Valerie VanBooven RN BN:

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. So let’s get to it. In a few sentences, tell us who you are and what you do.

Michelle Bolden:

Well, thank you. Michelle Bolden and I’m the owner and administrator of Home Helpers of Atlanta. And what we do is we provide care for seniors or just adults in general in their home. So we’re providing certified nursing assistants or aides with their activities of daily living. So not only do we provide the aides, but now we’re transitioning to something called care for in which we’re also providing wellness calls when we’re not there, we can provide home-delivered meals, help them with medication packages and delivering as well. And then the other thing I do is work with a nonprofit. Our non-profit is called Call For Caring, and we host a family caregiver expo November of each year. And so we’re excited for our next one this November.

Valerie VanBooven RN BN:

Yes. I hope things are a little bit less complicated this year. Maybe everybody had their vaccine or feel like they could actually get together.

Michelle Bolden:

Yeah. So we’re planning for something outside in a hybrid of virtual as well so people can still attend.

Valerie VanBooven RN BN:

Very good. Okay, cool. Well, you have a lot going on there and that is a lot of neat services that you’ve added on beyond just home care, which is very needed right now. And I know it’s hard to… Folks have all kinds of mixed feelings about having people in the home, not having people in the home and overall, I think it’s the safest place to be. I know it is.

Michelle Bolden:

Absolutely.

Entrepreneurship is a huge faith walk, and so I have to be able to have those prayer warriors with me to encourage me to move forward, and so I’m just blessed to have all of those things.

Michelle Bolden

Valerie VanBooven RN BN:

And I know that home care is definitely the safest way to go at the moment. So what is the best thing about serving aging adults?

Michelle Bolden:

I would just say simply the joy that’s felt when you’re able to provide that support to our family caregiver, they’re just so overwhelmed and they’re very challenged by letting people in, but when they get that support, they’re just expected about the help. And then what we do for our clients themselves, just giving them support care, love, just respecting them. It’s awesome. And then lastly, the joy of just our caregivers, we like to appreciate them and to show them the respect they deserve for just the hard work that they do every day.

Valerie VanBooven RN BN:

Yes, absolutely. Our caregivers have been heroes for… They’re always been heroes. This last year has been a test of all time and they’re such heroes. And I think you’re right about the joy of knowing that that senior is so excited because today they’re their favorite caregiver’s coming in. That’s always lovely. All right, I imagine that in your life you have some people, it could be parents, grandparents, or just other business mentors who really meant a lot to you and guided you in the direction of owning a home care agency or maybe there’s some organizations out there that just do a really great job that you’d like to talk about. So who would you like to give a shout out to?

Michelle Bolden:

So hard just to pick one.

Valerie VanBooven RN BN:

I know.

Michelle Bolden:

So a little bit from each one. First, I would definitely say my family, just the upbringing and such a caring family, the responsibility of caring for your family and your loved ones. My parents, my sisters [inaudible 00:03:34] always been an example of that. And so that kind of led me into the nursing career that I started in. And then just being in healthcare, just those everyday… I have a friend who was the vice-president of the hospital while also completing the law degree. So you find out these magnificent things people are doing by… And it just uplifts you to say that you can do more, you can do more. And then as I branch into the home care, I partner with so many different agencies, agencies that are personal care or just other types of providers, home health. And so I look at what they do for care and for seniors. We have people who care for seniors for 20 years, taking them until they’re a hundred year plus old. So I get information from them and I share information.

Michelle Bolden:

My college roommate is an entrepreneur, and so I listened to what she does as well. She’s on her fourth store. It’s a different business but it’s all the same when you’re an entrepreneur, right? And then lastly, my spiritual partners, my spiritual mentors, they’re just important to me. Entrepreneurship is a huge faith walk, and so I have to be able to have those prayer warriors with me to encourage me to move forward, and so I’m just blessed to have all of those things.

Valerie VanBooven RN BN:

I love the way you put that, entrepreneurship is a huge faith walk. It is every day. Absolutely. Absolutely. So that’s great, thank you for sharing all of that. And let’s talk about something a little bit different for a second, and that is online marketing. Now, Home Helpers does a great job with a lot of that. And this year has been really challenging trying to network in person has been, depending on where you live, that’s been really hard. So what has your experience been with the online marketing side of things?

Michelle Bolden:

It’s allowed us to be a little more creative with how we market. So also be able to partner with our other hospice companies, home health companies, partners that we consider to be partners, elderly law attorneys. And so now we’ve created a network we would have done in person via Zoom. And so now we talk about what are we doing with marketing now? What can we do differently? How can we partner together to bring down even some of the financial resources so we can just do those together? And so now, we’re in parking lots, meetings, standing outside of a coffee house, we’re in line for the coffee, trying to get a conversation in. And so we’re just being very unique about what we’re doing and then also increasing our Google presence and our website, just kind of building that.

Michelle Bolden:

Videos like this is always helpful, a quick review of what’s going on. And our client reviews, I mean, we’ve been… We’ve had a lot of awards here lately. Last six years, home care plus provider of choice and employer choice, caring star, so we want to share those reviews that provided us those awards as well, so we’re really trying to beef it up. And if it wasn’t for COVID, we probably wouldn’t have done it so fast, but now we’re putting our emphasis on where people are going and our consumers are so much more educated now that they’re using the search engines, et cetera, in order to find out information about who we are and what we do.

Valerie VanBooven RN BN:

That’s true, and you’re doing all the right things. I think COVID has made us get our butts in gear a little bit on a few things that we could have been like kind of not on the top of the list and all of a sudden it’s kind of at the top of the list.

Michelle Bolden:

That’s right.

Valerie VanBooven RN BN:

So focusing on those reviews and focusing on testimonials and doing things like this are definitely something that we’ve all had to deal with and it’s not bad, it’s not a bad change. I think we’re going to see a lot bigger shift in how people communicate and connect. Even though Internet’s been around for a while now, obviously, but I think we’re going to see more screen time from folks of an older generation than we used to see and a lot more… They’ve learned a lot and they’re very resilient and our seniors have been through a lot more than we have. COVID’s nothing compared to like a World War or a depression or something crazy. So I think they’re very resilient and very eager to learn.

Michelle Bolden:

And I think with seniors, it’s also kind of brought them a little closer to their families who may have been long distance. We just waited the time to see them at the holidays or during a birthday, but now they’re getting used to Zoom or FaceTime or whatever that is to kind of see one another much often than what they were doing before, right? So it’s forced us to do that. And now it’s developed some good habits in some circumstances.

Valerie VanBooven RN BN:

Yeah, I do. I think everybody’s gotten a little bit more used to being on the screen and saying hello to their aging loved ones and families for birthdays and everything. So yep, it’s really…

Michelle Bolden:

And it’s so important for your aging loved ones because they change when we don’t see them for too long. And then by the time we see the change, it’s a little bit late to react. So that’s another good reason to see them on the screen all the time because you can really see what’s going on.

Valerie VanBooven RN BN:

Very true. Very true. All right. What piece of advice would you give to other senior care providers?

Michelle Bolden:

Well, I would say right now, I know that it’s a challenging time, there’s a great need for what we do in the staff is very few. So I think it’s time for us to really lean into our network of other agencies, kind of be creative of how we support one another. If you have caregivers who are looking for hours, maybe your other agency is able to provide those. But it’s just a great time to go outside of the box to kind of be creative for what we do and how we meet the needs of our clients. And just hold on, there’s light at the end of the tunnel, just hold on.

Valerie VanBooven RN BN:

Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, it’s coming, it’s coming. Hopefully we’re getting there with vaccines and I mean, it’s still, we’ve got a long way to go, but my hope is that by this fall, people at least feel like they can relax a little bit about it and it’s probably not going to be over but things will maybe opened up a little bit more with some caution. So I think that’s hopeful for this fall. All right, last question is supposed to be a fun one. When you have a win in life or business, how do you like to celebrate?

So I think it’s time for us to really lean into our network of other agencies, kind of be creative of how we support one another.

Michelle Bolden

Michelle Bolden:

So I would say often, and so even the small things, and as I think about our team, we often celebrate weekly. We start every meeting with good news. So what’s your good news for today or the week? Whatever it is, personal, professional, we just want to celebrate our wins. And for our caregivers, we try to acknowledge them as often as we can because, especially during COVID, we have a lot of them who worked the entire year during COVID. And so we try to just pop up celebrations, like I have a pop up love bug in my car right now. So what I’m doing, we’ve decorated the truck and we have Valentine’s hearts and candies and t-shirts, and we’re taking them to the caregivers where they are, just delivering that love and celebration just because of what they do. So I would say often and any win that we see, we want to try to celebrate it.

Valerie VanBooven RN BN:

Absolutely. That’s great. That is so nice. Yes, you can never celebrate your caregivers too much. They are working really hard and to honor them and to recognize the work that they put in every day in the face of all this crazy stuff is something that we should be doing all the time. So I’m thankful for you that you do that because I know they appreciate it. It’s so much fun when your employer is appreciative and has a little fun with all of that.

Michelle Bolden:

Yes.

Valerie VanBooven RN BN:

Well, I want to thank you for doing our show, for being on and sharing your wisdom and your business with us and all the things that you do for your caregivers, I appreciate that, that’s what this is all about.

Michelle Bolden:

Thank you, thank you. It was a pleasure being here, we appreciate the invite.