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About Karen Lake, RN, Caregiving Consultant and Care Navigator

https://www.health-at-home.ca/

506.478.2060

Ep 11: Senior Care Industry Netcast- Karen Lake, Owner, RN,  Caregiving Consultant & Care Navigator 1
Karen Lake, RN

I proudly work as a professional nurse consultant and care navigator; called to offer this service to families after working in Home Health Care for 20+years.  

I’ve seen the emotional struggles that family members face as they attempt to balance caregiving with the other demands of life; children, career, retirement and illness. And so, I have made it my mission to serve and support family members of an aging loved one in the Fredericton area and beyond. Gathering my years of experience and expertise, I have carefully crafted comprehensive programs that are tailored to meet each family’s specific needs. ​

I have a special passion for supporting, guiding, and directing family members to be the best  they can be in their newfound role, to help them make informed choices, to be prepared and to confidently navigate the complex issues that come with caring for an aging parent or loved one.

Be assured you and your family can rely on the assistance that an experienced, knowledgeable and compassionate professional can bring to what is often a difficult transition and time. 

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 me who you are and what you do.

Karen Lake, RN:

My name is Karen Lake, and I’m a registered nurse here in Fredericton, New Brunswick in Canada. I’m a caregiving consultant. When I started my business in 2016, I gave myself the title care navigator, and I’ve kept that because actually, care navigation has just exploded. So it’s a real rapidly developing field, and so I go by the title care navigator. I assist families to navigate the complex issues that come with caring for a loved one, and I do that through caregiver coaching, and through developing roadmaps for success, and through a monthly Peace of Mind program. So I do those three things because I love to help people who may be stressed, overwhelmed, full of anxiety over their role as a caregiver to feel more calm, and competent, and capable as a caregiver, even though they’re feeling stressed, and overwhelmed, and maybe ready to give up.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Now, you want…

Karen Lake, RN:

Yeah, that’s been my thing.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Definitely. It’s a great title. Everybody can use a coach when it comes with this stuff because there’s no… No one is prepared, so it’s just you can’t be.

Karen Lake, RN:

Right.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

That’s awesome. Okay, so what is the best thing about serving aging adults?

Karen Lake, RN:

What I really enjoy, Valerie, is I think just some of the conversations and the connections that you make when you’re working with older adults. I find they’re often craving it. They’re often lonely or isolated. The current situation doesn’t help matters, but I find that they’re really open and receptive to having a good conversation. So I really love carving out the time to have those really meaningful conversations where you can learn a lot about them, about their past, about their families, and how they want to be cared for in the future.

Karen Lake, RN:

I love working with older adults. It seems that as my business has evolved and I slightly pivoted in the last two years where I tend to be spending most of my time with the children of older adults. Their aging parents are who I ultimately serve and support, but caregivers often is my target, my client now. So I really feel like it’s my passion and my purpose to support them so that they can support their parents and still come out of it in one piece.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yeah. Yes. Absolutely, coming out of it in one piece. That is the… getting through it and knowing you did the best you can possibly do. That is [crosstalk 00:03:27].

Karen Lake, RN:

I call it to survive and thrive.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yes.

Karen Lake, RN:

To maintain your own health to be… have the ability to be a caregiver and to perhaps increase the longevity of your caregiving role so that you can be a caregiver longer. I think with all of those things that that really leads to good outcomes for not only them, but for their aging parents. So family caregivers are often the unsung heroes in our healthcare system, but I see them. I see them.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yes. Okay. We’re going to pivot just a little bit and talk about online marketing because you and I connected through some online marketing.

Karen Lake, RN:

Right.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

I hear from other senior service providers that marketing online can be challenging. It is ever-changing. It can be a little confusing. What are your thoughts, and how do you reach out to folks when you’re marketing, especially right now?

Karen Lake, RN:

Mm-hmm (affirmative). Challenging? Yes. Like most providers, I probably would rather spend more time in my business, like doing my work, seeing people in the community rather than spending time on my business. Initially, I was a little leery of social media marketing. I’m a nurse, so those kinds of things didn’t really come naturally to me. But as the years have gone on, since I’ve been a nurse, an independent practice, I’ve realized that you are your brand, and that is what people are buying from you. So I’ve actually learned to really lean into the role, and I’m really actually enjoying it right now.

Karen Lake, RN:

But when I need to do certain marketing things that I’m not familiar with, I do hire out. I’ve found a great graphic artist who helps me with small things like speaker sheets, or posters for events, or different graphics that I might want to use for different events. So I would say if it’s really out of your wheelhouse, hire out if you can, and I’m realizing that budgets can be tight, so… I know was searching for someone, and I was able to find them.

Karen Lake, RN:

But the other challenge I think sometimes too is that you sometimes wonder if your message is even really landing with people, like I know this morning I did a Facebook Live. When you don’t see anyone pop on, you’re thinking like, “Is anybody out there?” But you just really have to keep showing up. Even though people may not need you today, they might need you tomorrow, or next month, or next year. If you’re always showing up as yourself, as your authentic self, then you’ll be top of mind for them. So I just keep plugging away, and I’ve been just trying to be as consistent as I can in a few different platforms. I try not to overwhelm myself with that. I like to work at a pace that doesn’t feel really overloaded or overwhelmed, but I have been working pretty quietly on a little marketing and rebranding strategy with a partner here in my community while all of this coronavirus and social distancing has been happening.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

A great time to do that.

Karen Lake, RN:

Yeah, yeah. I wasn’t able to see people in the community, families and caregivers in the community, so I thought this would be a really great time to just change things up a bit.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

I totally agree. It’s been a great time for all of us to reevaluate and do a little spring cleaning, or winter cleaning, or wherever you started. Yeah.

Karen Lake, RN:

Yeah.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

I would say one thing that somebody taught me about Facebook Lives, because we’re on video a lot, is that do the Facebook Live for the people who will watch the replay. So if you don’t see anybody show up, that’s okay because like you said, people will watch it on their own time. So always do the live as if you’re doing it for the folks who will watch it later, and that helps tremendously for me, I think, because it’s hard to catch people who are going to sit and watch a Facebook Live at any time of the day. So unless you’re a rock star, or Justin Bieber, or…

Karen Lake, RN:

Sometimes, yeah, people are just logging on because they see you’re live. Yeah, it’s so true, and I think a lot of people watch quietly, especially maybe in the sector that we’re in, dealing with older adults, because it’s full of a lot of emotion. It’s a difficult time. People are generally overwhelmed, maybe a little stressed. I just find that people tend to watch quietly, and many times, I might be out somewhere and someone will say, “Oh, I really enjoyed that video you did,” or, “I really loved that post that you had about gratitude.” So you don’t always know, but people do follow and people do watch. Just because they don’t engage or hit like doesn’t mean that they aren’t following you.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

That’s right. Absolutely.

Karen Lake, RN:

Yeah.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

They’d say you’re everywhere and you didn’t [crosstalk 00:08:46] as anybody knew it.

Karen Lake, RN:

Yes.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yeah.

Karen Lake, RN:

Yeah.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Okay, so now we’re going to pivot back to the wisdom part of this, and that is with senior care, and that is… Most of us have a mentor or someone who’s inspired them in their career professionally, maybe personally. Who are those people for you?

Karen Lake, RN:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Who would you like to give a shout-out to or organizations?

Karen Lake, RN:

Yeah. Well, there were two people that came to mind when I saw that question, and one of them was a local colleague here in Fredericton. I have to shout out to my Canadian friend. Her name is Aimée Foreman, and she works independently as a consultant now as well under the brand Silvermark. She has always been in my circle and always been someone that I would lean in, and listen to, and certainly go to for advice. She and I have gabbed about several different projects because we’re both really passionate about working in this space. She just recently relaunched a product, and she calls it the Sunberry Box. It’s actually a gift subscription box aimed at primarily mothers and grandmothers in an effort to decrease isolation and prevent loneliness. So it’s this beautiful gift box, and it’s called the Sunberry Box.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Nice.

Karen Lake, RN:

I would love to give a shout-out to Aimée because she’s a great person who works really, really hard in our community. So many people tap into her expertise because she’s a real smart cookie.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Good.

Karen Lake, RN:

Yeah, and the other person I would give a shout-out to was somebody that I had the privilege of collaborating with in February. Her name is Karen Tyrell, and she lives in the beautiful community of Coquitlam, British Columbia. If you ever get to go, it’s beautiful. She’s energetic. I have to stress energetic. She’s a dementia consultant, an educator, and an author. She supports those that have Alzheimer’s and other dementias through her business called Personalized Dementia Solutions. She and I collaborated. She happened to be in Fredericton this winter. It was a bit of a rude awakening for her to come to Fredericton in February being from the West Coast, but we had a great presentation that we did collaboratively in our community, and it was great. It was so well-received, and we support each other’s business even from a distance. So yeah.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Very nice.

Karen Lake, RN:

Yeah.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Very nice. Great. Thank you for that. I know those folks will appreciate it too, and we can share this with them.

Karen Lake, RN:

Yes.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

I know all of our shout-outs really appreciate folks recognizing them. It just makes your heart feel good.

Karen Lake, RN:

Yeah, I love that.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yeah. Okay, so what piece of advice would you give to other senior care providers?

Karen Lake, RN:

The first thing that came to me was about connecting. I guess I’m a real connector. Actually, my tagline when I started my business… I don’t know if you can see it on my logo, but it was, “Connecting families with care.” But I’ve always been a real connector. So I guess that’s what my advice would be, would be to connect with other people who do similar and maybe different work than you, different networking events that you can go to whether they’re just in your space or maybe like a chamber event where you can meet different people from different industries and different fields of work, and really just collaborate on projects if you can.

Karen Lake, RN:

There is really more power in numbers, and it can really raise awareness of your brand as well as theirs. So I tend to do a lot of this. Maybe sometimes too much for my own good, so I was really leaning in to the Approved Senior Network because I actually developed a mobile care network of care providers here in the Fredericton area who are all mobile, so we all go to you. So there’s a real… a diverse group of physiotherapy nurses like myself, foot care nurses, a concierge service for seniors, downsizing specialists.

Karen Lake, RN:

So we really try to group together to really raise that awareness because as small businesses, we don’t have large marketing budgets, so we try to collaborate and raise awareness together. Then, I also joined the Canadian Association of Self-Employed Registered Nurses. I actually couldn’t just join. I had to become the Atlantic Director. So yeah, it’s just a way of connecting with nurses all across the country. So really, I think connection is key, and really thinking outside the box, and not just doing something because you think that it might be on trend, but really, something that you’re passionate about and something that really lights your fire. Talk about thinking out of the box. Myself and a colleague here in the community, we actually had a Death Expo where we could openly talk about death, and dying, and how to prepare for that.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Nice.

Karen Lake, RN:

Yeah. It was a huge success last year. We were all set to do it again in April. Of course, it was canceled, so we’ve tentatively postponed for November because we’re doing so well here in New Brunswick. So yeah. So think outside the box. Collaborate when you can. One thing I often say to my clients, especially if they’re siblings that are at odds is, “Remember who you work for. Remember who you do this for. Remember who your client is. What do they need, and how can you serve them?” Because like I said before, you are your brand. People are going to tap into you, or your business, or your service because they see you, so just be you. Be authentic and be present in your community.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Great. Great advice. That’s why I love talking to folks who’ve had some experience and have been around the block for a while because it takes us a long time to develop that kind of wisdom in our business life, in our personal life, and especially in the senior market. Nothing is ever the same. Things change all the time. People are different. The way they handle things are different. I think the connecting piece, that is an excellent piece of advice.

Karen Lake, RN:

Thanks.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Absolutely, you’re right. In bigger numbers, we definitely do better together. Okay, so this is our fun question. When you have a win, maybe it’s in life, or personal, or professional, how do you like to celebrate? We’ve got all kinds of different answers.

Karen Lake, RN:

Ah. Yeah, I’m trying to think back to some of the past videos that I’ve watched. The first thing that came to me, Valerie, was gratitude. I start with gratitude, and I’m so fortunate that I get to do what I do in a community that I love, serving people that are open, and willing to receive, and action-takers. So clients are so appreciative. I find, especially older adults, are so appreciative. They love to lean in to what you have to offer them. So gratitude has been huge for me.

Karen Lake, RN:

I start every day with gratitude, and sometimes I find the more things you find to be grateful for, the more it just comes to you. So I start every day with gratitude, and I have to say it has changed my life. On a nice note, maybe if I had a big win, I might celebrate with a nice meal. Maybe a nice glass of wine with a nice group of people, if we could do that, and actually, here in New Brunswick, we will be able to do that. We’re in a new phase of recovery where we can gather distanced.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yay.

Karen Lake, RN:

But yeah. So yeah. So I’m going to do that on the weekend. I’m going to do that tomorrow, have a little birthday celebration for my niece.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Nice.

Karen Lake, RN:

I’m sure there’ll be a nice glass of wine.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yeah, that’s good. No, yeah. I think we’re coming to a point where we can start here where… I’m in the middle of the United States, and so we weren’t affected nearly as… It’s not been as devastating as it has been on the East and West Coast, but… So yeah. We’re getting to get together slowly, but surely. A little bit at a time. They’re opening things back up, and so yeah. It will be nice to see everybody in person again, even if we’re not hugging on each other right away.

Karen Lake, RN:

Unless you have your mask on. We will be able to do that.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yeah.

Karen Lake, RN:

We will be able to hug, but with our masks on.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yeah.

Karen Lake, RN:

The other thing that I try to do too, it just seems to happen. I never seem to be… not that I’m not satisfied, but I just always seem to want to go in the next step. But if I have a win, I find that I like to build on that, like I like… For example, I mentioned the Death Expo a few minutes ago. It was a huge success last year, so it was almost like automatic. We’re going to do it again, and how can we make it different? How can we make it better? What can we improve? What can we build on? I hosted a Caregiver Retreat last fall, and it was amazing. After I came down from the high of having it all, I was on my calendar. “When can we do it again?” So I find when I have a win, yes, I celebrate it, and I oftentimes look to build on it.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

That’s great. That is the best way to celebrate a win is to go for it again. That’s awesome. Okay. Well, you know what? You have done an amazing job of answering all these questions. I know that our audience is going to love it, and so I appreciate you being on the show. Thank you so much, Karen.

Karen Lake, RN:

Thank you, Valerie. Thanks. It has been fun. Fun on a Friday.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yeah. All right. So that is our show. This is Valerie VanBooven with the Senior Care Industry Netcast, where leaders with three or more years of experience in the senior care industry share their advice. Thank you, Karen Lake, very much, and I’m sure we’ll talk to you again soon.

Karen Lake, RN:

Thank you.