Episode 54 of the Senior Care Industry Netcast is LIVE!

We were fortunate enough to have Kathy Uveges, Co-Owner of Seniors Helping Seniors in Raleigh/ Wake Forest, NC, 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 54: Senior Care Industry Netcast with Kathy Uveges, Owner, Seniors Helping Seniors Raleigh/Wake Forest, NC 2
Kathy Uveges, Co-Owner, Seniors Helping Seniors

At Seniors Helping Seniors® North & East Raleigh, we have a passion for meeting the needs of seniors in a way that provides both dignity and a sense of camaraderie. Our owner(s) Kathy Uveges, Rich Uveges firmly believe we can do that through serving seniors in our community, which includes: Wake Forest, Rolesville, Raleigh, and surrounding areas.

Kathy and Rich Uveges Owners Kathy and Rich live in Wake Forest, NC with their four children, two dogs, and a cat. They have traveled extensively, living in northern Virginia, southern California, central Virginia and Zagreb, Croatia.

Rich was born and raised in Binghamton, New York and graduated from the State University of New York at Brockport with a Chemistry degree. Directly after graduating, he purchased his parents dry cleaning business upon their retirement and ran the day-to-day operations for about 5 years before deciding to sell to pursue a career in the Pharmaceutical industry. After several roles in this field, his expertise in senior management became the catapult for opportunities with different companies which strengthened his skill sets to manage at an optimal level. He currently works as an outside consultant with Pharmaceutical companies to standardize and improve their quality control process which is regulated by the FDA. This has allowed a much sought after work-life balance for Rich and his family.

Kathy was born and raised in Roanoke, Virginia and attended Radford University graduating with a degree in Chemistry. She also started out as a Chemist before holding several management roles in the Quality departments of various Pharmaceutical companies. She took several years off to be the caregiver of her four children and their extremely active household. She returned to work three years ago as a teacher’s assistant where she excelled in a variety of duties under the educational umbrella. Kathy has also been an active volunteer for many years; as Vice President of Fund Raising, President of the PTA and the Teacher’s Assistant representative for Rolesville Elementary School. In 2008 Kathy’s mother lost her long battle with cancer in which Kathy had been by her side as a confidant, a daughter and a friend. Again tragedy struck in 2009 where Kathy’s father was diagnosed with a kidney disease spiraling him into kidney failure. Within that same year Kathy was a match and became the kidney donor to her father who passionately lives a full and healthy life. This quick started Kathy’s interest in health and fitness where she is an avid amateur athlete and has completed triathlons, marathons, and half-marathons.

Their interest in the senior care area is probably a direct result of participating in the care of our elderly relatives. Kathy’s maternal grandmother recently passed away at age 98 and lived in her own home until she was 94. Kathy was directly involved in the decision to move her to an assisted living situation and if the at home care services were available then the move may have been postponed longer. Kathy’s paternal grandmother is 90 and is now starting to reach the point of needing some help and company during the day. Rich’s dad is 85 and would have been a great candidate as an employee a few years ago, and is now becoming a candidate for some companion care. Seniors Helping Seniors® would be ideal for him as he wants no part of being babied but does miss companionship from his peer group that he lost when he moved to North Carolina.

Seniors Helping Seniors® in-home services matches seniors who want to provide help with seniors who are looking for help. We started in 1998 with a simple concept that seniors can help each other age better and that those who give and those who receive benefit equally. Since 1998, we have grown from our first match to working with hundreds of helpers and clients. We’ve continued to grow geographically. We continue to expand the training for our helpers. And we’ve added services in response to the needs of our clients.

Full Transcript:

Valerie Vanbooven:

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. So, let’s get to it.

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

Kathy Uveges:

Thank you, Valerie, for having me on the show today. My name is Kathy Uveges, and I’m the owner of Seniors Helping Seniors in Raleigh, North Carolina. We offer nonmedical senior home care in a very unique way. We specialize in hiring active older adults who help their fellow seniors in our community, hence the name Seniors Helping Seniors. And really, what I feel sets us apart is our goal is to match that caregiver and client, and they have like-minded interests. They foster a real trusting relationship, and it allows that senior to keep their independence and dignity, which is what we’re all looking for.

Kathy Uveges:

I think one of the other important things is it allows peace of mind for their families because they know that their loved one’s being taken care of. Something my husband and I were playing around with, and I think I like it, is we coined the phrase win-win-win. The client wins because they get to keep their independence. The caregiver wins because they’re getting meaning in their life by providing this care. And then the family members get peace of mind.

Valerie Vanbooven:

I love this model. I love the Seniors Helping Seniors model. You know what? It’s caregivers are brave and great all the way around. But when you have someone who is sort of of your age group, or at least remembers the same things you do, the same TV shows-

Kathy Uveges:

Correct.

Valerie Vanbooven:

… the books that you read, the times in history that were meaningful to all of us, when you have somebody that you can share, swap stories with, that is really important. I think it’s a lot more fun when you have somebody like that in your life.

Kathy Uveges:

It’s like an instant connection. Those barriers kind of come down when they meet each other, and there’s just something really special and unique about it.

Valerie Vanbooven:

Yeah. I love this model so much. All right.

Well, what is the best thing about serving seniors and their families, cause you kind of serve both?

Kathy Uveges:

Yeah, absolutely. So number one, it’s just a very rewarding field that we’re in to be able to help people. I love finding solutions to families’ issues and improving people’s quality of life. Because that’s what this is all about, is improving their quality of life. Ways I feel that and get that is the thank you notes, emails, phone calls letting me know how wonderful one of the caregivers is. Mom actually got up and got dressed today because Sherry was coming. So, it’s just those little things that you get that gratitude back. I feel like that, yes, we’re giving, but we’re receiving so much more in the process. It comes full circle.

Valerie Vanbooven:

Yeah, absolutely. I like what you just said about the little things like mom got up and got dressed today because her caregiver’s coming. Absolutely. I mean, I’m sure that these folks, I know they look forward to these visits. I know they do. That in of itself makes your heart happy that they’re looking forward to seeing this person who’s becoming their friend, and their companion, and all those other things.

Kathy Uveges:

Yes, yes.

Valerie Vanbooven:

So, very nice. All right. I’m going to switch gears for just a second and talk about online marketing, because I know it’s challenging, and I know it can be confusing and ever-changing. And especially right now in our world, we have a situation where it’s very hard to visit in person with our referral sources and with other providers out there.

So, how has online marketing affected your business, or what has been your experience with online marketing?

Kathy Uveges:

Well, so when I first started, it was very challenging. I mean, there’s so much out there. Lots of people are offering it, and so you’re not sure where to turn. I feel very happy that I found you and your team because I really …

Valerie Vanbooven:

Oh, thanks.

Kathy Uveges:

It’s elevated our online presence. It allows valuable content to be put across platforms. It allows us to do personal content about what’s going on in our community, which I’d love to be able to tell the good stories. I think it’s always hard to always have something fresh and new to say. I think that’s where you really help keep me honest and keep me on track. So, it’s been a huge help for me.

Valerie Vanbooven:

Well, I thank you for that. And it really is hard, whether you’re doing it yourself, or you hire it out, or you outsource a little bit. But, the thing that I think is important about what you do, and I wish all of our clients did this, and I think everybody should learn a lesson from, is you haven’t let a situation where a lot of people have said, “Well, I can’t get out to see my referral sources,” you haven’t stopped you. You haven’t stopped seeing your clients through the window. And whether we’re helping you …

Valerie Vanbooven:

I mean, you’ve sent … The things I love are like our clients send in pictures. You’ve sent in pictures of your window visits that you did a while back. We created a little … I don’t remember. It was a montage, a little video.

Kathy Uveges:

Video, yeah.

Valerie Vanbooven:

With just kind of just music, no words, but just showed all the things that you did, and you sent in some words. We are so happy to put that little video, which doesn’t take very long, together to help showcase the commitment and the passion you have for these clients. So when you participate a little bit, and then we can help out with a little detail stuff, it makes for a really nice showcase of to show your community how much you care. So, I think that no matter what you do, if you do outsource your online marketing, I really believe that some of it has to come from you. You really do have to show up here.

Kathy Uveges:

Well, because it has to be … Not every agency’s the same. Not every territory’s the same, so it’s unique. You just help put it in a pretty package with a nice bow.

Valerie Vanbooven:

Yeah, that’s true.

Kathy Uveges:

So, Thank you.

Valerie Vanbooven:

Yeah, but we love that. I mean, it’s a joy to see … Some people do care packages for the staff at the assisted living facility, or whatever it is they’re doing, to just say, “Hey, we’re still here. We still love you. And we still just want to make sure you guys know we’re thinking about you.” It doesn’t have to be a big deal, but to show your … to take pictures and just show your community that you’re still here and that this is what you’re doing. It really does help. So, I like the participation and engagement from the home care agency or whatever senior service you provide with your social media is really important, so thank you for doing that because people want to read your stuff. It’s less important about what we do. It’s really more important about what you have to say because people are like … Because it’s your community. It’s your people. They know who you are right now.

Kathy Uveges:

Yeah, yeah, they know you.

Valerie Vanbooven:

So anyway, so we’ll go on to other stuff. But, you guys do a great job. So, let’s talk about successful leaders and organizations. I would imagine in your life there have been successful leaders or organizations that are just doing a great job.

Is there anybody you would like to give a shout-out to that are just doing a wonderful job in your community?

Kathy Uveges:

Well, I have a couple. So number one, Aging Life Care Specialists in Raleigh. I mean, there’s too many of them to share. But by far, those people are amazing. They help families get clarity on their situations, and they bring a plethora of guidance and resources that you just can’t find anywhere else. I mean, they are equipped with … They’re like in the center, and they have all the resources that a client would need. I can’t thank them enough for the work that they do and helping families. So, Aging Life Care Specialists are definitely number one.

Kathy Uveges:

Second is we have a senior center here in Wake Forest. It’s called the Northern Wake Senior Center. They have totally changed the way they’re offering classes. Everything is virtual.

Valerie Vanbooven:

Nice.

Kathy Uveges:

Every single day they do a virtual video. They have guests. They have just not lost momentum. They’re reaching all of those participants. They’re having food drives and bake sales, I mean, whatever it is that they can do. They’re just so present in the community right now, and it’s just so refreshing to just see what a difference they make.

Valerie Vanbooven:

Wow. That is so good. The folks that have taken the opportunity … I know this has all been challenging, but to take the opportunity to pivot, and to go virtual, and figure it out, it’s not easy, but it is so rewarding to see that people still are engaging and still are moving. This didn’t stop anybody.

Kathy Uveges:

No.

Valerie Vanbooven:

The human spirit is alive.

Kathy Uveges:

And the older folks are still … They’re figuring out how to do Zoom. The figuring out how do I do yoga with Zoom. So, they’re learning. I mean, so I just love to see that they’re able to still be present and engaged in these activities, because it’s about them.

Valerie Vanbooven:

Yes. It is. We have underestimated the power of the senior, I think, because they really are getting on Zoom.

Kathy Uveges:

Yes, they are.

Valerie Vanbooven:

And they’re getting on YouTube, and they’re watching videos, and they’re interacting-

Kathy Uveges:

Yes.

Valerie Vanbooven:

… on Facebook lives, and they’re doing all those things. So, It’s been a really, really cool experience.

Kathy Uveges:

Yeah, it is. I agree.

Valerie Vanbooven:

Anybody else?

Kathy Uveges:

Yeah. Those are my two.

Valerie Vanbooven:

Those are totally awesome organizations. I know that aging life care managers were called [crosstalk 00:10:30]-

Kathy Uveges:

Geriatric care managers.

Valerie Vanbooven:

… Geriatric care managers for a long time, and they do deserve all of our thanks because they’re amazing folks who they take on a lot. They’re more like counselors or therapists a lot of times.

Kathy Uveges:

Well, it is a piece of what they’re doing.

Valerie Vanbooven:

Exactly. Exactly. All right.

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

Kathy Uveges:

Let’s see. Well, at least right now for me, and I think in our home care industry as a whole, is to always be hiring care providers. Always. Just don’t stop. I think that you never sacrifice quality over quantity. That’s just a big lesson that I think a lot of us learned the hard way is that you … Quality is so much more important.

Kathy Uveges:

And also to have your processes in place before you grow. Have a process. Grow steadily. It’ll come. You have to have a passion for helping people. If you don’t have the passion, you’re in the wrong business. And also to be pragmatic that you can’t help every family. Every phone call that you get, you can’t help them, but be able to provide a resource to them and help navigate them somewhere they can get help. I think that that pays off in the long run.

Valerie Vanbooven:

Absolutely. Those are great pieces of advice. I think we rushed forward in a little bit sometimes. But having processes in place, that’s a good one. My heavens. Being organized and having those processes in place, there is … That’s a great piece of advice because I can … And I can attest to that.

Valerie Vanbooven:

A lot of us as entrepreneurs, we have two or three key people, and we kind of like, “Oh, we know how to do it.” No, no, no.

Kathy Uveges:

Yes.

Valerie Vanbooven:

You really need to write it down because. If you get hit by a bus tomorrow, who’s going to know how that-

Kathy Uveges:

Who’s going to take over?

Valerie Vanbooven:

Yeah. Who’s going to know how that really works? And that’s taken me a long time to learn as an entrepreneur, too. Every process is written down. It seems like a tedious thing, but it really is something that’s important.

Kathy Uveges:

And then you can delegate that when needed.

Valerie Vanbooven:

Yep. That’s a great piece of advice. When you have a win in life, and that could mean anything, a client is happy, or there’s a graduation, or there’s a wedding in the family, or whatever,

How do you like to celebrate?

Kathy Uveges:

On a personal level, just celebrating with friends, like getting together with friends and just sharing a meal, a drink, which has been really hard lately to be able to do that. I mean, that’s on a personal level. On a professional level, again, small things, sending a thank you note to a caregiver for a compliment that a client or family gave them, picking up the phone and calling them to share the good news that I got about that situation. But, even my favorite is getting the whole team together and just their … My success is their success because they are the frontline. They are the heroes in all of this. They’re providing that great quality care. So celebrating as a team, that success as a team, is really important to me, and it’s been a struggle to not be able to do that very well during COVID.

Valerie Vanbooven:

Yeah, it is. We’ve all kind of suffered with not being able to … I mean, we could now maybe a little bit, but not having group lunches. Our team group, we would go out once a month. We try to get together, have a group lunch, just be work family and not talk necessarily that much business. But, it’s hard. You can’t do that right now, and it’s hard to … So, finding those little ways, though, to celebrate the caregivers, they’re so brave, and they’ve done so much good for folks that have been isolated and just … So, definitely celebrating caregivers, I think, whatever way you can do that right now. I think [crosstalk 00:14:43].

Kathy Uveges:

Yeah. I mean, just they’re so vital, and so any … That’s even a piece of advice to other care providers is that you have to make sure that you take care of your people. I mean, you just have to show appreciation for their dedication and the love that they give every day to clients.

Valerie Vanbooven:

Absolutely. Yes. I think that longevity and the staying power, if you want caregivers to stay with you … Is it about the money? Well, yeah, sometimes. But more often than not, it’s about how they’re treated as a human and how they’re appreciated goes so far with these caregivers.

Kathy Uveges:

Agreed. Agreed.

Valerie Vanbooven:

If they feel good in their heart about who they work for, they’re going to stay.

Kathy Uveges:

Yes. Yeah. And longevity and that consistency of care that they’re able to provide the client comes into play as well. So all in all, it works. It’s a win.

Valerie Vanbooven:

Yeah, absolutely. Well, thank you so much for doing this and being on the show and for … This is all about sharing your wisdom as somebody who’s been doing this for a long time and is really an expert in your community, so thank you for sharing your wisdom, and your advice, and how you like to celebrate, and all of those things. We appreciate you doing this.

Kathy Uveges:

Thank you for having me, Valerie. I really appreciate it.

Valerie Vanbooven:

You’re welcome. Thank you for doing the show.