliott:

Thank you.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

So let’s talk a little bit about in your lifetime and in your career, and maybe this is something you’ve been doing for a long time or a second career. There’s probably people, sometimes people mentioned their parents or grandparents, other organizations out there that have really meant a lot to them and it’s maybe even why they got into the business. So who would you like to talk about?

Bonnie Elliott:

Oh my gosh, there’s so many great organizations and people out there. Definitely the Alzheimer’s Association. So the resources they offer are really broad and deep, they’re nationwide, they’re comprehensive. My dad had Alzheimer’s and my stepmother took care of him devotedly. She was by his side for many years. And so, she was just a gem in terms of caregiving. We lived in another state, so we didn’t have to worry as much about dad getting the care that he needed daily, constantly. That journey was heartbreaking as so many have experienced, so it was really good to have her there. And then the Parkinson’s Foundation is another great organization.

            So for several years I taught yoga for students and their care partners. And they inspired me every week when they came in facing the difficulties, the increasing challenges of that journey of Parkinson’s. They were just amazing. And so, the foundation that I worked with, the national capital area here in the DMV and the Washington D.C. area is fabulous. So all those local chapters are out there for everyone nationwide. And my stepfather actually had Parkinson’s and so, my brothers really stepped up to the plate and took awesome care of him, filled in the gaps of what he needed to allow him to stay in assisted living with my mom longer than most, because they were providing that extra level of care, so they were great.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

That’s nice. It’s great when you do have, from your experience, you have other family members and siblings that step up to the plate. We often find that we’re the only one or where we’re the primary person of contact and primary person of care, even if it’s not physical hands-on care and that can be overwhelming. So it’s always nice when siblings jump in. Maybe it’s one parent over here, like you had and another parent over on this side that needed something extra, so it’s always …

Bonnie Elliott:

It takes a village.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

It certainly does, absolutely. It’s not just to raise a kid it’s to help our parents age gracefully. Sometimes it takes all of us to work together, so that’s awesome. Okay, let’s talk a little bit, we’re going to shift gears, we always talk about online marketing. So in the last 11 months, we’re going on almost a year, well we are, I guess, technically at a year, our lovely pandemic experience in our world. And that has really brought some challenges with in-person networking, it’s stopped except for Zoom calls like this. So it’s been really tough to get with our referral sources and to network and to be face-to-face with people that we would normally at least maybe once a month to try to be face-to-face with. So what has been your experience and thoughts about online marketing, especially in the last year?

Bonnie Elliott:

Yeah, I mean, we’re all bombarded with marketing hits every day, right? Now we’re all looking at our computers and that’s the only place that it’s happening it seems like. And so, it is difficult to stand out, so we at Care Patrol are fortunate because we’re a nationwide company and we have the corporate office behind us supporting with creative and innovative ideas and we’re sharing them across offices. We strive to communicate the Care Patrol brand really succinctly and consistently. And so, I really think that simplicity and regularity, that constancy of being in front of people in whatever way you can, whether it’s technology or sending an e-card or reaching out to them on the phone, the old fashioned way, right? So that simplicity and regularity is really important to stay visible.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Stay top of mind.

Bonnie Elliott:

Yes.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Well, make sure and let your colleagues at Care Patrol know that we appreciate everything you do. And we’d love to interview more of you across the country who have some years of experience because every municipality, every State, every County is a little bit different. And it’s always interesting to hear from the local Care Patrol person who is the resource for that area. So make sure you pass that along, show them your video. I know we’ve done several but we love interviewing you guys all across the country.

Bonnie Elliott:

Thank you, thank you.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Go ahead.

Bonnie Elliott:

I’m sorry. I said we’ll put it out there on LinkedIn and Facebook and local networking groups, websites, Facebook [crosstalk 00:08:49].

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

And it’s nice because we do this for anybody, anyone even in Canada. We’ve had Canadian guests, but mostly around the U.S. so it’s always nice to have, because you guys are a nationwide, a suite of folks across the country who people can see their faces and hear me talk to them and get to know you a little bit, because it’s also a trust issue. You want to know who you’re doing business with, right? Especially in the senior care market.

Bonnie Elliott:

Yes.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

So that’s a great way. Yeah, and keeping it simple is good. And I think video like this is really helpful too. It’s a little scary, but when it works well, it does a great job for people getting to know who you are. All right. What piece of advice would you give to other senior care providers?

Bonnie Elliott:

I’d say, as you mentioned earlier, community awareness is just key. Just knowing what resources are out there and knowing them well. So we don’t recommend resources if we don’t know them. We get to talk to folks, look at their website, make sure we’ve heard good feedback or get good feedback once we’ve used them, but we’re not just looking at the Yellow Pages and saying, “Here you go, here’s three home care companies you could access.” We know what they can do and what they can’t do. So really knowing your resources and building those relationships, as you also just mentioned, those trusting relationships with all the senior serving professionals that are out there, your community partners. I mean, as we work together as a team, if we collaborate, we just benefit everyone who’s involved and that we’re helping.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Very true, very true. And that’s why we like to interview folks that have a little bit of experience, because I’d say by year three, if you’ve been around long enough to survive to year three in this business, whether it might not be the same business, but in your market, in the senior care industry, you get to know people and get to know what really good resources are. People you trust, people you’ve had great experiences with, so that’s why we like our veteran senior care advisors via show. All right, my last question. It’s supposed to be a fun one. When you have a winning [inaudible 00:11:14] business, how do you like to celebrate?

Bonnie Elliott:

Well, we feel like we win every day working with seniors and their loved ones in the community, right? But when we’re able to successfully help them transition to a safe quality care environment where they have the chance to thrive, we celebrate by just taking a few moments to pause, to reflect and to acknowledge to ourselves and to our team that we’ve accomplished our mission one more time.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

That’s awesome. Yes, and I know that you guys work as a team and you also work with the family as a team and celebrating the little things and the big things are awesome. So I want to thank you for being on the show. Thank you for taking the time out of your day to talk to us and share your wisdom. And we’ll make sure when your video goes live, that we have your contact information there, so if folks in your area need to reach out, they can. So thank you very much.

Bonnie Elliott:

Oh, you are quite welcome, Valerie. And thank you so much for this opportunity and spreading the word out there. I really appreciate what you do.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

All right. Thank you.