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🌟 Exciting Netcast News 🌟

Episode 40 of the Senior Care Industry Netcast is live!

We were fortunate enough to have Phyllis Ayman, https://www.phyllisaymanassociates.com/, on our show and she offered some great insight and #advice for other #seniorcare and #healthcare providers.

About This Episode:

Phyllis Ayman, MS/SLP, CDP, CADDCT, CDCM, CMDCP

VOICE FOR ELDERCARE ADVOCACY

EP 40: The Senior Care Industry Netcast with Phyllis Ayman, VOICE FOR ELDERCARE ADVOCACY 2
Phyllis Ayman

Phyllis Ayman is an expert Speech/Language Pathologist, Certified Dementia Practitioner, Trainer, Manager and holds a Certification in Montessori for Dementia, who has worked in approximately 45 skilled nursing/short-term rehabilitation facilities and has been a staunch advocate and outspoken proponent of the need for improved and more dignified quality of care for the over 1 million people who reside in the over 15,000 nursing homes in the US. Indeed, Our Elder Citizens, our valuable and precious resource, our wisdom keepers, are also our future selves.

She is principal owner of  Phyllis Ayman Associates, preparing families to become more effective advocates and provides them with valuable information from a unique inside perspective to help them make more informed care choices for themselves and their loved ones. Her highly developed analytic skills, coupled with a background in speech and communication, has given her a valuable perspective in understanding systemic approaches to programming.

In doing so, she has helped long-term care facilities ranging in size from under 100 to 500 in recognizing and conceptualizing new programs, developing strategies for implementing those programs, and leading and training care teams so that the facility delivers a higher quality of care.

Phyllis is the host of Voices for Eldercare Advocacy on the Voice America Empowerment Channel, is a proud board member of the Massachusetts Advocates for Nursing Home Reform (MANHR) and an advisory board member to Olive Community Services, a 501 (c) 3 in Fullerton, CA a community services organization dedicated to serving the culturally diverse senior community. She is the author of 2 books and several articles in national publications. Prior to the global pandemic, she was sought after as a thought leader to present at several international conferences.

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.

Phyllis Ayman:

Oh, hi, Valerie. Thanks so much for having me. I’m a speech pathologist by profession. I’m dedicated to helping families seek care for their loved ones by providing valuable information from the inside perspective of working in over 45 skilled nursing facilities. I also provide family mediation when there are conflicts about loved ones care. I’m an advocate author.

I have several articles that are published in national publications, and I’m the host of the podcast Senior Straight Talk on the VoiceAmerica Empowerment Channel and on all favorite podcast platforms.

I actually have an ebook coming out in the next few days called IMpathy, a word I’ve trademarked, A Tool for Resilience to help people… I mean, we’re all suffering and challenged right now in this crisis time, so it’s for healthcare workers, caregivers who are experiencing fatigue and burnout, and people who are at home just challenged right now with their feelings about this virus.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Absolutely. You know what? When this goes live, we’ll make sure that your website and all of your information is there so that everybody can get a hold of that new ebook and learn more about what you do and listen to your podcasts because that’s awesome. We want to make sure everybody gets a hold of that too.

Phyllis Ayman:

Oh, thanks so very much. We have some really interesting guests on there. Just last week, I’ll tell you, I interviewed Frank Shankwitz, the founder of the Make-A-Wish foundation.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Oh, I love that. Oh yes. We’re definitely going to have… You’re going to have a new fan. I’ll have to tune in.

Phyllis Ayman:

Absolutely. Love to have you.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Cool. Okay. All right. Well, tell me,

What is the best thing about serving aging adults?

Phyllis Ayman:

Well, I would say, aging adults, and I’m kind of in that category, I’m getting there, sort of, they really are wisdom keepers. I think one of the best things that I feel is not only helping people as a speech pathologist, when I’ve helped them to eat or enjoy a food they haven’t eaten for a long time, or my specialty actually was working with people on ventilators for a long time, so having them speak when they hadn’t for a long time, but I think connecting with people and hearing the richness of their lives and their stories and learning from them.

I’m 67, and I have people that I work with that tell me I’m just a baby, I’m just the kid. It really puts it in perspective for you how somebody much older has lived those years and has a lot of wisdom to share.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yeah, we have so much to learn. I feel like I say that almost every time we do one of these shows, but we have a lot to learn from our seniors, and just remembering and knowing that they were a mom, a sister, a dad, a brother, an uncle, a grandfather.

Phyllis Ayman:

Absolutely.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

All those things happen in their lives too, and they have so much wisdom to share with us from all of that, so that’s awesome. Let’s switch gears just for a second and talk a little bit about online marketing because this has become something that I think a lot more folks in business, especially in the senior care industry, are taking pretty seriously right now. I know it can be challenging, it can be confusing. It’s definitely ever-changing.

What has been your experience or your thoughts online marketing?

Phyllis Ayman:

Yeah, well, I’m actually on that journey. I’m on that path. You’re right. It’s not easy. For some people, it’s easier than others. Some people, just like with anything, have an affinity for it. That’s not my affinity. I’m more of a person-to-person individual. I like that personal contact, so it’s kind of a funny space for me, but I’m learning, and it is very challenging. There’s a ton of information out there.

People are bombarded. It’s a barrage. How do you distinguish yourself is something that’s a little challenging, and finding interesting ways to present your information and to make it valuable and meaningful for people’s lives, not just part of the chatter, like, “Oh, that’s just another thing.”

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yeah, you’re right. Absolutely. Just as an example, you and I met on LinkedIn. We look for experts in senior care space and people who’ve done some remarkable things, and so we reached out to you and used online marketing to see if you’d be interested in coming on the show.

It is a learning curve for everybody, even to someone like me who does it all the time, learning how to use different platforms to your advantage and not being too boring about it or saying the same thing that everybody else says. You’re right. It’s being unique online.

It’s more challenging all the time. But I think video and podcasting, I think that presents a great opportunity to get the word out for so many of us. When you can’t get out of the house and you can’t go do stuff, a lot more people are on their screens and listening, so it’s a great opportunity right now.

Phyllis Ayman:

Just to piggyback on that, I’m in the process of starting a YouTube channel-

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Oh, good.

Phyllis Ayman:

… to give people tidbits… a different way for people to hear information in short spurts that can be valuable for them.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

I agree. Short is good. We try to keep these interviews short for that reason. You don’t have to watch an hour-long program. I say, I see six questions in nine minutes, but usually it’s more like 15 because I talk too much, but that’s okay. Short and sweet is what-

Phyllis Ayman:

Right.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

… people need. Absolutely. Okay, back to your wisdom on senior care. I would imagine that in your lifetime and in your career, there have organizations or people that have inspired you or been mentors to you.

Is there anybody you’d like to talk about or any organization that really means a lot to you?

Phyllis Ayman:

Absolutely. I’m glad you asked that question. One of them is Charlene Harrington who actually I reached out to when I was writing my first book. I had come across her information when I started doing research, and it just opened my eyes to a whole different world. Charlene Harrington has worked for four decades dedicating herself to quality care for nursing homes, elder citizens, and federal regulation.

She’s professor emerita at University of California, San Francisco. Her writings inspired the 1987 Nursing Home Reform law as well as the nursing home compare website, So she is quite a remarkable woman. Actually, she wrote the forward to my second book, Overdue: Quality Care for Our Elder Citizens, but she is quite a remarkable woman. She’s one.

Phyllis Ayman:

Another one I’d say is Dr. Bill Thomas who actually I’m going to be doing a podcast interview with this week. I was trying to reach him for years, and I was successful through actually, just like what you say, networking with someone online. His book Life Worth Living also revolutionized our attitudes, I’d say, and philosophies about nursing home care, quality of life, life with purpose. He created The Green House Project and Eden Alternative. There are many of those facilities around the country, not as many as we’d like to see, but it certainly is revolutionary.

Phyllis Ayman:

I’d say the third one is Dan Cohen, whose movie Alive Inside was a 2014 Sundance Film Festival Audience Choice Award winner, and he created the program Music and Memory for people with dementia. If anybody wants to stream that movie on Amazon, it really is incredible how music touches people, and they actually do come alive. Some people are aware of their surroundings, communicate with their families or people in their environments for the first time in years. It’s inspiring. He’s become a friend. It’s just a wonderful, wonderful program.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Well, those are all amazing people you’ve just described, so thank you. We do our little shout-out piece because not only do people that we shout out to, organizations, benefit from that, but it’s always great to share amazing resources with everyone else, books they should read, podcast they should listen to, and people that they should be aware of that have made a difference in your life and lots of other people’s lives, so thank you for doing that. All right.

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

Phyllis Ayman:

That’s a good question, Valerie. It depends which group of providers you’re talking about. If you’re talking about nursing home providers as a group, I would say to the importance of maybe it involves changing mindset, so it’s about really providing quality care. I wrote an article about this, actually, but there’s this phrase, person-centered care, and really ensuring that you’re really providing person-centered care not only for the residents, but actually for your healthcare workers who are really unsung heroes that are not often given credit for the work that they do, especially in longterm care.

Phyllis Ayman:

I would say for people who are like geriatric care managers and people who are advising families on finding care for their loved one, I would say that because I come from working inside facilities that it would be important to access that information because it’s very different hearing the information from how things actually played out rather than just an overview kind of thing, really, telling people what they can expect.

Phyllis Ayman:

I work in helping people become more informed and effective advocates by providing this valuable information, so I would say… and to encourage people to plan by choice, not by crisis. Don’t wait until you get that phone call and Mom or Dad or Grandma is in the hospital, and now you have to find a short term rehab facility and you’re at the mercy of what I say the glossy marketing brochures, the hospital discharge planners to really encourage people to plan ahead. Get the information ahead of time so when that time comes, you kind of know what your first steps and second steps are.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yeah. Absolutely. That’s the greatest advice of all time. It’s hard to take that advice when you don’t want to think about… I guess the inevitable is that, at some point, most of us are going to need a little bit of help around the house or maybe more than that. You just don’t know what the future holds, but just having that discussion at the very least with your loved ones and saying, “Here’s what I would prefer. Here’s what I think.” Any kind of planning is better than having to have your children or your spouse decide in a crisis. [crosstalk 00:12:20].

Phyllis Ayman:

I just want to touch on something you just said because you said people don’t want to really think about that. What I remind people is they actually really are thinking about that in other ways because we all have car insurance and we don’t plan on being in a terrible car crash. We have medical insurance. We don’t plan on becoming ill. I always tell people I bought burial insurance last year.

Now, I’m not planning on being buried right now, but I did plan for that. Did I not? People think that they are not thinking about these things. They are in some ways, so it’s just expanding what you’re thinking about and embracing it rather than trying to put it on the side and thinking it’s not going to happen because we’re already older than when we started this discussion.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yeah. You know what? If you know that you have a preference, at least having that conversation or making some plans will get you to where you would like to be as opposed to where someone has to make that decision and you just got to go with what you got.

Phyllis Ayman:

Correct.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

If you really know that you don’t want to be in a nursing home at some point, which we all really don’t want to be in a nursing home if we don’t have to, then make a plan so that you’re not in a nursing home because, otherwise, you just don’t know.

Phyllis Ayman:

Correct.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

We all have to make our best decisions in the moment, so having a plan is great.

Phyllis Ayman:

You know it. In this current environment, I mean, we’re seeing that we just don’t… Unfortunately, we’re seeing that crazy things are happening.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yeah. I know a lot of people are trying to unmake that decision right now and trying to bring loved ones home. It’s challenging, it really is, to change their environment. Good for anybody who can do that. That’s awesome. But for a lot of people, 24-hour care is what they really need, and they can’t really come home. Great advice for all of our senior care providers and for consumers.

Plan ahead. Make your own path instead of having someone else make it for you at the last minute. Okay. My last question is supposed to be a fun one. Some people get nervous about it, but I really like it. When you have a win in life, it could be anything, I mean, graduations, a birth of a new baby, it could be a wedding, it could be anything at all, it could be business-wise.

How do you like to celebrate?

Phyllis Ayman:

Well, that’s an interesting question because I’m thinking of some wins I’ve had even this past week. I think I would divide it into the present situation and beforehand because, obviously, I don’t have access to maybe participate in the same kind of activities now as I did before. In the past week, I’ve connected with some really awesome people from my podcast. One of them is Dr. Bill Thomas. Another one is David Grabowski, who is the architect of legislation for Medicare.

I call my friends or family and share with them these accomplishments. I know they’re happy for not only me, but for the fact that these people will be able to be heard by listeners and getting that information out there. Sometimes, to be very honest, I just jump up and down. I mean, really, in the present environment.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yeah. It’s hard to jump up and down in a crowd of people right now, right?

Phyllis Ayman:

Right. Right.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

So kind of [crosstalk 00:15:58].

Phyllis Ayman:

But otherwise, I love dancing. I ballroom dance. I love music. Anything that has to do with movement. I work out at the gym sometimes. I celebrate a win that way because I love the energy that that creates inside my body from a different level. I would say dancing and working out at the gym.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Those are great answers and great ways to celebrate, especially right now when it’s hard to have… We’d love to have a meal with our family and friends or a big gathering whenever we can, but it’s kind of hard to do that.

Phyllis Ayman:

Exactly.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Any way we can finally celebrate and have a positive experience is a good way, so thank you. Phyllis, you did a great job. Thank you so much for being on our show and for helping others learn more not only about you, but about the folks that have made a difference in your life and sharing your wisdom with us. We appreciate you. Thank you.

Phyllis Ayman:

Thank you so much. I’d love to be able to share some contact information if that’s okay.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yes. Tell us how we can get a hold of you.

Phyllis Ayman:

Sure. My website is www.phyllis P-H-Y-L-L-I-S, Ayman, A-Y-M-A-N, associates.com. As you said, people can find me on LinkedIn and Twitter and Instagram and Facebook. My ebook Impathy: A Tool for Resilience will be coming out in the next few days.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Great.

Phyllis Ayman:

Also, I just want to give a shout out, if I may, I have a GoFundMe page called Senior Connections Matter, and I’m raising funds to purchase technology for nursing home residents primarily so they can have more virtual visits with their families and loved ones during this period of time when-

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

I love it.

Phyllis Ayman:

… [crosstalk 00:17:50] has been banned.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

I love it. That is so good. Yes. We do a virtual call with my dad on Tuesday afternoons. He’s in a nursing home. The more we can help our facilities have an iPad or whatever other technology is available to have them make virtual calls, I think that helps everybody all the way around. We’ve even found that… and if I say her name, she’s going to talk to us. If you have an Alexa device, she’s… Oh.

Alexa:

I don’t know that.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

She said, “Sorry. I don’t know that.” If you have one of those… My dad is not able to use a cell phone, but he is able to call us on that device, so all he-

Phyllis Ayman:

Awesome.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

… has to do is say, “Call Val,” and he’ll call me right up, and I can call him from my phone to his device, so it works really well that way. If he’s able to do that, I think pretty much anybody could. But you’re right, having wifi in the nursing home or living and also having those devices is so important for us to be able to keep in touch, so-

Phyllis Ayman:

Absolutely.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

… thank you for doing that. The information will be with this video, and we’ll put your website on the video so everybody can see it. Thank you.

Phyllis Ayman:

Thank you very much, Valerie. This has been terrific. I really, really, really enjoyed it.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

All right, thanks.