Learn more about Lisa and Sarah Care’s Adult Day Services at https://www.facebook.com/SARAHStrongsville

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

This is Valerie VanBooven with the senior care industry net cast, where leaders with three or more years of experience in the senior care market share their advice. So let’s get to it. In a few sentences, tell us who you are and what you do.

Lisa Zoloty:

My name is Lisa Zoloty. I run an adult daycare center in Strongsville, Ohio. It’s called Sarah Center. It stands for senior adult recreation and health, and it’s just what it sounds like, where adults come to us during the week during daytime hours, seven to six, and we care for them here, so they can go home at night in the weekends and spend time with their families.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Nice. I have heard of SarahCare throughout my life as a nurse and care manager and all the things that I’ve done in the past, but I didn’t know what it stood for.

Lisa Zoloty:

Okay. Yeah.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Now we know. Nice, great. And tell me, I mean, I’m going to just ask a couple more questions about SarahCare.

Lisa Zoloty:

Sure.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

I guess what I always wonder, and I think I know the answer, but everybody else out there might not know. How challenging can a person be or how well do they need to be? So I know there’s some people that are way more into maybe dementia or mobility issues than others, how sick or into their disease can they be before you can’t take them?

Lisa Zoloty:

Right. Okay. So that’s an involved question. We do have nurses here on staff. Three nurses, and there’s a nurse here at all times. We have STNAs and experienced aides. And we do have clients that have a range, we have dementia, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, traumatic brain injuries. We have developmentally disabled. So to answer your question, we try to assist, I think, from what I recall, and this was, my dad opened this business back in 2001, and I’ve been here in charge since 2015. But I only recall one time that we had to kind of turn somebody away because of the extent of their health issues.

Lisa Zoloty:

We try not to. We have the aides help them to the restroom. They help them eat. We can change them if necessary. We’ve had tube feeds and different kinds of medical issues that we handle. And once it gets to a certain point where the caregivers kind of are having a hard time, that’s when this kind of a transition here, that’s when a lot of times the families have to make a choice of maybe putting their loved one into assisted living or nursing home with extended care. So it never, for us quite gets to that. By the time it gets to the point where we would say, oh, that might be too much for us, it’s already becoming too much for the family.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yeah. Yeah. I get it. So they’ve already made a decision long before it comes to that for you guys.

Lisa Zoloty:

Correct.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

That’s nice to know. And it’s nice to know that, I mean, truly you can do a lot.

Lisa Zoloty:

Yes. We do.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Do people come to you and sometimes in their own vehicle or do they, do you guys have a way to pick them up?

Lisa Zoloty:

Most people are dropped off by their families or caregivers. We do have, we service a lot of veterans here too. So some of them get transportation or RTA transit. It’s just, there’s such a range, we try to be flexible for our families. And we do not have a transportation service ourselves. We did years ago, but it became just an entirely too large of an entity. It was like a whole other business that we just were not becoming, not equipped to handle at that point with all of the people that we had coming. So we kind of turned that over to the caregivers and different agencies that we deal with.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

And I would imagine that if someone does have a wheelchair bound person, they already have a wheelchair lift van or something in their life that they can-

Lisa Zoloty:

Right. So there are vans, we have a couple of county vans that some people come on, or like I said, the RTA transit, they have wheelchair access too. Sorry.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Oh, you’re okay. No problem. It’s a business day during business hours.

Lisa Zoloty:

Sorry.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

No, that’s okay. All right. So what is the best thing about serving aging adults?

Lisa Zoloty:

Okay. So that was a question that is, this is something I have an education degree, so this is something I never in a million years thought I would get into, but my dad opened it, like I said, due to his mother, my grandmother, not being able to stay at home by herself. But they are just, you can’t be in a bad mood here. I, some mornings due to personal things, might be cranky or in a bad mood. You come here, they’re just so full of joy and it makes you feel so good to be involved in these people’s lives. They have wonderful stories that they’re just amazing to hear. They’re so interesting. And I always joke around and say, I come here and I’ll sing and dance, and I am not a singer or a dancer, joke around. And they think that you’re hilarious and fun and whatever, and I’m always like, I go home and I look for the same kind of laughter and attention, and I don’t get it.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yeah.

Lisa Zoloty:

So it’s just so fun to be around everybody. I mean, and then to know that you’re helping the families and the people that come here feel good because they kind of get a sense of themselves back, away from their caregivers. Sometimes they’re just sitting at home. Somebody who works full time, for example, can’t entertain mom 24 hours a day as well. So they really enjoy it. And I, and we all, the staff is great here too. I’m a little biased, but I’m so grateful for them. They’re wonderful. We’re like family.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

That’s awesome. That’s so good. And I would agree with you. I mean, I’m sure that the amount of respite that you give families, whether they work full-time or not, is amazing. Having a break during the day, [inaudible 00:06:55] every day during the week or three days a week or two days a week, to be able to get your errands run, to be able to get your house cleaned and the laundry done.

Lisa Zoloty:

Right. Without having to worry.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yes. I mean, those are amazing things. And then if you do have to work, part-time full-time whatever, or even work from home, being able to have, not have to worry about getting up and doing something. It’s just, it’s awesome.

Lisa Zoloty:

Right. And a lot of people don’t know about us because they don’t look for us until they, nobody knows they will need us eventually. So it’s hard to know. So adult day, we’re kind of like a lost, we’re trying to break out. And even in some of the things I read and see, you read something in the paper, it’s all assisted living, home healthcare, nursing homes. They don’t really mention adult daycare centers.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Right.

Lisa Zoloty:

Unfortunately.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yeah. Unfortunately. And the cost savings is amazing.

Lisa Zoloty:

Oh yes.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Because I would imagine, I know that you all are way more cost-effective than any of the other services that exist.

Lisa Zoloty:

Yes. And the VA pays for the veterans. They used to pay five days a week. Now they’re paying, they’re down to two. In the last few years, they’ve cut down their, what they cover. But it’s still great. The veterans that come, they get at least two days paid and then they pay the rest out of the pocket. And it’s much more reasonable than any of the other options. And I’m not saying those options aren’t needed sometimes, down the line, but for caregivers who want to keep their people at home longer, this is a godsend to them.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

I mean truly, you could have adult day services during the day and you could have home care only at night.

Lisa Zoloty:

Yeah. Right.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

[crosstalk 00:08:45] 24 hours.

Lisa Zoloty:

A lot of people do that. Right.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yeah. So I mean there’s all kinds of ways to mix it up. And I don’t know in your case, because some folks are private pay only, and every state is different.

Lisa Zoloty:

Right.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Do you accept Medicaid or are you private pay?

Lisa Zoloty:

We have a lot of private pay and a lot of VA people. We also do have passports, which is, has to do with income. They apply and then are sent to us. And we apply for grants through the Western Reserve Area Agency on Aging. So we’ll get, it’s called older Americans act. And we apply for a grant that we’re allowed to kind of disperse among our families who need extra assistance. So that’s nice too.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Nice. Okay, so you do have a little bit of financial help.

Lisa Zoloty:

Sure. And more and more insurance companies are assisting too as time goes on. Yeah. Which is nice to see that’s needed.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Medicare needs to get it together.

Lisa Zoloty:

Yeah. Yeah.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

I know that Medicare is not designed for long-term care, but even temporary assistance is, I mean, at least in the home care world, we know that they’re starting to get the idea of temporary assistance, especially post-surgery or post real big [inaudible 00:10:03]. So hopefully that’ll catch on.

Lisa Zoloty:

Yeah.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Okay. So let’s talk about your lifetime and your folks that have meant a lot to you. I know you said your dad started this business. I’m sure there have been people who’ve been mentors to you, organizations that have, you think do a really good job in your area. So who would you like to talk about?

Lisa Zoloty:

Yeah. Well I would like to talk about my dad, because in saying back, like I said, in 2001, my grandmother had been a widow for a long time. She fell, broke her hip and needed more and more care. And my dad, he has three siblings and they all worked full time. And they just didn’t feel like it was time or she was ready to be sent to a nursing home. So he researched and looked around. This actually is a franchise. We were the first franchise to start from a woman named Merle Griff who began SarahCare. And so he did this basically for his mother so that she would have a place to go. And she did, she was able, because it’s a difficult thing, starting a business. Even me taking over, I have an education degree, I’m like. Here I am. But I love it. I love it because I love the people.

Lisa Zoloty:

But so he, I just admire the fact that this is why he did it just for the sake of his mother. And then once we started getting people in here, he fell in love with the people and eventually I was involved and my kids are still involved. My nieces and nephews come here to visit. My daughter goes and visits a couple of the people when she was home from college, she would go to their homes. That’s how close the people get here. We’re a small family oriented place. And I just take pride in stepping in and hopefully I’m doing it justice, the way that he felt like the business should be run. I mean, he’s still involved, but like I said, I stepped in since 2015 when he had some health issues. He’s good now, but kind of retired and it’s just very admirable to me of the work that he has put into it. Yeah.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Absolutely. It’s wonderful to be able to, for him to be able to pass something on of value for his entire family.

Lisa Zoloty:

Right. Right.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

It’s definitely you, but it sounds like he has passed on a legacy that the whole family will remember or know, or maybe be a part of.

Lisa Zoloty:

Yeah. And it’s an important lesson to, I feel like for my kids and my nieces and nephews, that these people, some people, when they see an elderly person or wherever, they’re kind of like the forgotten. They are old people, whatever. They have so much value and it’s so nice to feel like you’re making someone laugh and caring for somebody and just making their days better regardless of what their health issues or how far their dementia is, if they can laugh and we can help them out that way to feel good, then our job is done.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yeah, absolutely.

Lisa Zoloty:

Yeah.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

And so I think that’s amazing and kudos to you and your father and your whole family for being involved. Yes. It is an important lesson to learn for our kids, for our adult children, or I should say our, for you and I, it’s our kids who are growing up.

Lisa Zoloty:

Right. Right.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

For them to understand the value of our seniors and the folks around us. So, absolutely. All right. So let’s talk a little bit about online marketing. Now, you mentioned a little bit about adult day health or adult daycare seems to be left out sometimes.

Lisa Zoloty:

Yeah.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

So I know you guys have a website. So what has been your experience, especially in the last year, I know things have been really tough.

Lisa Zoloty:

Yes.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

And I wouldn’t [inaudible 00:14:15] for you guys. This was really tough.

Lisa Zoloty:

It was.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

I don’t know what you ended up doing or having to do. And of course, every state kind of handled things a little differently, but what has been your experience with online marketing or marketing in general?

Lisa Zoloty:

Well, it is very difficult because like I said, something like, oh, hey, let’s get pizza tonight. You know where to find pizza, you know what pizza is. Easy. Sometimes people struggling with caregiving, they don’t quite know what they’re looking for. Like I said, they’ve only heard of assisted living, nursing homes, home health care. They don’t really know about us. So I try to get on there. I found that in this area, word of mouth has been our best help. I try to go online. Our Facebook is good. We have page SarahCare, one word, of Strongsville, and that’s kind of our personal Facebook page that shows what we do here at our site. I know there’s a main SarahCare website as well, but I always tell people to look at our other one.

Lisa Zoloty:

It’s pretty bleak for the last year because we were closed most of last year, which was difficult. Everybody was so excited to come back. But I try to join groups on Facebook a lot, or, Twitter I’m not so great at. But the classic Instagram, those things I try to post. And it does help, like I said, with word of mouth, but in general, the online marketing, it’s tough. It is tough.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

It is really tough. And you’re right, that Facebook is the correct demographic. It gets older by the day, which for us in this business is a lucky thing.

Lisa Zoloty:

Right.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

And it is not easy to understand. But I would say that you pick your platform and stick with it. I do believe that LinkedIn is valuable from a professional to professional networking standpoint, but it hasn’t been as valuable as it used to be. I mean, there is this, there’s so much you can do and you really do have to kind of pick your poison. Right?

Lisa Zoloty:

Right. Right.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

So Facebook does tend to be the best, but word of mouth in this business will always be number one.

Lisa Zoloty:

Yeah.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Professional and personal referrals will always be the best, the best referrals.

Lisa Zoloty:

Right.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yeah. It is tough, it’s an educational process for you just like for most senior services, every single time you pick up the phone, it’s an educational process. And since you have a background in education, I sure that you use that all the time.

Lisa Zoloty:

I try, I try. It’s also fun to use with our crew and activities and things like that. It comes in handy.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Absolutely. Okay. So what piece of advice would you give to other senior care providers?

Lisa Zoloty:

I would say number one, be in the business for the right reasons. The focus is our clients, taking care of our clients. All the other business with the agencies and the rules, and obviously you have to follow them and be in compliance and all that kind of stuff. But sometimes that gets hard and sticky and complicated and stressful. But if you love the people, then it makes it a lot easier. Don’t get in it for the money.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yeah. That’s true. That is true. [crosstalk 00:18:05].

Lisa Zoloty:

You’re not going to go very far.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Right. Right. So that’s true. Yeah. Your heart has to be in it because there are just like with any business, there are staffing issues, there are bills to pay, there are regulations to comply with. Everybody gets inspected. Everybody has to meet certain criteria. So you’ve got all those boring, stressful [crosstalk 00:18:29] take care of, but it’s the coming in the door and the joy of those faces that is [crosstalk 00:18:34].

Lisa Zoloty:

Right. Absolutely. Absolutely.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

So when you have a win in life or in business, how do you like to celebrate?

Lisa Zoloty:

Okay. Like personally?

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Either way. Personally, professionally, as a team.

Lisa Zoloty:

Okay. Well, for one thing, when we get comments or calls or cards from families thanking us and praising our staff, I definitely share that with staff. I like to give surprise little gift cards here and there for them when I, they’re so great. They deserve much more than I can give them. Personally. I love anything with my family. I have three kids, a husband, mom, and dad, sister, we’re all very close. We all live right here in Strongsville. So anything game night, that’s always fun.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

And I bet a good meal and being able to visit now, long after [crosstalk 00:19:33].

Lisa Zoloty:

Oh my gosh. Yes.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Supposed to be visiting and all that. So just to be clear, we are, it is May of 2021, you are open, you’re going strong and people are welcome through the door, right?

Lisa Zoloty:

Absolutely. Yes. Absolutely. Ready to, we’re here, we’re ready for new people.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Awesome.

Lisa Zoloty:

Having fun every day. It’s great. We have a great time.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

So I want to thank you for doing the show for being with us. We’ll put all of your contact information with our interview so that people can get ahold of you. You can share this with others and I appreciate your wisdom and your family’s commitment to your community because that’s really what it is.

Lisa Zoloty:

Yeah. Thank you.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

So thank you for [crosstalk 00:20:21].

Lisa Zoloty:

Thank you for having me.