How do you meet the needs of an older adult? You have to pay attention to what matters to them. You have to work with the wisdom and experience they bring to the table. You have to honor their life stories, paying attention to any losses or trauma they may have suffered. And you need a bit of flexibility and creativity in order to think outside the box when it comes to figuring out how they can be engaged in life.
Join me to listen to my conversation with Paul E. Griffin III as we share thoughts, as a provider, on how to best serve older adults.
The best approach for meeting the needs of an older adult is one that takes into account their emotional needs – those things that matter most to them like respect for their dignity; opportunities for social connection; feeling useful; having control over their lives; maintaining good health…and so much more!
Listen to part 1 of our interview here: https://www.buzzsprout.com/765170/8285352-paul-e-griffin-iii-is-your-mom-slowing-down-more-than-she-thinks-part-1-of-2
[00:00] We can provide an environment, a setting to lend itself for that. But getting the folks to go along with it can be a challenge, especially if, they’re experiencing the later part of dementia or have dementia at some point.
[01:36] Having activities for seniors is great, but at times seniors need a nudge to get involved, and this is a form of care itself. How do you make sure that your staff treats their job as that of a caregiver?
[04:00] They all have different temperaments. They came to the community with different life journeys.
[08:54] The thing is it takes another human being with a heart to sit slowly, understand and relate and commiserate, and really reach into their heart and understand.
[11:13] How do you get your staff to find ways of including families in the care plan? Is there a way to make rewards for bringing in families and creating, an enjoyable experience for them?
[12:48] Meals are a great time to come together.
[13:16] Architecture comes into play.
[15:41] We’re in the housing, senior housing, we also need to consider we’re in the caring business, plus we’re in learning how to care best care for folks with dementia.
[18:07] You’re making some great impact for young baby boomers, the baby boomers, the silent generation. So you have to keep doing what you’re doing.
[20:25] Let’s emphasize the caregiving side.
[24:23] 10,000 a day turning 65 for the next several decades.
Paul E. Griffin III is the founder, Chief Executive Officer, and President of Griffin Living. A fifth-generation builder with forty years of expertise in real estate development, Paul was inducted into the Forbes Real Estate Council in 2020. Before founding Griffin Living, Paul has overseen the development of projects, including residential homes, apartment complexes, retail centers, and commercial office space. In his career, Paul has created over $4 billion in value and received numerous awards and honors, including Habitat for Humanity’s Builder of the Year (Hammer of Hope) and the Building Industry Association’s Builder of the Year.
You can learn more about Paul on his LinkedIn profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/paul-griffin-iii/
That’s all of our goal, but I’ll tell you, it, it has to be within the will and the purpose that the individual wants, right? That’s not something that we give them. We can provide an environment, a setting to lend itself for that. But getting the folks to go along with it can be a challenge, especially if, they’re experiencing the later part of dementia or have dementia at some point.
You kow, Hanh it’s. That is a great point. I hadn’t really thought about that before, but you’re absolutely right a minute and I will put this more into my thinking, but you’re right. Each person is at a different emotional part of their life cycle too. And it might not be necessarily so attached to their age. It might be generally about their age, but it could be losing a loved one or it could be, the hope of something that was going to happen for a child or loss of a child or grandchild that doesn’t do something, I, it could be anything and you’re right. That would have a huge impact.
So, having activities for seniors is great, but I know at times seniors need a nudge to get involved, and this is a form of care itself. So, how do you make sure that your staff treats their job as that of a caregiver?
I get my caregivers to see it that way rather than just taking care of these people, but rather to say, I want this to be the best time of this person’s life. And, the housekeeping staff that comes in, I know what my hero, my office, we’ve got a couple of people that are our housekeepers that are here all the time. And, I like it, it stopped in my office sometime and sit down and talk and tell me about their life. And, we’re just get to be friends and they’re vital and they make me feel vital. Housekeepers can be an important part of the contact and conversation. Certainly the activities you want to be darn sure their activities are reaching people bringing them down in a wheelchair and they’re weepy and they really don’t want to be there. I want a level of caregiver there, and this is really an arm wrestle to get this, The industry looks at activities at that level of have something interesting in the resident, involves themselves or they don’t, but we add it and then not everybody, but that, that generally is way its approach. I really am pushing hard and it’s selling to my own staff selling to them. Look, when you wheel somebody down, I’ve got an activity going on that the activity director is, has going. You are the caregiver for this person right now with this activity. This person may be here and crying and missing. Their kids are missing their life. Just sit with them and assure them and have them just think about what’s going on. And you’ve created the activity yourself today for that person. Other people are more active and they can get out more. And, want to make sure bunch of them, bunch of residents got together and said, when’s baseball start and when can we go back? W I was thinking if I guy, so go to Braves stadium or Dodger stadium was, are big, and that would be fun, but is they, weren’t just asking this, saying to my guys I wonder if there are either minor league teams or college teams, and when they might start there, And if people like baseball and spring, that might be something that we really could do and could be scalable in terms of activities and comfort of coming and going when they need to have our residents. But they’re two sides of the coin, I want to make sure we really hit both And the other is, Hey, I’m going to go to a baseball game or, museums or whatever it happens to be, and make sure that we’re doing them.
They all have different temperaments. They came to the community with different life journeys, right? Perhaps some, loss of loved one. Now they’re alone, not only living alone, but also like alone is in a loss of a loved one. And then maybe they don’t have their family nearby. So they all have a heritage that is now, The community’s responsibility to uphold and although we might have the best engagement programs and all of that, I’m sure they’re all out there, but I think it’s so important. You say, how do you heart to heart connect with these folks and get them to do things that is very difficult for them to do. Because like I said, some of them might feel like they don’t know how to make friends. I wasn’t active before. And it’s really hard for me to get active right now. And I lost, someone that I’ve been married to 50 plus years. It can be a difficult journey and a transition as they move into the community and continue to live vibrantly. That’s all of our goal, but I’ll tell you, it, it has to be within the will and the purpose that the individual wants, right? That’s not something that we give them. We can provide an environment, a setting to lend itself for that. But getting the folks to go along with it can be a challenge, especially if, they’re experiencing the later part of dementia or have dementia at some point.
No, Hanh it’s. It was a great point. I hadn’t really thought about that before, but you’re absolutely right a minute and I will put this more into my thinking, but you’re right. Each person is at a different emotional part of their life cycle too. And it might not be necessarily so attached to their age. It might be generally about their age, but it could be losing a loved one or it could be, the hope of something that was going to happen for a child or loss of a child or grandchild that doesn’t do something, I, it could be anything and you’re right. That would have a huge impact. I know to have a huge impact on how I felt and the approach that I have every day and, what I felt like doing. And so you’re absolutely right. I was thinking when I was talking about, the, how vital people, no matter where they are in their life cycle. I was in a meeting with a group of businessmen that I have been involved with for many years. And we had a gerontologist come to tuxes top of gerontologists. And one of the questions was being asked to see, what about assisted suicide? I think we need to be able to do that. And one of my other friends and. The doctor was saying so in this case, the guy was asking about his sister who was sick and he was like, she wants to end her life and I want to do it for her. I think you need two doctors that I can’t get them to do it. And then our guest, the gerontologist city, because we’re not in the business of ending people’s lives, we’re in the business of helping them live. And nobody’s arguing about the laws or anything else, or your religious values, w we’re arguing about is you’re asking me to do something I just don’t want to do, I don’t want people to die. I want them to live that’s. That is what I do. And I thought about it and I appreciated his answer. And, he was saying what is your sister afraid of? She deserves a clean, dry add and comfort with medication. If she needs it. And dignity and respect and chill. Let go, when she’s ready to let go, you don’t need to be so afraid of this, in the disaster scenarios that people get in their mind to talk about this. There’s another guy there is in, why are we thinking about your sister’s life has no value now where she is that she’s healthy enough to have the conversations, why would he be encouraging her to think that way versus, no, we’ve got so many things to talk about and memories and new ideas and, w why think. That this is just the end of my life. And it doesn’t matter. All I’m doing is waiting to die. So it was a few years ago and had a lot of impact on me in the assisted living businesses, what their mind is, are we just warehousing people that are getting ready to die, warehousing them to die. Everybody I talked to in the industry, says that is the hangup that people think that’s our business, We’re not in that business and the other guys I know in the industry, there’s great leaders in this industry. They don’t think that way. And I think it’s a society, it overall, we need to think, you’re, you love your mom. You don’t want her to, check out before it’s her time. And if she’s 95 in his last capacity, wonders, happy as can be in whatever situation sin. And that’s where your heart is for her. Now, her, she may be thinking the best place for her in the spirit of time is, in the back of your house and, running errands, if she could. And you’re thinking, but that’s not right. Your capacities are less than you think they are. But in this center that I’ve, that I arranged for you. And I have for you. There’s every activity that you possibly can absorb and every, comfort that we can bring to you. So your life is as good as it possibly can be. And, she may just be depressed to see, as you’re you’re right. A hundred, it might just be, I’d be depressed. If my wife died, I’d be. I’m pretty sure she’ll out- live me. Start healthy. I’d be really depressed. Absolutely.
The thing is it takes another human being with a heart to sit slowly, understand and relate and commiserate, and really reach into their heart and understand. And the thing is if we have such a high turnover, those individuals don’t say around long enough to invest into, the resident to dig in and reach their hearts. And here’s the thing, in my opinion, It doesn’t matter what beautiful surroundings there are, the best caregivers there are, but I think wholeheartedly underneath it, older adult, the grandparents or grandfather, do you know what? They need? Two things, their family in a growth in their spirit. You know what I mean? And that’s not something a caregiver can fill.
We want, and I facilitated every way that we can, but you’re right. And I, that, that is absolutely true. So by the architecture of our building, doesn’t make up for the care that we have, the activities that we have, the animation in our restaurants, any of that, they all have to happen. And the care, the direct contact with our resident needs to really approach that person as a human being and where they are in life and what can we do for them? And I liked what you just said there, about their spirit, because our bodies are giving out. My body isn’t the same as it was when I was your age. It’s just not, and it’s not going to be it. I’m not unhappy. My spirit is, is great. This is life cycle. That God put here for me and, that’s, that is it. And there’s no reason to not be joyful about it. So I am, but that’s a personal choice, and if we could. Think about it and, everybody has a different approach, to their life and their philosophy about life. And, our job, if we care about them is to think about, okay, we here is their philosophy and how can we work with their philosophy towards their own life and enhance that and encourage it so that they’re as happy as they can be. It’s really what we’re rafter Hanh. And I, I think he makes me just a maximum points here. I do, I was thinking also for you. I don’t know if you’re married or have
Yeah, I have three kids. I’ve been married. Yes. I’ve been married 29 years.
Oh, wow. Fantastic. Excellent. So I, one of the things that are at our centers, we’re thinking about for, our 50 something daughters with their mothers and fathers is okay, this also needs to be comfortable for your daughter to come into.
So, how do you get your staff to find ways of including families in the care plan? Now, is there a way to make rewards for bringing in families and creating, an enjoyable experience for them?
We’ve got several centers that are up and running and, we are paying close attention, but I’m thinking and noticing. So for loneliness and COVID was a poo gosh, just a huge setback in terms of loneliness for a residents, for their own protection and for our staff’s protection actually. But, for our resident, as we go on our thought was, and is that the restaurants, if the restaurant is excellent, 50 year old daughter is happy. She’d be happy to see your mom anyway, but if she’s going to be there and say, this is a nice experience, she’s a little happier about going and feels better about it. And then I think the absolute home run about this as if she’s there in the evening and she’s talking to her husband, And she says, food’s good here. You’re happy when you come here, we could see my mom and we have to fix dinner anyway. So let’s have it here. And she starts to come more and about that. And I was just starting to put this across door staff and we will do it as we get past COVID and I can do it, but a bonus to the whole restaurant staff, if husband joins, or if husband is there and wife joins that says you’re doing your job because that means the restaurant is good enough that people want to be there. And that. Really tells me that gives us more opportunity for the resident, the mother, father, or mother, and father to have more contact with their family. We…
And come together right.
Meals are really great time to be it. Yeah, there…
Exactly. That’s a great idea because, and not only that, if the daughter, husband have children that are coming home, so now it becomes a family gathering, but not at home, but it grandma’s home, a beautiful meal. So I think that lends itself for another environment for engagement. As if you’re having dinner, Thanksgiving dinner.
Yeah, and I didn’t architecture might come into play into, so it’s clean light, fresh. You walk in and you feel good if you are the 25 year old granddaughter, 20 old granddaughter, you walk in with your mom and your dad, and you feel good about when you walk in, I’m happy to be here. And in fact, we might be doing a good service as an industry at that point, also, because if we got it, if we can get our, gen Z or as that are coming up now to engage with our parents, our grandparents, and see that as an active, important part of their life. And they can be involved with and not be afraid of it. The reason the Chinese pushed us into going into senior housing is because a is a culture. They really are interested in taking care of their next generation, but they don’t have enough kids there. Their one child policy just destroyed their ability to manage. They’re seniors and they’re doing it with technology and big senior centers. I will tell you traveling all over China with them and looking at major investments with them there and here and what we did with them. They’re smart about it. They do care desperately about the respect of the, of their older people, the grandparents that are there, and they’re really trying to find, and they also have different segments of their market. One was we were working and we didn’t get it off the ground with them, but it was a little cutting edge for them. We worked with their ministry of housing in China, was to create a whole region of a wine, a new wine growing region because the climate was good and the soils are good, but to create as a destination and then create our senior centers there. And that the they’re a little bit wealthier. They could live away from the cities, which are huge in China. And they could also Have their families. The working family members come and spend vacation times and really come and look forward to being with their parents and have it be, very uplifting. I think just there are, around the world. Every society is needing to think about this more seriously and how we can use, our better technology and our resource scarce resources, which are time from, our working level and care, which comes from every segment about our seniors and make that a put a lot of dignity in and a lot of care and love and have them know they’re loved as much as babies if your kids, you don’t get married and start having children, how happy you’ll be for grandchildren, but have everybody be as happy to see your mom.
Exactly. Exactly. And, as you were speaking, I’m thinking in my mind, so if we’re in the, let’s say housing, senior housing, we also need to consider we’re in the caring business, plus we’re in learning how to care best care for folks with dementia. So we need to understand that deeply, how to communicate to folks with dementia, we need to consider ways to not only care for that particular resident, but their family, because that family component, in my opinion, on a personal level, that’s huge because the eyes that lit up. When my mom sees me, don’t get me wrong. She loves the caregiver, but her eyes lit up. When she sees me, my, myself, my sisters and their grandchildren. Let me tell you, and not that we’re undermining caregivers. I love caregivers. I think they’re underappreciated, but I’ll tell you, we have to consider all of that senior housing in a caregiving business. Also knowing how to care for dementia and also what to do, to integrate activities, to include the spouse of the daughter and the grandchildren. And if you have all those components, I tell you it’s a big party.
What’s really invigorated me in a whole passion is about seniors, 50 year old daughters and families and what they need the real estate it’s great. I, the entitlement, the general contracting, the marketing and sales, all of this comes together in, in business and isn’t really enough. It was great for my career. It isn’t really enough now to think about this next dimension to the business, the care, whether it’s the restaurants or the activities or caregiving are. Really keeping my spirit going and I’m enjoying it. I’m enjoying being part of the conversation. You’ve given me several ideas. I will get you the book that was written by the the dementia doctor here and in California. I think he’s probably excellent and well regarded and has good ideas. I’d like to learn more about it. And more about all of these areas. And in, in issues and, spend the next part of my career and I’m happy working. I think I have some value to add as long as I do, I’ll stay involved. The next generation is pushing up by me, the next Griffin Zira at they’re from Harvard and Stanford and Chicago and Oxford, and they’re smart kids. And they’re looking to shoot me out of the saddle and that day comes, I’m fine. Shoot me. And I’m out of the saddle and just try to advise them to let them go.
In the meantime, you’re making some great impact for young baby boomers, the baby boomers, the silent generation. So you got to keep doing what you’re doing.
We do. Yeah. I appreciate meeting people like you Hanh. It’s nice to have people that are thinking about it and bringing other ideas in. And there are some, just some excellent people in this industry, big and small, alike. And they’re really thinking about different situations and, approaching the supply side of this, which includes the real estate and the care and the medicine. And it’s an exciting time. Fun to be in. Hanh I, I really enjoyed this. You had several good ideas for me. Thank you. And, help the industry and people think about things a little bit more, we have been a major force in housing and real estate develop master plans. Nothing that I was so brilliant about it came about from generations and evolve into it. And gosh, how I think about it. I came in to a family business that was up and running was several hundred million dollars a year in sales. And I’ve walked in and it had McKinsey and great consultants and price water as everybody’s here. And I walked into it and in California, which did nothing but grow through those 40 years or 50 years of it, that I’ve been working and I’ve been very fortunate to be in a, in a fast moving stream. This next part of my life is interesting. It’s still a fast moving stream, but it’s nothing I’ve walked into. This is new, the industry isn’t developed yet. And we’re really dealing with a segment now that our, your mom and my mom and dad, and, they’re the silent generation. And they were just givers and they worked hard and did their duty and, grew up through just a lot of turmoil, a lot of great things happen, but a lot of turmoil, Baby boomers are used to having everything they want everything that we want. And they’re 70, like the first boomers, 76 years old this year, and they’re going to come at it right. That’s going to be another new title. It’d be fun. I hope I’m able to be so healthy and active as the boomers really hit. Cause I think it will be an exciting time to, I appreciate that. You come at it as the 50 year old daughter, as a mother and a wife. You’re you actually live it more than I do. And I appreciate your perspectives, your thoughts about what it’s really like to be living these questions.
I want to put emphasis on the caregiving side and I don’t know if you’ve listened to some of the other ones. I’m, that’s where my heart is heavy. And I I want to be driving that, to put it in the forefront that there’s nothing shameful as you. Approach the later years and if you’re healthy client, and if you do need a care giver and there’s nothing wrong with that, because it does not give up your power. If you need someone to care for you, and there’s nothing wrong with aging, because that comes with the wisdom, the attitude, it’s really a paradigm shift that I think we need to put it out in the forefront.
I do. And that value that we put on people as they get older, I know it must be hard as you get older to say, I need somebody to feed me maybe, that is the humility. I don’t know what God wants us to do this on, but that is his pick. And no matter if you’re not philosophy philosophically, monotheistic and you just see the world as where we even saw, this is life, and we don’t second guessing and saying therefore, only new life is good life. Makes us not very much look to says it doesn’t say much about our society and our people. And we have to, I think as a corporate level, we have, all of society has to have this view and be like our Chinese and our Japanese. They absolutely Revere their parents know that they do know that and they treat them that way. They act that way. And I think that’s really important for us to come about. I don’t think it’s that we don’t value them, as Americans and I think it’s that we are integrated and involved in focusing on what we’re doing every day, and kids are going to school to, to achieve in school and they’re working hard at it. And, you’re working hard and raising kids and having your business and your husband’s working hard and we’re all just so focused. We don’t have the time to actually be human beings and care about people that are past all of that. The way that we should. Many of these, we don’t want to, I think it’s that we just haven’t thought about it enough. And now we’re going to need to think about it. And given the demographic shift it, whether we think about it or not, it’s, it’s going to be in our lap and we’re going to deal with it. And we will on, we will your mom and my mom and dad they’re the silent generation and they’re No know a smaller cohort bigger than the generation before them, the, the great generation, they’re a little bigger than that generation, but there are, they didn’t live as long and they didn’t need as much. It’s really going to be my age in 10 years old, or so the generation just ahead of yours, we’re going to, they’re going to be a lot of us. And we, aren’t going to be able to hide from the fact that we’re probably going to live a long time still and have the dementias and need the different kinds of cares in different parts of our bodies will break down and, w we’ll need different things. We’re going to all hope that we have a daughter like you, that will care about us enough to help us through it. This COVID, thing’s interesting. The sickest people, I know one dead, one hospitalized, almost dead. And another one dead all happened from home caregivers. It’s not that he couldn’t get it from anywhere, but home caregivers don’t have, there’s no regulation really go to go home. You’re with people, you’re doing whatever you’re doing. And you walk straight into someone’s house that could happen at our senior centers. We’re trying to take their temperature, ask them where they’ve been put strict guidelines on are our people at our centers to say, you can’t go to a family gathering. Sorry. If you’re going to do something like that, I need you to isolate for three weeks or whatever it is. We’re trying to put it, but not that one of our caregivers couldn’t do it. How would we really know? We don’t follow them home. We take their temperature. They do agree to these things. They’ve all agreed. And, immediately have vaccinations. We didn’t enforce them. We just said what everybody like vaccination so far, everybody said yes. All of this is the change in, in. We know what our needs are, whether it’s home health care for part of the time and live at home. And there would probably be a time when that’s nice solution for a lot of people. And then as they need more care living in a center where it’s more affordable and maybe the care can be a little bit more, integrated with all of the needs.
10,000 a day. The next several decades, and it’s a good thing. There’s options
Hanh we’re not even nearly at 10,000 a day at 76 years old every day.
I remember when it was 65 when I first was looking at it really? And yeah, now it’s 10 years later, 11 years later. Now it’s 75, 76 this year, will turn, 10,000 and they’re not, the 75 year olds might be looking for some nice retirement move out to golf communities. What have you. They might they might move to the 55 plus apartments, which are about six, right? Because then they just don’t want to be around all the kids in the rental units. But they’re not really ready for, true independent living or true assisted living for another five years anyway. But when the silent generation that’s, there is filling the projects that are out there and other older projects are dropping off as they get to be too old and new ones coming in. So it’s a pretty healthy economy and senior housing. And then as the next generation hits and their demands will be, so I think far beyond, what’s been demanded to date in terms of lifestyle and issues and see how their health goes. Maybe some breakthroughs can be done. We’ve made great breakthroughs in cancer. Certainly in heart disease. The next thing to give out is going to be, dementia. How can we start to manage that? Hun. Thank you. Thanks. I just enjoy talking to you so much. I’ll gab on for hours. Thank you for having me. We will schedule a follow-up if you would like to talk to me more, I’d love to talk to you. I’m enjoying this. Your, your persona with your mom and your husband and your kids are just make you a perfect person for me to talk to and your ideas and what you know, and what you think. So thank you.
Absolutely. I thank you so much for your time. And I’m very thankful for this opportunity.
Absolutely Hanh. Thanks.