Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

This is Valerie VanBooven with the Senior Care Industry Netcast, 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.

Shanele Healy: https://www.caringatheart.com/

Well, good morning, Valerie. Thank you so much for having me. My name is Shanele Healy. I am the owner of Caring at Heart Home Care. We currently have two locations, one in Charlotte, North Carolina, the other in Rock Hill, South Carolina. We’ve had the privilege of serving our communities for the last 13 years, assisting them with bathing, dressing, meal preparation, light housekeeping, transportation, medication management, respite for the family, just to give them a little break. So pretty much anything inside of the home or pretty much any residence or facility that they’re in, we can come in and provide care.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Awesome. I know you guys do a wonderful job because we’ve worked together over the years. So what is the best thing about serving aging adults?

Shanele Healy:

I would say the best thing for me is just seeing those smiles, getting those phone calls saying that mom is looking forward to Betty Jo coming today or them asking for specific caregivers. Just recently we had a client that unfortunately passed away, but we were mentioned in her eulogy. We were brought up in her obituary. Just the thing for me is just getting these compliments from the family and just the reassurance that I am in the right field and I am where I am supposed to be. So, that’s what…

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

That’s what [inaudible 00:02:05]. Yeah.

Shanele Healy:

What I like best. Yes.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

I would say, it’s a sad moment, but at the same time, there aren’t very many people or organizations that get mentioned sometimes in obituaries or eulogies, and for the family to recognize a home care agency or a specific caregiver is one of the greatest honors ever, because typically that’s reserved for family and maybe someone, a hospice organization, whatever. But when you’re in the home and they have felt like you’ve just been part of the family for however long you’ve been there, that’s a great honor that they think that much of you to be included.

Shanele Healy:

It is.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

That’s very awesome.

Shanele Healy:

It definitely makes us feel like that we made a difference. Even if it was for a short while, it does make us feel like we made difference in that person’s life and for the family as well. That’s nice.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yeah. That makes it all worthwhile. We were just talking a little bit about staffing and hiring caregivers, and I know that’s a challenge right now. But every time something like that happens or an aging adults like, “I can’t wait to see Mary or Betty Jo or whoever,” that makes it all worthwhile. I would imagine that in your life and in your career there have been people or organizations who’ve really meant a lot to you who’ve maybe guided you down this path. Who would you like to talk about?

Shanele Healy:

Oh, for certain, I would say my grandmother. She has played a tremendous role in where I am and what I’m doing today. She was always that lady that, in church she would go visited our sick church members, or we were going to the nursing homes and doing arts and crafts and singing carols during Christmas, or just going and visiting with the residents of the nursing home. So at an early age and… Oh, goodness, I think maybe as far back as even in elementary school, in kindergarten, I remember going with her and being a part of this.

Shanele Healy:

Just from an early age I just felt like I had a connection with the senior population, and, of course, watching her too. She took care of her younger brother who was disabled up until last year for about, oh, God, I would say four decades. She took care of him, and just watching the satisfaction that she got out of that and just seeing how much he was loved and cared for by her made me want to get into health care.

Shanele Healy:

Then I would say my first client that I ever had, Ms. Irene, definitely can’t forget her. Her family, they came to me one day and asked me to take care of her, and I was just taking care of her as a nursing assistant. They asked me to step in and take over, and I started putting ads in the newspaper to get more caregivers because as she progressed, she needed more care. I felt like I was running an agency for one person then, and that made me decide to want to open up my home care agency.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

That’s awesome. And isn’t that interesting how it just evolves from there. You have one client or just a family who knows your great, and then after that, it just blossoms from there. And I know it’s been a long road for any of us who are entrepreneurs. It’s a long road and full of ups and downs, but I am so glad that you stuck with it, just like a lot of our other entrepreneurs out there. Because you’ve been in business a while. How long have you had your home care agency?

Shanele Healy:

Yes, it was 13 years in January.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Wow.

Shanele Healy:

Yes.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Ours is 13 years old, too. I always know because my kids are 14. So I started like a not smart person, when they were one year old which was when I started my business. So, we’re heading down the same road. We’ve been around the block a while.

Shanele Healy:

Awesome.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

That’s great. Yeah, once you hit 13 years, it’s always a surprise every day, but it’s old [crosstalk 00:06:38].

Shanele Healy:

Right.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

You’ve heard it all. You’ve seen it all.

Shanele Healy:

Exactly.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

We’re veterans by now. All right. Well, let’s talk a little bit about online marketing. I know that in-person referrals will probably be the best and always be the most sought after client that you’d like to have come to you because those are really thoughtful and meaningful. Online marketing has been very important for a long time, though, and I know in the last year it’s been really hard for us to network if at all in-person anyway. So what has been your experience with online marketing and leads and home care clients and getting new ones through that venue?

Shanele Healy:

Well, I must start off by saying that I am a bit technically challenged. Trying to adapt to the whole online marketing thing, it was a challenge in the beginning, but my hats off to you because I learned a few tricks from you as far as doing emails. I found that you do have to be strategic with those emails because with the whole COVID and everything associated with COVID and not being able to go in and do our face-to-face meetings, everyone’s doing emails. Everyone’s sending those emails.

Shanele Healy:

So it’s just trying to figure out what you want that subject line to be so that you can grab someone’s attention to open that email. I learned that from you, and I got some good tips and tricks from you on that, that got some of my emails opened. So thank you.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Good. Very good.

Shanele Healy:

Then just stepping up the online presence as far as Google… Oh, what do you call it?

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

My Business. Your Google My Business and your website and all [crosstalk 00:08:42].

Shanele Healy:

Yes. Yes. Yes. [crosstalk 00:08:43]

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Really, I mean, that is true. Everybody’s on their screens right now maybe more so than they used to be, and it’s amazing how resilient our seniors are. I know that the adult children are typically who are making those calls, and family members are calling you and saying, “Oh, things aren’t quite right.” But some of them themselves are seniors. They’re 70 calling on behalf of their 90-year-old mother. So even though adult children are who you’re going after, it’s really they still are senior, but they’re very resilient. They’re very good at learning new technology.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

I mean, somebody said the other day… We were talking about this topic, and they said, “Our boomers are the ones who took us to the moon for the first time. So they’re not shy, most of them. If you’d show them how to use that phone, they’ll do it. So they just need a little help.”

Shanele Healy:

Oh, yes.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

And who doesn’t, right? I mean, my kids can set up a thing on my TV that I’m like, “I need to see this show. I don’t know how.” They’re like click. It’s on. And I thought I was text savvy. Let them do it. Yeah, I think a lot of people are on their screens. They’re on the phones a lot or their iPads or whatever they have. So it’s great to have a good presence in those areas, even if it’s not your primary way of doing it.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

So thank you. Thank you for the compliments, and I know we sometimes have to drag folks align. Sometimes it just doesn’t make any sense, but we try. You’ve done a great job. You’ve hung in there, so that’s great.

Shanele Healy:

Thank you.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

You’ve hung in there for a long time. All right. What piece of advice would you give to other senior care providers?

Shanele Healy:

I would say definitely take time out. Self-care is a big thing. We deal with so many aspects in this business. We’re dealing with families. We’re dealing with caregivers. We’re dealing with legal things. Taking time out for yourself… And my wonderful husband taught me that, that you just need to take time, step back, breathe, and just remember why you got into this business in the first place, which was just to help people and to make a difference in people’s lives.

Shanele Healy:

Definitely, just step back. Take that me time, even if it’s just going into a quiet room by yourself and locking your kids, your dog, and your husband out. Take that time for yourself and just self-care.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Relax. Yeah. I totally agree. Self-care is… You can’t be all things to all people all the time because then you lose you. So you got to say, “You know what? I’m going to go take a bath or a shower. I’m going to lay down in my bed for a while,” whatever it is want to do. Go see a movie, something else. Yeah, absolutely. I think as caregivers, whether you start a home care agency from a business perspective or you’ve been a nurse or a caregiver or a CNA, we are caregivers by nature. So, it’s hard for us to take care of me because I’m always trying to fix somebody.

Shanele Healy:

But you can’t pour from an empty cup, and once you’ve reached that point, it’s just like, “Okay, you have to take that time to refill.”

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

That’s right. That’s right. Rejuvenate. Okay.

Shanele Healy:

Correct.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

When you have a win in life or in business… And this might go back to taking the bath or the nap. How do you like to celebrate?

Shanele Healy:

I’m one of those… I celebrate all wins, whether it be small or big. My small wins, I have a little dance that I like to do. So, that celebrates my small wins. My big wins, there is nothing better than a nice meal and a glass of champagne for me and a pat on the back to tell myself that we did it. We accomplished it. We got this done.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Absolutely. I’m always leaning toward the good meal and a good nap. I’m good with both of those.

Shanele Healy:

Oh, yes.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

It makes me very happy.

Shanele Healy:

Naps are a good thing.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yes. Absolutely. All right. Well, I want to tell you, thank you for being on the show. Thank you for sharing your wisdom with us and your story. I know that many people will benefit from this, and we will make sure that all of your contact information is with your video. So thank you.

Shanele Healy:

Well, thank you, and thank you so much for having me. It was a pleasure.