Senior Living Operator of 28 Years With a Heart to Serve The Elderly With Nestor Eligio

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Nestor Eligio, AAHA, CDAL
Nestor Eligio, AAHA, CDAL

Today my guest is Nestor Eligio, AAHA, CDAL, a senior living operator for 28 years. A successful Executive Director for various Senior Living communities including Sunrise Senior living, MBK Senior living, Silverado, brook dale, and he was senior commissioner of Pasadena Summerville Senior living.Nestor has devoted his life in the senior living industry working in partnership with health care, Sales, Physician Relations, Business Management, Financial management, and Healthcare Management. We are blessed to have Nestor in thus industry with a hear to serve the elderly. Hey Nestor, Welcome and thank you for being here!

Nestor Eligio: [00:01:37] Always love to share about the senior living industry.

[00:01:40] So I’m excited about it as well.

Hanh Brown: [00:01:42] So share with us your journey, uh, past 28 years, your story and how you got started in the senior living as an opera.

Nestor Eligio: [00:01:50] Yeah, it’s a very interesting story for me. I actually started a freshman in high school. And so I was looking for a part-time job. I came from a, from a family where mom was a single mom.

[00:02:01] So I needed to, I was the oldest son and I wanted a bicycle to go to school in high school and mom couldn’t afford it. So she said, if you can get half of the money and I’ll get the other half and interesting enough, there was a retirement back then the, in the very early nineties, so used to call them retirement hotels.

[00:02:18] So there was like a lot of hotels with the name retirement hotel. And so across the street was one. And I walked in and asked if they were hiring and there was like three other people waiting to be interviewed that day. And they were all high school kids. And, uh, and I knew a few of them and they hired most of us.

[00:02:38] It was interesting. I always told the story where I was at the right place at the right time. One of those kids was playing the piano for the residents and they were just loving it. He was talented kid playing the piano, but it was his turn to go interview. And when he was called, he said something like, I’ll be with you in a minute.

[00:02:57] And cause he wanted to finish playing the piano. And I guess the supervisor that was hiring said, wow, you can’t even take directions. She looked at me and she said, are you next? I said, yes. She goes, you know how to wash dishes? I said, yeah, of course. And so she like, you’re hired.

Hanh Brown: [00:03:12] Well, whether or not you believe in luck, there’s something to be said for being in the right place.

[00:03:16] And at the right time.

Nestor Eligio: [00:03:17] I got the job and he kept playing the piano. And then obviously he knew he didn’t get the job. So I stayed at that community for about eight, nine years during high school. I just. Wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. Right. I was a kid trying to figure out life and really didn’t have that grandparents.

[00:03:34] I didn’t have that father figure. So the resonant at that time, that generation of residents were like my family. They would encourage me to continue to go to school. They were encouraging me to get my education and they would encourage me to move up within the community. So I started as a dishwasher, went in as a waiter, then dining room supervisor, then breakfast cook.

[00:03:54] And then I said, bronze, I got closer to graduating high school. I wanted to be a caregiver. And, uh, went into that role, went into that role as a caregiver and then met technician, which was a key part of the element at that time, helping the residents with their medication management and then just went off from there and was able to just master a little bit of everything within the community.

[00:04:16] Not. Feel afraid of it. And again, always have the support of the residents. I think without them, I probably wouldn’t be where I’m sitting at today as a, as an executive director and operator. So that’s where I’m at. And the rest is just history. I did the sales and marketing for 10 years and, uh, was involved in that and was very successful at it.

[00:04:36] And then got the opportunity to sit as the operator at a community in Pasadena. And then from there. That was it I’ve been doing now as executive director for a little bit over seven years now. So it’s, it’s been good.

Hanh Brown: [00:04:50] The wellbeing of our parents is our ultimate wish as they age and live out their last years of their lives.

[00:04:56] In caring for your parents. What I mean is caring for their emotional, mental, and physical wellbeing. As much as you may appreciate the communities and the services that it comes with, you shouldn’t let the presence of a caregiver take your place in the lives of your aging pair.

Nestor Eligio: [00:05:11] Absolutely. I think that was a key component of the time.

[00:05:14] And that’s probably the signs of the times now that we’re facing challenging times with hiring. New staff. And then it’s just a revolving door. I think the industry knows that it’s a hard thing to find the right person that has that heart and compassion for the elderly. Again, I can tell you when I started in that field and back in early nineties, there’s still a handful of friends that got in that field and are still in the field and they’re still passionate for what they do.

[00:05:42] And. And we weren’t the best kids in high school, but we kept our noses clean and we were able to just continue based on what our residents were telling us to do and their stories, and, you know, they lived history. So hearing their stories would make us even more humble at what they went through at that community.

[00:06:00] I worked at a particularly, it was an all Jewish community, so I had a lot of Holocaust survivors, so they would share their stories. And so I had to be very humbled by them.

Hanh Brown: [00:06:10] So, what significant changes have you seen in this industry over the years?

Nestor Eligio: [00:06:15] Well, two things I have seen that has definitely changed, uh, within the decade that I, that I was starting in one is that I just will go back a little bit, as we talked about hiring employees and the team that would come in with a passion.

[00:06:30] Definitely. That’s been a challenge that there’s a different generation that’s coming in and supporting our residents that needs a lot of validation, but at the same time growth, right. Everybody wants to grow. And I think at a pace you can grow. And so I’m seeing that as a, as a challenge. I do see there are so many operators in one area that there might be multiple staff members working in multiple places at the same time.

[00:06:52] So we are, we’re all sharing caregivers, which is. Good. And it can be a challenge as well for, for our residents. So operators that have key programs for their hiring process are key benefits and everything else. I think we’re all at an, at a, at a common goal with what we give our employees, but there’s more than that.

[00:07:15] Daycare programs for their children or the ability to be able to bring their, their children to the community and to have intergenerational programs for the residents. I think those are key little elements that make a huge difference to retain employees. I think that’s going to be key moving forward.

[00:07:31] The other thing that I saw in my time that’s changed within the last, yeah, definitely 28 years. There’s a higher acuity for sure. Uh, I totally remember going into work, uh, at a very young age and hardly seen wheelchairs and walkers in our communities. It was not something that we were even, we would see.

[00:07:51] Uh, most of our residents were very active. Uh, I could tell you as a med technician, back in those days, Medications were that were prescribed to our elderly were very few. There wasn’t a lot of medications that we would get. They were actually prescribed a lot of over the counter stuff, multivitamins and things like that.

[00:08:07] But now we’re seeing a huge increase on, on the prescribed medications from the physicians, which is, again, it changes the acuity of the, of the community. There’s a higher need and care, uh, residents coming in with more activities of daily living that definitely. Is needed in assisted living. So, and I think that’s where the word started coming.

[00:08:27] Right. So, as I said, when I started, uh, I would hear things like retirement hotel and then the word assisted living came in place right after I think it was something that was, it was embraced. So we knew that assisted living was, it was the game changer there. And now that’s what we’re doing. We’re assisting our residents while they’re.

[00:08:46] Reciting with us. That’s what I’ve seen us as far as changes. Uh, there’s a big demand for dementia communities, uh, memory care neighborhoods, you know, that’s something we didn’t have in tho in those times we weren’t even aware if those behaviors were normal or what they were, but now with the, all the education and, and dementia and Alzheimer’s, I think it’s, I think we’re a little bit more ahead of the game on what, how to provide care for someone that’s going through that challenge in life.

Hanh Brown: [00:09:15] So, from my personal experience with my mom who has dementia, you really need to look at your loved one’s needs and then assess all the possible solution to get them the help that they need. You’ve got to look at what’s their ability to perform daily living activities, such as self-feeding moving well-performing activities, such as getting in and out of bed in and out of a chair, dressing, bathing, showering, personal hygiene, and so forth.

[00:09:41] What forward feedback do you want to share with developers and designers in constructing new senior living?

Nestor Eligio: [00:09:48] And then I think it’s really depends on the area. What they’re developing, obviously rural areas. There’s a lot of space, a lot of common space to be shared in inner city or wide programs or communities that are being developed.

[00:10:03] You three floors and up they’re limited in space. So they’re building common areas within the community. I think one of the key things, and we’re seeing it now, I’ve been seeing this in the last five, six years. I ran communities in Arizona and I ran communities here in California, and I’m seeing a bigger family involvement.

[00:10:20] I’m seeing grandkids involved. I see more younger generation coming and visiting their grandparents. I think that’s so neat seeing that. And so we that’s our, our audience, not only is it our. New potential administrators, operators, developers. They there’s gotta be something we can build in communities where it computer lab for the kids to come in, or, um, a game area where.

[00:10:44] The grandkids can come play a play area for toddlers all the way up to six, seven year olds, a wild granddad and their parents are watching them play. I mean, something like that, you go to the mall for that stuff. I have two twins five-year-olds and our escape for my wife and I is like, let’s go to the mall, let’s go shopping.

[00:11:02] And then we’ll take the kids to play on the playground. Um, and you see grand parents sitting there with their kids. So those are little things that I think are important. Family spaces is great. Most of the beautiful communities that open up that are five stars will have these beautiful, luscious lounges.

[00:11:19] And you’ll, we’ll see them being used a lot occasionally for an event or something like that. But, but I think we’ve got to go back to, to the, to our beginnings where it’s, it’s a family, it should be a family oriented community. So. And breaking the myth, right. Are, think my kids, I have two different generation of children in my life.

[00:11:38] My five-year-old twins and my 24 and 22 year old son, they stopped two different things and I think they would, they would appreciate that kind of play centers and things that, that are inviting for them as well. I think that that’s our crowd as well.

Hanh Brown: [00:11:54] What’s a typical day for you as an operator.

Nestor Eligio: [00:11:57] So typical day for me as an operator, there there’s a non-typical day, but I can tell you.

[00:12:05] Yeah. Most of the organizations I’ve worked at, there’s, there’s a routine standup where we meet with the managers of the team of the day and discuss what the day’s going to look like, how it went last night. Talk about new residents that have just moved in to see how their night went. If there was any, any adjustments that we needed to do or, or if they’re adjusting well, what was the feedback?

[00:12:28] So that’s sort of our game plan at the beginning. We all huddle up and that’s what it is. It says stand up. Most companies do embrace that. And it’s a standup, we all stand for 15, 20 minutes and discuss how the game plan is going to work for the day. Who’s having challenges with departments are, are needing more support and then sort of dad leads for, to what, what the day’s going to look like.

[00:12:50] Either marketing events, family concerns, employee concerns, and then corporate meetings, which are necessary. So we know exactly what’s happening at the corporate level. And then. Making sure that we make time to spend with our residents. So we can’t just have meetings all day and then totally forget about the residents.

[00:13:07] So I make it a schedule for my managers team at any community that we all take an assignment in the dining room, either passing coffee or supporting the kitchen. So that’s really ground zero for us as being in the dining room because we hear it all. Hey, you know, our residents will tell us first.

[00:13:25] Firsthand. I noticed this Jones is not feeling good this morning. And so that’s, that’s key for us or they’ll say, Hey, last night’s event was success. It was an amazing. Happy hour and we enjoyed it. Can you bring that entertainer back? So there’s, that’s the best place to be. So we, we make sure we assign our managers for that.

[00:13:43] I also have something we call once a month where we, each manager picks an activity of choice that they feel comfortable with doing with the residents. So for me, I love doing food shows, so I’ll do like a, a food show for our residents and do my. My favorite dish with them and they get to see me do it from scratch to the beginning.

[00:14:02] And so it’s pretty cool. I’ve had maintenance directors, that’ll do wood shop with them, or break down a carburetor. And then you have like six, seven gentlemen around fixing a carburetor, which is pretty neat. And then you have the ladies doing either painting classes and why not offer wine too? I mean, it’s, it has to be a viable environment.

[00:14:21] So we’ve seen that with our managers. So that’s what the day looks like. Then the unexpected days, right. Where state walks in, or there’s an actual complaint or there’s any lope man where residents attempted to leave the community. Those are days that we don’t predict. And so I could change obviously every day, but for the most part, there’s, there’s always good days.

Hanh Brown: [00:14:43] Within the States that you worked in share with us some government and medical regulations that in a senior living must comply.

Nestor Eligio: [00:14:50] Yeah. So for, for us in California, I can talk a little bit about Arizona as well, but I think overall is the process of admission, ensuring that we’re, we’re caring for the resident that requires the right care. And, um, and I’m talking about the difference between. Skilled nursing or rehabilitation versus assisted living or a memory care neighborhood.

[00:15:12] So if we define those, then we can actually do a better assessment of the resident moving into our community. So the state, we, if we get into situations where we are bringing someone that requires 24 hour nurses on staff injections and Ivy treatments, then we’re probably not the best place. So we need to make sure we’re following regulations to, to what allows us to care for it or at our communities.

[00:15:35] And secondly, I think they audit everything from employee fingerprints, uh, training. There’s a requirement of training for our care staff that’s done yearly. And part of it in California requires dementia training as well. So that’s key. Training is good. The possibilities of how to train someone are endless.

[00:15:55] You can do a computer training or you can do a classroom setting, or you can do a one-on-one training is see a lot of companies have different approaches, but for the most part, it is a requirement here in California. And they’ll audit everything from, um, medication cards. Uh, recently in California, we had to do the evac chairs, which is the evacuation chairs for the recent fires.

[00:16:18] We’ve had that we can get residents that are non-ambulatory out of the community faster. So. Those are requirements that every community in California should be up to standard now. And so there’s always regulations changing and state. Some States are different than others. Some States combine it with the department of health services here in California is community care licensing.

[00:16:41] Arizona as well. And so we, we have our manuals, we follow title 22 here and every state’s got different regulations, article eight in Arizona. And so there’s specific things there, but here’s the key thing when wallowing state specific guidelines is working well with the. License for us as the LPA and the state.

[00:17:03] So having a good open communication relationship. I think for me, what’s made my success is, um, any community I arrived to or I become part of, uh, I make a courtesy call to the director of licensing or the LPA and introduce myself because they’re my advisors as well. There might be a challenging situation in our community.

[00:17:27] And they’re the ones that might be able to give me a little bit more information on what to do versus me trying to figure it out and a mistake and then paying the consequence. So I always recommend my every time I, I mentor someone that’s going to become an EDI or someone that, uh, has been in the industry and asked me, I said, have you called your state representative or your licensing agent and talk to them?

[00:17:49] So it should not be anything that anyone should be afraid. It should be a good mutual respect relationship, because if we’re both out for the same thing and as taking care of the seniors or the elderly population.

Hanh Brown: [00:18:01] Families gain trust in you and your team to place a loved ones under your care.

Nestor Eligio: [00:18:07] Very important that we understand that anyone walking into the community obviously is seeking help.

[00:18:13] I used to have a vice president of sales and marketing, and I’d always say, people just don’t go on the weekends. Or during the week senior living shopping. It’s just not as, not just something that people do for the future. It is always something that’s going on at home. And so we need to have some empathy, obviously when they’re coming in, understanding what the situation is.

[00:18:36] What benefits we can offer in our community that would resolve those concerns. And so, For me and my team, every team that I work with, I always tell them, we have to hear their story. First. We have to know we have to put ourselves in their shoes. And so the way I love to win trust, and this is a perfect example.

[00:18:55] I had a wonderful tour last night at my property at the community I at, and it was five. 30 in the afternoon. And, uh, they wanted a tour and if I’m here or whoever’s here, we’re going to give them a tour. We took a long time just discussing and, uh, about the needs of their loved one. And I made them feel comfortable.

[00:19:15] I understood, I shared stories of similar situations. I shared some of the benefits that we had available in all along. I kept asking. How many communities have you seen? And they would, they would say five. And I was like, Oh my God, you must be very confused by now because five or six. Communities is just a lot.

[00:19:36] It’s a lot of information that you’re being thrown at and every community, although we might have the same thing that we offer, which is assisted living, we are, are all different. We’re all have some something key element that might be good for your, for your loved one. I’m not quick to ask for a deposit.

[00:19:54] You can tell if they’re really we’re building that trust that the deposit will come immediately or they want to hold the room or the reservation. So. Two and a half hours in the conversation, we had built a great relationship. I’m a Rotarian. They hon the person that was looking at our career was a Rotarian.

[00:20:13] So we combined some of our interests as well. Uh, I talked a little bit about my background and I’ve gone through personally in my life with a loved one that had to be in assisted living and, and was able to. When their trust, we have our scheduled to do an assessment in the next couple of weeks. And if we’re a good fit for their loved one, they’ll be joining our family here.

Hanh Brown: [00:20:37] What questions should family as when they are researching for senior living for their loved ones?

Nestor Eligio: [00:20:42] Yeah, I think I always start off by when I hear a family members say this is going to sound like not a, not an appropriate question to ask, but I need to know. And I always say there, isn’t a question that you can ask.

[00:20:56] If you, if you feel that you can’t ask this question, then there’s probably something that we’re missing. So we need every piece of. Information, you give us too, so we can all make the right decision. I had a sun community in Arizona that had asked me a question about pets. And he said, do you accept? Cat.

[00:21:17] And I said, yes, we’re pet friendly community and that’s not an issue. And then he said, well, do you accept 10 cats? Because his father wanted all his cats. And so I said, well, let’s talk about it. And so that was key. I didn’t say no. I say, let’s talk about it and tell me a little bit more about these cats.

[00:21:38] Tell me a little bit more about why, why dad needs all 10 of them and, and tell me what’s his favorite. And then we came down through, there was two cats that, that really take, take care of, and that he couldn’t live without. So it, it, that’s, again, a piece of the conversation that we have to have. Asking questions, reviewing a state websites for any deficiencies.

[00:22:00] I’m going to be the first to admit. And I think hopefully colleagues out there will will understand. We’re not perfect. There might be deficiencies in a community you’ll walk into that are repetitive. And so as an executive director, if I’m new and I see those repetitive violations, that’s probably the first thing I’m going to be.

[00:22:19] Looking at to see if it’s a medication error that’s consistently happening every three months, then there’s gotta be some training opportunities. Is it something that we need to fix? So looking at the state inspections are important and I believe most States do post them. They’re public information.

[00:22:36] State of California does post them is key. And then going with an open mind and discussing those things, as you are visiting the communities and saying, can you tell me a little bit about this incident? Is this something that. Was fixed. It was just something that was taken care of. And then also looking at the ones that are great.

[00:22:54] I also have great communities where we do zero deficiencies and it’s 100%. And as an administrator, we’re, we’re thankful for that, but we also know we have things to improve, right? We’re we’re running day by day operations. So we see, Hey, we can fix this a little bit better because we could have got dang for this, but we didn’t.

[00:23:12] And so making sure that we also celebrate the moments we do, we don’t there there’s questions on staff ratio. What is your staff ratio? Every company has different ways of explaining that. I think. The higher the acuity, the higher, the need, the more staff, the lesser, the acuity, the lesser, the need, obviously less staff I think is just very simple.

[00:23:36] And then talking about the meals and the programs and all that is he, so bring as many questions and making sure that it’s not a standard question or a standard answer. I should say if it sounds too standard. Than than everybody’s heard the same answer and they’re really not listening at that point.

Hanh Brown: [00:23:57] Do you see, as far as the evolution of changes in the residences coming in as independent care and then later moving to dementia care.

Nestor Eligio: [00:24:06] The errors. I think you said the, you shared a little bit about your story, about your siblings and you guys are all asking questions. I think, I think we’re seeing a lot of interaction with a lot of different families and everybody has different, different opinions of how to take care of mom, how to take care of that.

[00:24:21] I think that’s a, a battle within itself within the families, uh, personally myself as well, had to deal with that with my mom, uh, as we found a location for her as well. So. My sister and my brother, we all had different ideas of what was best for her, but I’m the expert. I’ve been doing it for 28 years, but I’ll tell you when you do it for your own loved one, it’s also hard and I might not be the expert.

[00:24:44] So I also humble myself again on, on situations like that, of the evolution that I’m seeing is it’s great to see communities that are being built that are like similar to CCRC is a continuum of care where they can offer all those options. The independent living. And then as they start aging in place, they can move into assisted living.

[00:25:04] And then the progression of the disease is getting more severe than you have the option of the, of the dementia neighborhood or the unit. So those are key components in a saturated market. When you have multiple competitors within an area, I think it’d be, it becomes more of who’s providing customer service.

[00:25:23] Who’s providing the best customer service, because I can go down the street and pay the same amount and probably receive better customer service than at a location where they don’t even know my mom by name, something like that. So there’s a different evolution of people being able to look at Yelp and being able to look at Google and looking at those kinds of things as well, to determine if they would.

[00:25:48] Go to the next place. I, I I’ve, I’ve had interesting families that have come to my communities and said, well, this will be the third community I moved to. And I think that’s a red flag. You want to ask what’s happened to the last two or what did they do that didn’t meet your needs to make sure that. You don’t go through the fourth or the third community.

[00:26:11] And so we all want census. We all want to have a hundred percent occupancy. That is, I think ultimately everybody’s goal in business on the business side of it. But also, is it a red flag? Are we, are the customers looking at discounts or is there something that the competitor is giving that it’s financially more suitable for them?

[00:26:32] That’s really the evolution that’s going on now. Now what is the market? How, how much is the market going to be able to hold?

Hanh Brown: [00:26:39] When going through it with my mom, we looked at location. Location was key for many elders. You know, some will want to be near family, near doctors in your hospital, and some might want to be at a central location near shopping or entertainment, and some might be want to be near their children or grandchildren.

[00:26:59] And then also with regard to living space, some may want an extra bedroom for a guest in some might want a kitchenette or a patio for entertaining. You have to consider all the amenities and the activities that your loved ones can have fun with such as a pool movie theater, art studio, a cafe salons or bars.

[00:27:19] And then once you tour the community, you want to see the contract and look at the, in detail, the fees, the rules, and the regulations, and know. For instance, um, how the services are built, whether or not you can see your current physician. And can you come and go as you please? Or can your loved ones come and go as they please?

[00:27:42] And what are the visiting hours and what training or background checks are required for the staff in our they’re, their registered nurse or a medical professional available at all times, or within a window of time? And of course find out if the, um, senior living facility participate in Medicare, Medicaid, or long-term care insurance and so forth.

[00:28:05] And if you require a higher level of care in the future, would that be available at this community? And if you have a long-term stay at a hospital or re rehabilitation facility, would they hold your spot? So there’s many considerations really had to review it carefully and ask these questions during your visit.

Nestor Eligio: [00:28:27] I think that goes back into leading into asking those critical questions, because you’ll still end up going to meet the team to meet the people. And I think at the end of the day, it’s, it’s not the structure that we’re looking at. It might be beautiful, gorgeous community, but it’s really who is in there who is taking care of the interactions.

[00:28:50] They hear the laughing, the, the ambience can tell you multiple times. And I’m sure a lot of executive directors and operators will agree when they hear someone leaving and said, I don’t know about your community, but I have that feeling that I don’t know what I felt, but it’s, it’s a feeling that everybody cares.

[00:29:09] And when you hear things like that, you’re like, wow, it’s, it’s the synergy that we’re giving. So people can feel comfortable coming to our community. And again, uh, there’s different operators running different. Um, Their communities, some communities, if an operator’s having a bad day or something’s going on within the community changes in management, you can feel it.

[00:29:30] You can feel this team either feeling down or, or not feeling 100% so that those energy moments, uh, residents feel them. Our residents started feeling like, okay, something’s going on, administrators gone, or this person’s gone. And so they start feeling a little bit like now I’m nervous, it’s their home and things are changing.

[00:29:51] And so those are going to be what makes differentiate a lot of us.

Hanh Brown: [00:29:56] What do you see as, as synergy between the loved ones? Are they getting out of their rooms to engage with the staff and are the families coming to see them over the past 28 years? What trends do you see?

Nestor Eligio: [00:30:08] Yeah. In my early years, I would hardly see family to be honest, when I was.

[00:30:13] Working as a caregiver. I wouldn’t see a lot of families visiting and I’m, then I’m talking I’m mid nineties and here’s the other reason why most of my residents were still very active enough to get in their car and drive and visit their children. So we’re seeing a different, again, as this is just a different, more higher acuity that’s being needed now in our community.

[00:30:33] So the interactions now we do, I do see a lot of families visiting grandchildren. Kids from college, visiting their grandparents, a lot of intergenerational. Families, uh, great-grandkids visiting from college. So it’s, it’s neat to see those things because at a previous community, that was the moment that they w the, the resident wanted to introduce us to everyone.

[00:30:55] Right. So the grandkid what’s in town, and they’re like, you gotta meet my granddaughter nester. She. Just graduated from the university of so-and-so and, and she’s thinking of going in geriatric care and can’t, can she spend some time with you and you tell her, and I’m like, Oh my God, I would love to. So they showcasing their family to us.

[00:31:13] And then I would turn around and say, have you, how do you like your, your grandparents home? And they were like, wow, it’s great. It has a pool, has a walking area. The dining is awesome. I mean, I can imagine having this at the college dorm. Um, so it’s good to see those interactions. You’re absolutely right.

[00:31:33] There’s always. Probably a daughter that’s more involved in, in the process of their loved one living in the community. So there’s a lot of connection with it. I’ve I don’t know how many families I’m still connected with to this date that I no longer at the community, but there are, they can reach out to me if they have a question or if they have a concern or if they have just.

[00:31:56] An update for me and say, Hey, guess what mom is here now. And it’s neat to see that and to build that, that sort of relationship with them as well.

Hanh Brown: [00:32:05] Yes. My siblings come and see my mom daily. There’s total 10 of us, but six of us are near my mom. So we do take turn to visit her, make sure that she’s fed bathe and spend hours with her on a daily basis.

[00:32:19] We stay and we appreciate the time that we have with her, but often we do leave prying. Because, you know, you can see the deterioration of, of their mind.

Nestor Eligio: [00:32:31] And, and I see that a lot. There’s definitely daily family visits. There’s definitely a daughter visiting or a son in the afternoon after work visiting.

[00:32:40] I see that a lot. And the other key thing is that we’re also interacting with them. How are you doing? How are you feeling? Uh, we tend to forget that we’re all in caring for, for our resident, but in reality, we’re caring for the whole family. So I don’t know how many times I’ve taken out a son out. And when I can see in his face, your mom can’t recognize him anymore.

[00:33:01] And he’s just having a hard time and they’ll be like, Hey, what are you doing after? And when you, when you’re finished here, let’s go. Let’s go have dinner. Let’s go talk. And I’ve done that a couple of times. And, and it benefits me because I can share my story of what’s going on with my mom and then be sure to share stories and.

[00:33:15] Um, we have to be able to also list the children up and the grandkids and everybody, we have to be able to do that and not imagine that okay. It’s only the resident, but it’s the whole resident and the resident’s family that were taken care of.

Hanh Brown: [00:33:28] What standards do you hold when hiring your staff?

Nestor Eligio: [00:33:32] So we one particular community, I, we allow them before to be interviewed by group interview, which would be the managers.

[00:33:40] We would do group interviews together at key question and components about caregiving and burnout, or the reason of joining this industry, tap into the purpose of, of what, what they’re here for. I’ve had candidates just tell me, I just need a paycheck. Uh, when people tell me that I normally. Tend to say, well, now there’s other options, but not here.

[00:34:05] You have to have some compassion and some willingness I’ve heard people in the industry say, well, I’m wondering, going to hire people that have done this field for three years. Well, I tell them good luck because. You’re not going to find them. They’re either still working at their communities. Uh, so we have to give people a, an opportunity to get in our field and we got to educate them.

[00:34:25] So I’m a bit proponent in going to the universities and going to colleges and high schools at the early stages and talking to, to, um, Kids that are going into the workforce about all the opportunities that they’re in, in a community from dietary to housekeeping, to front desk, to driver, to activities, director, there’s so many different opportunities.

[00:34:48] And so making it a. More of a, Oh, that’s pretty, pretty interesting career versus a job. So we do group interviews. We also allow them when we do feel, Hey, this, this particular candidate set some key things that are based on our core values or principles of service or belief of what our mission is in the company.

[00:35:09] We allow them to come maybe for an hour or two hours to observe. Our care staff or to observe the dietary or to observe depending on the department so they can actually see how. It actually functions. I can tell you that it’s better to do that. Then, then get them started, go through the process of fingerprint, physical TB tests, and then their onboarding, and then them exiting quicker back into the field because they don’t think they can handle it.

[00:35:39] It’s better to just show them. This is what we do on a daily basis. There’s wonderful days. And then there’s days that we really need to all put together and work as a team. And so that, that makes a difference when we’re doing that.

Hanh Brown: [00:35:52] Is there a need for more senior living? And if yes, what do you like to see incorporated?

Nestor Eligio: [00:35:59] There’s I’ve always said that even in, in, in my daily, my days as a sales and marketing, I would always say there’s, there’s not enough places. Um, although in city areas you see, you know, across the street, there’s another, uh, assisted living. Uh, and I, and I hate using the word competitors because we’re, we’re all.

[00:36:20] We can all work in union. We can probably fill our communities a little bit better, but there’s definitely a big need. There’s definitely a need more for dementia neighborhoods and memory care. I think in the early, late nineties and early two thousands opera developers started seeing that need and started developing those, the wings, the units, or the neighborhoods, 20 beds, 30 beds.

[00:36:44] Uh, some communities took it further and. Made the horns hire community a early stage to later stage dementia. And so they did that, the lady Griz system. So, and now we’ve discovered that dementia is an umbrella of different things that are going on, and this is just not Alzheimer’s or Lewy body, or Parkinson’s you have TBIs traumatic brain injuries.

[00:37:06] You have other things that are going on depression. So there’s, there’s. A huge need for those memory care neighborhoods. For sure. I would love to see incorporated is the different generation that’s coming in. So we talk about the baby boomer generation. And so, and I’ve before I was an executive director, I would hear my directors telling me, well, the baby boomer generation is around the corner.

[00:37:29] Oh. That was like 10 years ago. I kept hearing that. Listen, the, the, that generation will come in, but it’s the, the bingo is not going to keep them here. Sing along is not going to be the key thing for them that the dining might need to be different. I know of a developer that created something out of state that I was totally in.

[00:37:51] I was like, that’s so cool. He created a, a microbrewery. With a, like a bar style at his community. And he looked at the found the locals that CRE that brewers in the area. And so he invited a lot of, of the residents to participate in this. And I think 90% of his. Residents that move in at the community were all because they were locals.

[00:38:16] So they, they love to having a glass of beer or a glass of wine. And so creating that environment, there’s a lot of operators that are, are doing a little more modernization of it. Pizza break ovens in the middle of the dining room, where you can have that fragrance of a restaurant. Those are, those are key.

[00:38:32] Those are going to bring a different type of resident in the community that might be a little more active, but this looking at the future pace they need assisted care. Uh, so those are, those are that’s the way we’re going. Independent living looks like independent. Living is going to be independent living.

[00:38:47] I see operators of separating themselves from AOL or memory care and focusing on more of a hospitality hotel type setting. And that’s K2. There’s people that are going to be looking for that kind of environment instead of the bingo night, it’s going to be comedy night. At the brand improv or, or having comedians coming in or talk on different topics versus healthcare, it might be more of a, we’re going to talk about the JPL.

[00:39:14] I’ve had JPL come to a few of my communities and talk about things that they’re doing in outer space. So more fun, more, more creative marketing is going to be key.

Hanh Brown: [00:39:24] Hey, I really, really enjoy our conversation. Nestor. I see that a key component to be successful in this profession. You must have a heart to serve the seniors and their families, and I see why you’re very good at what you do congrats to you.

Nestor Eligio: [00:39:39] Yeah, I appreciate it. And I have thank you for allowing me to speak and sharing a little bit about. My passion and shedding light on it as well too, to developers. I think there’s some great developers out there. There’s some great operators. I think it’s a, there’s some great associations out there in the East coast and here and Southern California and the West area.

[00:40:05] So coming together I think is just good. So thank you.

Hanh Brown: [00:40:09] And thank you so much, nester. I look forward to having you back again and look forward to meeting up with you in California. Take care.

You can follow Nestor on LinkedIn at

Results-oriented seasoned Executive Director/Operations that maximizes a community‚Äôs profits through the use of excellent team-building skills, proven marketing strategies, commitment to compliance and outstanding customer service and an ability to be calm under pressure. I’m currently seeking a new opportunity in a company that I can showcase my skills and grown into a corporate leader.

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