Episode 55 of the Senior Care Industry Netcast is LIVE!

We were fortunate enough to have Gail Weatherill BSN RN CAEd, Dementia Nurse, Advocate and Author, https://www.linkedin.com/in/gail-weatherill-bsn-rn-caed-50147547/, on the show, and she offered some great insight and #advice for other #seniorcare and #healthcare providers.

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About This Episode:

EP 55 Senior Care Industry Netcast: Gail Weatherill, BSN RN CAEd, Dementia Nurse, Advocate and Author 2
Gail Weatherill, BSN RN CAEd, Dementia Nurse, Advocate and Author

Gail Weatherill has been an RN for 38 years and has specialized in helping those who are living with dementia for 12 years. She runs the Facebook Group Alzheimer’s and Dementia Caregivers Support, which has over 37,000 members, as well as her Facebook page The Dementia Nurse.

Those who live with dementia and their caregivers need to learn as much about what their rights are in the health care system as possible. I have been an RN for 38 years and have specialized in helping those who live with dementia and their families for the past 12 years. Caregivers are the experts on their loved ones. There are no doctors or nurses who know caregivers’ loved ones more than they do. Caregivers often feel as if they have to go along with what the doctor recommends, but that’s not the case. If something doesn’t feel right in their gut, they always have the right to say no or seek a second opinion.

Full Transcript:

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

This is Valerie VanBooven with The Senior Care Industry NetCast, where the leaders with three or more years in the senior care industry share their advice. It’s six questions in nine minutes, so let’s get to it.

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

Gail Weatherill:

I’m Gail Weatherill also known as the dementia nurse. I’m a registered nurse and a board-certified Alzheimer’s educator. I educate dementia caregivers through online coaching, webinars, through my books and my blog.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

I bet you do a ton of that coaching because it’s so needed.

Gail Weatherill:

It’s true. And that’s I never have a shortage of people in need.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

That’s true. All right.

What is the best thing about serving aging adults?

Gail Weatherill:

The best thing to me about serving aging adults is that I get a chance to give them back a little bit of what they’ve contributed to our society over their lifetime. Most of the time, the people I encounter are people who’ve worked hard all their life. They’ve raised their families. They’ve been good citizens, community members, they’ve been people who would give you the shirt off their back if you needed it. That just seems to be that generation. And so to be able to honor them by helping them when they really need the help most is the thing that I love the most about working with seniors.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

I love that you said all of that because they have a history and they have a life and they have been mothers and grandmothers and they’re sisters and brothers and all those things.

Gail Weatherill:

Exactly.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

So, yeah, we can’t forget about their stories for sure.

Gail Weatherill:

No, no.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

All right. Let’s talk about online marketing a little bit. We are in a weird place and time right now.

Gail Weatherill:

Yeah, sure.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Probably more prevalent than ever. So I hear from other senior service providers that marketing online can be challenging. It is ever changing. It can be confusing.

What has been your experience or what are your thoughts about online marketing?

Gail Weatherill:

Well, if you think about online marketing as a whole, it’s like trying to get a sip of water from a fire hose. And there’s just so much out there, so many voices saying, “Pick me, pick me. I have the solution to your marketing needs.” And it can just quickly become very overwhelming. What’s worked best for me has been to hone down the voices and pick one or two and one platform to focus on first, to start very small. We all have big dreams and the temptation to start big is great, but mighty oaks grow from a tiny acorn. And so to get that laser focus, for me, that meant starting out with a support group on Facebook for the people that I serve, and that has grown into a whole lot of other opportunities, but it started with one little group and has grown from there. So laser focus, that’s my advice.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

I would agree. You’re right. There’s lots of choices and sticking with one that makes sense for you is the way to grow. You’ll find your audience no matter-

Gail Weatherill:

Exactly.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

… which platform you choose. You’re right. And I also-

Gail Weatherill:

And you can add all the rest later as time goes, but it’s all good.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

I think Facebook groups are also a great place to start. I think we have a lot of folks in the right age group for the services that you provide and others in your care providers, whether it’s their families, their adult children, or the seniors themselves, they are using Facebook an that demographic gets older every day. And that’s okay with us because that’s who we want to reach. So I agree.

Gail Weatherill:

Right. Exactly.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

You did the right thing. Awesome. I love that.

Gail Weatherill:

So far so good. The other thing for Facebook for me was that when I think about the people that I serve are generally women in their 50s to 60s who are at home with a loved one who has dementia, which makes Facebook perfect because they can access it at home. We’re open all night. We’ve got members from around the world, so people can… You go online, there’s going to be somebody there. So online platforms are definitely a good way to go for people.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Super helpful, especially when it comes to support and not having to leave the house, especially right now.

Gail Weatherill:

Precisely, precisely.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Okay. So back to your wisdom about senior care. I’m going to guess that in your career or in your lifetime, there have been organizations or people who’ve really done a great job in your eyes. They’ve either been a mentor or inspiration, or maybe you just think, you know what, they really do a great job.

Who are those people or those organizations?

Gail Weatherill:

Well, the first group I have to say are the families of people who have loved ones with dementia. When I worked in the nursing home, when I’ve done other types of work, I see these families who just love their parents or it’s their spouse or whomever and they’re there through thick and thin. It really is till death do us part and just watching them inspires me. The caregivers in my Facebook group and the people that I talk to in my everyday life inspire me. These are people that are… they keep putting one foot in front of the other when they don’t know how long they’re going to need to take care of their loved one. They don’t know how bad it’s going to get. They don’t know… Well, maybe I won’t have to go through the angry stage or whatever. There’s just so much uncertainty and a tremendous lack of support, whether it’s from family or community, or… I hate to say it, but it’s very true. Our health care system in a lot of ways, these folks are flapping out there in the breeze, but they don’t give up. They don’t quit. They just keep moving on and they get up another day and do it one more day. That inspires me every day. Thank you.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

It’s tough and it’s brave and it’s very compassionate to be able to do that all the time. Never easy to take care of someone who is in especially the middle to late stages of dementia.

Gail Weatherill:

Right. Right.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

It’s rough. So you’re right. Those are the heroes.

Gail Weatherill:

They are.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

The caregivers and the family members. So you’re right. Awesome. Okay.

What piece of advice would you give other senior care providers?

Gail Weatherill:

The biggest piece of advice I hand to people regularly is focus on value first over volume. And it’s always a matter of do I have the cart in front of the horse kind of thing. And what I have consistently found is when I focus on what is the value of what I’m offering, how much difference does this make to my target audience? Is this something that they need or something that they want and how can I pack more value into what I’m offering? And when I do that, the volume comes, but if I start off worrying about volume and saying, “Oh, I only have this many followers.” Or, “I’ve got to get more leads this month.” When we’re coming from that angle, it’s harder to get where you want to go.

Gail Weatherill:

And what I’ve found consistently was when I focus on the value of what I’m offering, what’s this worth to people? Not what in terms of monetary value, but how is this going to improve or contribute to their wellbeing? And that brings the volume when I start there first.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yeah, giving back always-

Gail Weatherill:

Exactly.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

[inaudible 00:10:02] come back to you in tenfold. That’s great advice. Offer more value.

Gail Weatherill:

It’s a beautiful thing.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

It is. It’s awesome. That’s great advice for our senior care providers. Okay. My last question is supposed to be fun. Sometimes people are like, “What?”,

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

When you have a win in life or business, and by win, it could be anything. It could be a high school graduation, a college graduation, a family member celebrating a birthday.

When you have a win in life, how do you like to celebrate?

Gail Weatherill:

Oh my goodness. Well, I gave up drinking and smoking and chasing men. So I have to kind of limit it down a little bit. I think kind of from a business sense when I hear that question, because as a card-carrying workaholic, when I get a win in the mission that I’m on, and I think of it more as a mission I’m on as this is my business. When I get a win there, what I do, and this is, yes, I’m a geek, I’m a nerd. I give myself a few days where I can play with my brain. I love to play on the internet to look at what other industries are doing, to see what’s going on with different ideas, to find new ideas, to look at books, anything, to move away from my normal arena of “work”.

Gail Weatherill:

I’m not looking for stuff about dementia. I’m just looking for stuff about the world. And at the tender age of [inaudible 00:12:05], I’m still fascinated by the world, because as we’ve all learned, if we didn’t know before, it changes every day. So my idea of good clean fun is to have days where I can just float around, read a book, read something online, look up a writer I really enjoy and absolve myself of the guilt of… Because I go there on other days, but on other days I’m going, “Man, I got to get back to work. I got to get back to work.” So my celebration is giving myself two or three days at least that I really don’t care what I’m looking at. If I’m having fun at the time, that’s good enough for me.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

I agree. I don’t know if I can give myself two or three days, but man, just having a couple hours of brainless, thoughtless, exploring the internet or listening to an audio book or watching a podcast or someone that I enjoy that has nothing to do with my business. Just some entertainment. To me, that does exercise your brain a little bit and it lets it rest because you don’t have to do any real big thinking.

Gail Weatherill:

Right. Exactly.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Absolutely. Well, thank you. Thank you for being on the show. Thank you for giving us your wisdom and sharing that with us. We appreciate it. We’ll make sure everybody has your website and all of your information so that if they need help or a caregiver and could use some coaching for themselves. We will-

Gail Weatherill:

Come on by and see me.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

That’s right.

Gail Weatherill:

I’m always open.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Thank you, Gail. I appreciate it.

Gail Weatherill:

Thank you. Best of luck to all.