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

Thomas Rocas:

Hey, Valerie, thank you. My name is Thomas Rocas and I’m in a post-acute care industry. We’re doing home health, palliative and hospice care, but think I’m blessed to actually take care of people and maximize their full potential cognitively, emotionally and physically. I think that’s probably the best service that I could do to people.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Well, tell us, because just in case anybody needs to know, tell us the name of your business and where you guys are located.

Thomas Rocas:

Sure. ANX Home Health Care and ANX Hospice Care. We also have a program at ANX Time, Transition to Illness, Management and Engagement. Our main office is located in Daly City, but we have satellite branches in San Jose.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Nice, great. That’s awesome. So now everybody will know where to reach you and we will also put your website addresses and your contact information with your videos, so if people want to reach out and learn more about you guys, then they’ll have access to all of that. So [crosstalk 00:01:33] thank you. All right. You just kind of hit on this already a little bit, but tell us what is the best thing about serving aging adults or adults of any age actually?

Thomas Rocas:

Well, especially with the senior population, I always say it’s time for us to give back. They took care of us, they moved our generation forward, so it’s time for us to give back to them. And there’s a lot of, I would say lesson to their narratives, it’s just like picking through it the better version of our future. So there’s a lot of opportunity in taking care of our senior population. It’s been a blessing for us and we’re very happy to take care of them, especially during these times.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yeah. And it’s been a rough year, but hopefully there’s some light at the end of the tunnel. But anytime, regardless of pandemic, regardless of what’s happening in the world, what a rewarding position to be in and genuinely heartfelt business that some of us are lucky to experience. I think taking care of seniors is so eye opening. So I appreciate your wisdom there with all of that. I would imagine that in your life and in your career, there have been organizations or parents or leaders that have really made an impact on you. Who would you like to talk about?

Thomas Rocas:

Well, and I would say these days, my top three are the following: hospitals, skilled nursing facilities and assisted living care facilities, especially physicians and healthcare workers who work under these kinds of circumstances. Just imagine you have to change your business model, in a gist. That’s a lot of stress. That’s stressful, not just to the people that work around it, but to the business model. So being able to be resilient and really change their model, just like that, so that we can take care of our population is definitely very inspiring. So those are my top three. There’s many, many more, Valerie. I know I could speak the whole time. But they’re the ones who really inspired me this day. I would especially mention the assisted living care facilities. That I know what they’re supposed to give medical care, but they step up to make sure that they can provide that safe space for our senior population. So that’s very, very inspiring.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yeah. We have a lot of heroes out there. I know that term is used a lot, but imagine your business model and what you do being turned upside down overnight and having to turn people away, not allowing family and really being the family for these residents. The only people they get to see for a full year. I mean, that is a crazy amount of responsibility. And my hope is that things are turning the corner. I know we’ve got a long way to go. And I know the state of California is, you guys have had a lot, a lot, a lot of cases of when this pandemic, you’ve been hit hard. So I mean, we all have, like I’m in the Midwest, so we can kind of see the doors opening back up just a little bit.

            You still have to be really careful. You still have to wear a mask. You still have to get vaccinated and all that. But we see the light and being able to actually give our family members a hug again. So it’s coming. It’s coming your way to you. So yeah. Yeah. It’s been tough and you’re right. People have done amazing things in the last year, so thank you for that. They are very inspirational. So let’s switch gears just a little bit for a minute and talk about online marketing. So you have three branches of your business. How many offices do you have? You have one main office or do you have several?

Thomas Rocas:

I have several offices. We have actually four offices and we are actually establishing one in Walnut Creek, as well. So that’s a fifth one.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Wow. Nice. Very good. You’re covering a huge territory then. So I would imagine that you also have a website and you’ve done some online marketing and things like that. So what has been your experience with all that? Because this last year has been really tough to get together or maybe not at all. So it’s been really hard to do that. And what has been your experience there?

Thomas Rocas:

Well, as you know, marketing is about proximity. Especially this industry was very emotional and really leveraging a lot on the physical, the relationship that we have with the community, creating that connection usually happens most of the time through proximity. And our biggest challenges these days is to be able to create connections, especially to the new people or the new community that we’re trying to serve is a challenge. But how do we create innovation around that? That our human existence exist on creating proximity before you can create relationship. So I’ve been blessed with A great team. Christina Dunham has been really inspirational and had given us a great platform and ways to innovate in finding others and creating connection to the other communities. So it’s been a very challenging times, but very rewarding to say the least, because we discovered ourselves through this crisis. So we do appreciate the generous question, Valerie.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yeah, well, I believe that, and I’ve watched a lot of our clients, a lot of home care agencies out there, providers of services, of all kinds who were completely shut out and feeling really nervous and really hopeless maybe for a minute, find some super creative, innovative ways to still reach out to their community, to still reach out to their marketing partners. They may not be able to step in the door, but that doesn’t mean they can’t go and wave and say hi and leave a goody basket or something at the door or just let everybody know you’re thinking about them in some way. And we’ve seen some wonderfully creative ways that communities of senior care providers all the way around have been supporting each other. And I think coming together to support each other in a time like this, and I think this has made us all take a good look at the future and ways that we communicate with each other and ways that we support each other.

            And hopefully some of that will change in the future. We’re all in this together. And I don’t care how many home care agencies open up in a 25 mile radius. I’m pretty sure that none of them could actually care for as many people as needed to be cared for. So we already each other’s competition, but we need to work together because we’re all going after the same common goal, is to take care of those folks.

Thomas Rocas:

Right. I see them as a collaborator, as allies, more than a competition, because really you’re right. We cannot really take care of the whole space. But also there are people who are more appropriate, I would say, or have been better persons that could take care of a certain population. So really we are in a very unique space.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yeah, absolutely. I think everybody has their strengths. And if we recognize that and refer people to the right places, the right kinds of services, we’re all better off. So thank you. Okay. What piece of advice would you give to other senior care providers?

Thomas Rocas:

I’ve been thinking about that. I think the first word that comes into my mind is empathy. This crisis that we are in right now will create a lot of survival instinct to all of us and survival instinct can be perceived as selfish. And I think, some of the things that we need to realize that we are all human, whether you are a CEO or somewhere down the pipeline, we are all human. We have reactions, we have survival instinct and we cannot control that. And I think what we can control is us having more empathy, more patience, understanding, and hope that things would get better. I think that’s on top of my mind, empathy.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

That’s a great one. And we don’t hear enough of that, and I know everybody means that, but really having empathy for one another in a time like this, it’s a little hard some days, but it’s definitely something we all need to think about. Everybody’s fighting their own battles in here and maybe in their house or whatever, that we’re all trying to work through our own thing. And adding a pandemic to that does not help anyone. So giving everybody a little break, I think is really a good thing. So I appreciate that.

Thomas Rocas:

If you don’t mind, Valerie, I want to give a shout out to all the parents out there who was forced to use their space as a parent, but also play the model, the role of what they do at work. And I was talking about this with our staff yesterday, that’s difficult, turning yourself off and become a parent in a space where you’re used to be a parent is difficult. So shout out to all the parents out there.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Well, I know I appreciate that. Because we have three 14 year olds here in our house and, yeah I have triplets and they did a brilliant job of first semester of this school year they were home and did virtual school. And then the second semester they got to go back and they did great both ways, they’re very adaptable. And we just had to make adaptations to noise levels and things like that. Not that they’re noisy. I mean, they are 14, so they pretty much don’t really want to be around. But we were really together for a long time. It’s a lot of togetherness, but it was good. It was fun. And I think that people can take away from this two different attitudes.

            One, I’ve heard people say, “Well, it was a year of loss.” If you were afraid of going outside or whatever it is. But I found that it was a year of a lot of togetherness, but understanding the value of being there with your family. And when it comes right down to it, there is nothing more important than your family and being together and sticking together through thick and thin. So we really did learn a lot about ourselves and each other. And I think a lot of people did. People who travel, who didn’t travel for a whole year, realized the value in some cases of not having to travel. They were like, “Wow, kind of nice to stay at home for awhile.” So anyway, I think there’s some valuable lessons that we will have learned from all of this. All right, last question. When you have a win in life or in business, how do you like to celebrate?

Thomas Rocas:

I like to celebrate with the family. And small or big wins, we always celebrate. ANX, that’s one of our values, is to celebrate, this creates a mark on our success. Whether, again, as I said, it’s short-term or long-term or small or big, we always celebrate. Whether it’s to give kudos to our staff or kudos to my wife for being very patient, really celebrating with a family is very important for me. Now, my family is not just the people at home. My family is ANX. My family is also the community. So anytime that I can celebrate with them, whether it’s a text or phone call, or hopefully one of these days celebrate in a safe space or in a similar space, again, I’m looking forward to that.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yeah. Yeah. I think we all are, and I would agree celebrating with family or whoever it is that you call family is always important. So thank you for that. I appreciate it. Well, you’ve done a great job and your wisdom and your mission and vision and your values really shine through here. So thank you for helping us understand more about you, your business, and how you feel about what’s going on here in the world. So thank you.

Thomas Rocas:

Valerie, thank you for being generous of your time and your podcast. Thank you so much.