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Episode 26 of the Senior Care Industry Netcast is live!

About This Episode:

We were fortunate enough to have Jae Edgar Bennett, CEO and Founder of KC Street Medicine on our show and he offered some great insight and #advice for other #seniorcare and #healthcare providers.

About KC Street Medicine

The word “medicine” for us has a deeper meaning.  We treat the mind, body, and spirit by addressing homelessness holistically. 
CEO and Founder- Jae Edgar Bennett

Street Medicine KC provides vital medical and psychological services directly to those experiencing homelessness. We do this by bringing our mobile services straight to the need by meeting our clients where they are, our backpack medicine groups. Street Medicine also works directly out of the clinic providing mental health and medical services to those in need. Our services are the first essential step in achieving higher levels of care through assertive, coordinated, and collaborative medical management.

Every night, more than 2,000 people in the greater Kansas City area sleep on the streets, in their cars, and in homeless encampments along the rivers. Thousands more live in temporary shelters and couch surf just to have a roof over their heads. Because of medical and behavioral health neglect, the life expectancy of a homeless person is 27 years less than someone who is not homeless.

Street Medicine KC was founded in 2016. We are now a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. We are actively looking for advisors, medical navigators, and volunteers to help run our program.

EP 26: The Senior Care Industry Netcast with Jae Edgar Bennett, StreetMedicineKC.org 1
Jae Edgard Bennett and Volunteers- KC Street Medicine

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 right to it.

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

Jae Edgar Bennett:

My name is Jae Edgar Bennett, I’m executive director and founder of Street Medicine KC.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Awesome. And tell us a little bit about what that means.

Jae Edgar Bennett:

Got it. So Street Medicine KC is a bunch of nurses, doctors, and therapists that primarily hit the streets under the bridges and homeless encampments and provide direct services and build a bridge for them to actually get service that they needed, whether it’s a primary care physician, housing, social services, and really heavy on the mental health.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Wow. Dude, can you do this in every state and every Metro area right now?

Jae Edgar Bennett:

We’re trying, Street Medicine Institute’s been around since 1992 with Dr. Jim Withers the founder, and we’re in about 110 cities now and some kind of form, or countries rather. We are moving forward doing that everywhere.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Great. That’s awesome. Okay. What is the best thing about serving aging adults? And I’m going to imagine that you serve way more than aging adults, but what’s the best thing about what you do?

Jae Edgar Bennett:

So a quick thing about individuals that we primarily serve, they’re homeless. So on average, their life expectancy is about 27 years shorter than those that are housed. So that being said, when it comes to the elderly or senior care, that can be 50, 55 or 62. Those that are 55 and 62, it’s a lot easier for us to house them and get them the medical service they need because of their age and what the Federal Government when it comes to Medicaid or Medicare can provide for them.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yeah, now, that’s true. Absolutely. They can start down the road in Medicare. That moment makes life easier for so many of us [crosstalk 00:02:00] because health insurance is just crazy. Right?

Jae Edgar Bennett:

I really wish that our states either Kansas or Missouri were Medicaid expanded and if that was, Oh my Lord, would it make our job a lot easier, and save lives.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

How do you approach online marketing?

Yes. Absolutely. Okay. I hear from other senior service providers, let’s talk, we’re going to switch our gears a little bit here and talk about marketing online. You guys have a beautiful website, lots of great information there. And I will put that down at the bottom of the screen, so everybody can know more about what you do.

                But I hear that, online marketing can be challenging, it’s confusing, it’s definitely ever-changing. What are your thoughts or experiences on how to get the word out?

Jae Edgar Bennett:

So before I did this, I was a director at marketing for Services in state of Kansas. I can tell you that the best thing to do is make sure that any online marketing is proved or vetted by the people they trust, which is normally their primary care physicians or their well-established physicians they’re already dealing with. If they’re vetted through there, it seems that this population tends to really buy in and once they buy in, they don’t change, they’re committed.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yeah, that’s true. You know what? Our doctors and nurses advice holds a whole lot of weight for our senior population. And you’re right, if it’s vetted through, if they say that’s probably correct, then that’s the way it is. That’s right.

                All right. I would imagine there are other successful leaders in the senior care industry or in the industry that you serve, like yourself that have made a difference in your life either personally or professionally, or have been an inspiration to you, or organizations like yours that maybe have been an inspiration.

Who would you like to tell us about?

Jae Edgar Bennett:

I would talk about both hospice cares that are in our Metro area, and how they deal and respond to those that are end of life situations, and what that looks like and means. They have been not only just caring, but also supportive to what we do.

                Like I said, we’re a volunteer base, so when we get free supplies from those individuals and those organizations it’s very helpful. But I’ve got to learn a lot about them and how they deal with the elderly care and senior, and it’s just to me, some of the best care out there and best people out there working.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yep. Our hospice providers are definitely angels.

Jae Edgar Bennett:

Oh, yes.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

No doubt about it, no doubt. I don’t know if I could have ever done that. I’m a nurse by trade, but I don’t know, that is some of the most rewarding and the toughest also, and they are just angels, so absolutely.

                All right.

What piece of advice would you give our senior care providers who are out there right now?

Jae Edgar Bennett:

Listen, just listen. That’s really it. Build a rapport just by listening. I would say, don’t try to sell anything or present anything, but when it comes to marketing, if you’re simply listening, then you’re getting where you need to get to, because they’re speaking to you.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yeah, that’s true. If they’re talking, they’re interested in sharing and that’s half the battle and being good listeners is what we owe our seniors, listening to what they have to say.

                All right. So my last question is supposed to be my fun one, but every one says, it’s the hardest one. So I’ll elaborate a little bit. When you have a win in life, oh, I can be professionally, personally, and a win could be anything from someone maybe they are off the streets and they got housing or just making someone’s day happy.

When you have a win, how do you like to celebrate?

Jae Edgar Bennett:

A few years ago I would have had a couple of drinks, these days … but I still do. These days I kind of just stop and tell the story. I don’t tell a lot of my story a lot, when we’re out there doing what we do, but I’ll tell you this one quickly. Last week Monday, a gentlemen 61 years old, he turned 62 on the 10th. So we can’t move into the department until the 10th, but we already have all of this furniture lined up.

                We’re going to have a good little celebration for him, some cake, ice cream. And for me, when that happens, that’s when I stop and breathe. Right, you realize what you’re doing, because the rest of the days, I just go, go, go, go, go. We all just go.

                And then we don’t realize until the end of a success story like that for this man, and we just stopped and like, “Wow.” It’s like freezing a moment in time. And then that’s when I celebrate, that’s when I know I’m celebrating, because normally I don’t celebrate much, I just keep to the grind.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yeah, absolutely. We do that. It’s hard for us to stop because we have another person that needs help. We have another thing we can do, another person that we can work with, but yeah, celebrating. We’ve had a lot of folks on the show, some of them, well, one of them took his bottle, a well-respected hospice physician. Picks a bottle of Tequila from under the desk and said, “A little bit of this.” So-

Jae Edgar Bennett:

A little bit of [inaudible 00:06:58]with one tube.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

You never know. So, I think everybody has their own way of celebrating and we are very busy and as we get older, I think, a little bit of celebration goes a long way for me.

Jae Edgar Bennett:

Amen.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

So, yeah. Well, thank you so much for doing the show and for educating us about what you do, because this is definitely a little bit different from what we normally hear about, but your story, and your website alone tells an amazing story. So I appreciate that, and we’ll definitely make sure lots of folks get to see what you have to offer. Thank you so much, I appreciate it.

Jae Edgar Bennett:

Thank you Valerie, take care.