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Episode 39 of the Senior Care Industry Netcast is live!

We were fortunate enough to have Gina Kendall, EverlightCare.com on our show and she offered some great insight and #advice for other #seniorcare and #healthcare providers.

About This Episode:

Gina Kendall, Owner/Operator

EP 39: The Senior Care Industry Netcast with Gina Kendall, Everlight Care, Fresno 3
Gina Kendall

Gina has over 25 years of work experience serving the aging and the disabled.  Her extensive experience in care and management began as a Social Services Coordinator in skilled nursing facilities.  While working in this capacity, she became aware of the need for, and the importance of, good, quality, home care.  Gina worked with families to keep their loved ones home and avoid a return visit to the hospital.  As she continued her career of service, she began working with the disabled population helping to expand and improve their independence throughout all aspects of life.

This combination of experiences has afforded Gina a unique view of the needs of the aging and the disabled and how to best serve those needs in a home setting.

Gina’s Central Valley roots run deep.  She earned her BA degree from Fresno State in 1993 and has lived and worked in Fresno for the past 20 years.  In addition to raising her family in Fresno, she is actively involved in her local church and is a volunteer for various local community organizations.

“Serving the aged and disabled in my community, making a difference, and helping people live full, safe, and active lives is a great honor.”

Check out the blog post with the #video 📹 and look for more episodes coming soon as we travel the U.S. to find the leaders in #seniorcare to share their insights, experiences, and joy.

If you’d like to be on our show, check out the link here: https://www.seniorcareindustrynetcast.com/netcast

Full Transcript:

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. 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.

Gina Kendall:

Hi, Valerie. Thank you so much for having me today. My name is Gina Kendall. I’m with Everlight Care. We are an in-home care agency here in Fresno, California. We are locally and family-owned and operated. We provide in-home care services for the senior population, but also a younger population who needs us. We provide things such as activities of daily living, bathing, meals, dressing, grooming, and things like that, as well as errands, transportation, doctor’s appointments, light housekeeping. Basically anything that someone needs to stay independent in their home is what we assist them with. We provide care anywhere from one hour to 24 hours a day.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Wow. And you’ve been doing this a long time, right? You’ve been doing this for several years.

Gina Kendall:

Yes. Yes. I have a long background working with senior care. Yeah. Working in senior care.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Okay.

What is the best thing about serving seniors and their families?

Gina Kendall:

So when we get phone calls in our office from, usually it’s family members, sometimes it’s from our actual clients, but when we get those phone calls, a lot of times they’re in a crisis. They are discharging from the hospital today, tomorrow, in a few days. They’re usually very lost and don’t really know where to start. So when we can make that connection with our clients and their families and be that resource, be that person that can help them through this situation and we make that initial connection and we get them started on the process and they feel better and they feel relieved that they have the help and they have someone who knows what’s going on and knows where to go next.

Gina Kendall:

We’re able to connect with our families. That’s, actually, my favorite part of senior care is being able to have that initial conversation, find out what the issues are and be able to give them answers and them be relieved. That’s a big part of working with seniors for me.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yeah. I would agree with you because you don’t get any notice. When you’re discharging from the hospital, it’s like, “Well, she’s going home tomorrow.” “What do you mean she’s going home tomorrow? What do you mean she’s going home tomorrow? I only have these things up. I have to work.” It almost seems like it’s almost always a surprise if you have never worked in this industry, if you’ve never had a loved on who’s been in the hospital or needed care afterwards or rehab or whatever, it’s a shock, isn’t it?

Gina Kendall:

Yes, it is.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

I mean, and so to get on the phone with somebody like you and feel like a thousand pounds was just lifted off your shoulders because somebody out there is going to help is worth a million bucks. I mean, it just…

Gina Kendall:

That’s true. Another aspect of that, aside from those emergencies, is just that all of a sudden, as a family caregiver, you realize that you don’t have the capacity to take care of your loved one, your parent, your spouse, whoever it might be, and because you have a family of your own and a career of your own, and it’s become overwhelming. To get those answers and to get that help is such a a weight lifted off of them. I love connecting with our families that way.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yeah. That is such a nice feeling to know someone else is being helped and relieved in all of this. So I thank you for that. I think that’s the greatest piece of this is that sense of relief. Okay. So I’m going to switch gears for just a second and talk about online marketing. We all know it’s challenging, it’s ever changing, especially right now. We can’t really network in person so much.

What has been your experience or your thoughts about online marketing with home care?

Gina Kendall:

Well, for me, an online presence is very important, especially in this day and age. The challenge is that our clients are usually not so tech savvy when it comes to being on a computer, dealing with online platforms, Google, Facebook, whatever it might be. It’s not generally something that they do or that they’re used to. But it’s usually, many times, much of the time, their children who are doing the research and helping them make those decisions. So as someone who has older parents, I am definitely really big on checking on whatever service I might be researching, looking for. I’m going to go online, look at their website.

Gina Kendall:

I’m going to look for reviews and recommendations. I’m going to look for current reviews and recommendations. It’s very important that your website is user-friendly, that you have current reviews and that people can research that. So I think there definitely needs to be an online presence and it needs to be current and user-friendly. We’re really big on that. The challenge is just making sure that you do have those. I don’t want to look at a review from two years ago. I want to look at a review from this month. So it is very important and we are big on making sure that we’re current.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yeah. I think people discount, as business owners, it’s hard a little bit to get reviews, but we discount the importance of that. But when I’m the consumer, on the other hand, oh my goodness. I’m VRBO, Google, whatever I’m doing.

Gina Kendall:

Everything.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

I even tell people, if there’s a bad review, a smart person will take that into context and read the answer that the business owner gave, because sometimes, without saying too much, you know the person that left the review is just crazy. So good reviews, maybe is even the bad ones, how they’re responded to makes a big difference to me.

Gina Kendall:

It does.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

And having those up-to-date reviews is so important. So you’re right. That’s huge.

Gina Kendall:

It does. We have a dialogue, every review that’s left for us. Luckily I like to say that we only have good reviews, but I always respond because they need to know that we hear.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

That’s nice.

Gina Kendall:

We hear.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

All right, let’s go back to your wisdom with all of the senior care stuff. I would imagine in your life or in your career, there have been other organizations or people who’ve really made a difference for you, or may be an inspiration to you.

Who would you like to talk about?

Gina Kendall:

Gosh, we have such a wonderful senior care professionals community here in Fresno and I feel like we all work very well together with being a resource for each other, making referrals to each other. Because as an in-home care agency, we are case managers. We manage more than just the caregiver part of that. We help them manage a lot of different things, and so I have a lot of resources in our senior care community. So we have great people behind us. So a couple of organizations come to mind. One is a group that I belong to here in the Central Valley called The Aging Network or TAN.

Gina Kendall:

It’s headed up by a wonderful couple named David and Rachel Reed, and they are a wonderful resource in the community. They really put themselves out there with heart and compassion. They also own a placement agency called Assured Senior Living Solutions. I refer to them often and they have been a wonderful support, the two of them, for me, since the beginning. They really have provided a lot of support. The group, The Aging Network, is a great support for the community as a whole and in general. So that’s one. Another one that I would like to highlight is an organization called Valley Caregiver Resource Center and their director. Her name is Michelle DiBuduo. They provide some support and services for family caregivers, and a myriad of things. One is respite care, which we are able to assist them with.

Gina Kendall:

They have an ombudsman program. They provide assistance with Medicare. It’s called the HICAP program. We support them any way that we can. They are a nonprofit. They are run solely on grants and fundraisers and donations, and so we’re really involved with them as well. They’re a wonderful support to our community.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Thank you for giving a shout out to folks. I know they’ll love it and I know your community really will benefit from understanding what other resources are out there. What makes a difference to you as someone who’s been in this industry for a long time will definitely make a positive difference for others. So thank you. All right.

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

Gina Kendall:

Oh gosh, there are so many things. But first and foremost, I would say that for someone, especially if they’re starting out, but all through their entire career as a senior care professional is to always remember what your why is. Why do you do what you do? What is your goal? What is your mission? For me, it’s to take care of our clients, to provide the safest and most independent environment in their home, whether it be at their home that they’ve lived in for 30 years or in a senior care community. That is my goal. That’s been my goal from day one. So I think that, I would say, if you remember that and you lead with that in mind, and you do everything that you can, that you know is the right way, then good things are always going to follow. If you do things with what you believe is right, and the best for your clients that you are serving, you are there serving them, then always good things will follow. So there’s-

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yes. Follow a good moral compass. I mean, follow that.

Gina Kendall:

Right. Do things the right way. I always tell people, I tell my caregivers and I tell my clients, I am a by the book person and I do things the right way. So that’s one thing. Another thing I would say is to have patience because you are dealing with, many times, a very fluid situation from the moment that they call you. Things change on a dime. People have lots of different family members involved that are helping them make those decisions. Sometimes there are family dynamics that aren’t always ideal. You tend to be that lighthouse. You tend to be the person and you are the expert in what you do. When you assess someone and their situation, you can guide them. You can be their guide and their support. They, a lot of times, look to you for answers when they don’t know the answers themselves. So things may change. They may not always go how you think they’re going to go from the day that you go out and meet with them.

Gina Kendall:

So you have to be flexible. You have to be patient. You have to just give them… Just try to-

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Give them a little [inaudible 00:12:12]. Yes. A little room. And those family dynamics. Woo hoo.

Gina Kendall:

Ooh, I know.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

They can change in a minute, can’t they? It’s so-

Gina Kendall:

Yeah. But that’s what we’re there to-

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

That’s right.

Gina Kendall:

… help things be better and help make things easier for them.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yes. Yes. It’s always helpful for the family to have a little bit of a sounding board and to come together in those decision makings with someone who can guide them a little bit. You do end up being much more than a home care provider. Sometimes it’s counselor.

Gina Kendall:

Friend. Confidante.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Care manager. I mean, but that’s what we sign up for when we do this.

Gina Kendall:

Right.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

That’s what we love about this is helping the whole family. Okay. Last question’s supposed to be fun. When you have a win in life, how do you celebrate? By that I mean, it could be graduations. It could be a new baby. It could be a marriage. It could be birthdays.

Personally, professionally, any time, how do you like to celebrate?

Gina Kendall:

Oh gosh. Well, I mean, if we’re talking about professionally, I mean, personally we celebrate in lots of different ways, but if we’re talking about right now we can’t do a whole lot of big things, but professionally with so many ways. There are day-to-day things that are just moments in a day. For instance when we know that a family is happy with us and that our clients are happy with us and they let us know, those are moments in a day and it’s very, very important that we pass those compliments and those kudos on to the people, the individuals that were involved.

Gina Kendall:

I never want to miss an opportunity to let people know when they’ve done a wonderful job. Just funny that that comes up because just this morning, I got word that we received a couple of awards through Home Care Pulse, which is, if anyone in home care knows what that is, organization that supports home care. We got a couple of leader in excellence awards, preferred provider and preferred employer.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Nice.

Gina Kendall:

So we’re very excited about that. We have a caregiver appreciation day next week, where we’re going to provide lunch for all of our caregivers and some little gifts and things like that. Now we have something extra to celebrate and we want to tell each and every one of our caregivers how huge of a part they played in those two wonderful things. So that’s very exciting.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

That is very exciting. Those Home Care Pulse awards, when they come out every year, I just love it. Everybody’s so excited and it’s so nice to get recognized for all the hard work that you put into everything. So congratulations.

Gina Kendall:

I found out, funny enough, because my administrator, she does our Facebook posts and posts pictures and things like that for caregiver’s birthdays, employee of the month and stuff like that.,And I found out because I saw it on Facebook this morning. So I called her. I’m like, “Oh, we got that. That’s wonderful.”

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yay! You found out in the news.

Gina Kendall:

Yeah.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Well, that’s good, though. That’s okay. That’s a happy thing to find out anyway. So no matter how you find it out.

Gina Kendall:

Right.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

But yeah, that’s awesome. Good. Okay. Well, that’s great. So thank you. I want to thank you for doing this, for helping us understand more about your business, sharing your wisdom and sharing those resources and those organizations that you know do a great job out there. I appreciate it and I know that everybody who watches this will appreciate it too. So thank you.

Gina Kendall:

Absolutely. Thank you so much for having me and thank you for all you do for our community as well.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

All right. Thank you.