Stephanie Zeverino – Debunk the Myth of Senior Living

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Stephanie Zeverino - Debunk the Myth of Senior Living
Stephanie Zeverino – Debunk the Myth of Senior Living

Most of us have our own ideas about what senior living communities are like. Some believe that senior living community is interchangeable with the term nursing home but they are in fact two very different options for seniors. While many leading senior living communities do provide higher-level healthcare services and assistance found in traditional nursing homes, they offer seniors so much more than simply age-related support.

The truth is that many people choose to live in an independent lifestyle setting because they want more out of life. Independent senior living offers more freedom and independence while still providing access to on-site health care providers as needed.

Senior Living communities today focus greatly on helping seniors maintain their quality of life by offering amenities such as fitness centers, pools, spas, dining options and so much more!

These benefits allow seniors to enjoy active lifestyles without having to worry about household chores or maintenance issues at home – giving them the ability to spend time doing things they love

Join me in conversation today is Stephanie Zeverino.
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Bio:

Stephanie Zeverino – As Director of Business Development for their newest location, Stephanie has had to become well-versed in every aspect of senior living marketing. From independent living to assisted care to Memory Care and Circle of Friends program for MCI residents, she’s done it all!

Find Stephanie on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/stephaniezeverinojenkins/

Transcript:

Hanh:
Hello! Hi, I am Hanh Brown. And this conversation is streaming on various social media platform. Whether you are watching or listening, we appreciate your time to be a part of this important discussion. Please let us know if you have any questions so that together we can learn from one another or get each other’s insights and experiences in the field. And thanks again for tuning in to Aging Media Show. Most of us have our own ideas about what senior living communities are like. Some believe that senior living community is interchangeable with the term nursing home, but they are in fact, two very different options for seniors. While many leading senior living communities do provide higher care health care services and assistance found in traditional nursing home. They offer seniors so much more than simply age related support. The truth is that many people choose to live in an independent lifestyle setting because they want more out of life. Independent senior living offers more freedom and independence while still providing access to onsite healthcare providers as needed. Senior living communities today, focus greatly on helping seniors maintain their quality of life by offering services and amenities such as fitness centers, pools, spa, dining options, and so much more. These benefits allow seniors to enjoy active lifestyles without having to worry about household chores or maintenance issues at home, giving them the ability to spend time doing things that they love. So join me today in conversation is Stephanie Zeverino. Stephanie is a driven and an ambitious senior living professional who has intense passion for marketing and relationships. She’s been on the ground. She’s been on the ground floor of some of the most innovative companies in her field, including Belmont Village Seniors Living. As director of business development for the newest location, Stephanie has had to become well-versed in every aspect of senior living marketing. So from independent living to assisted care to memory care and circle of friends program for MCI residents, she’s done it all. So Stephanie, welcome to the show.

Stephanie:
Thanks, Hanh. Thank you so much for having me we’re so, so excited to talk about this topic because obviously there is a, several myths about nursing homes versus assisted living and senior living community. So I’m happy to love to talk and to help and to clear up some of those myths.

Hanh:
Great. Well, thank you so much for being here. So now, in your opinion, what is the biggest misconception about senior living?

Stephanie:
Well, Hanh, there are actually four, four myths that I’d like to talk about. And it is, it’s pretty standard, but myth one is nursing homes and assisted living facilities are the same thing. So that’s myth one. And I’ll go back to that. Myth two is that assisted living is only for seniors who are sick and disabled. And I’ve got my notes here. And Myth three is seniors who live in assisted living communities lose their independence. And now you alluded to that earlier. And then myth four is seniors who live in assisted living communities are taken advantage of by the staff. And so those are the four nature myths that we find, and we have to address every day in our senior living communities. And it’s, it’s interesting. Just trying to trying to change that perception.

Hanh:
Absolutely. And it’s as far from the two. So now have you ever felt that senior living communities are too expensive or maybe too far from loved ones. And some might even say that, is it a prison where people go to get locked up with rigid schedule?

Stephanie:
Right, right. We you know, it’s certainly is certainly not a prison. We talk, when we talk about senior living and community environment, we often try to pick a picture of what I like to tell folks is that we are like a cruise ship. We’re almost like a stationary cruise ship. I love using that analogy because I find that people can then envision what their lifestyle is going to be in that environment that it’s, you go to your cabin, your apartment, to rest and relax, but you come out for your social engagement and your programming and your activities. You go on outings, excursions, and it’s, it’s such a uh, uh, better. I think they really understand when I talk to them about that, that painting that picture. And as far as. As far as expense, there are a variety of different providers in the marketplace who offer different price points. Some are high-end luxury somewhere on the lower end of the spectrum. So, you’re looking at anywhere from 3000 a month up to 10,000 a month. And it’s really all about what your budget can afford. Very true. There’s product

Stephanie:
For everyone.

Hanh:
Right, right. And it’s a wonderful thing to have optionality. So that’s great. Now, what is your advice or what ideas do you have to transform the way that people think about senior living?

Stephanie:
So obviously the first thing that we always need to do is to bring them in. They absolutely need to come in and tour and look at the amenities and look at the communities that are coming

Stephanie:
Up in the marketplace because there’s some really phenomenal product out there now, and it’s not your, your, your mom’s or grandma’s nursing home anymore. These are thriving, beautiful hotel, condiment, condominium style buildings with full of amenities. And so the best thing I tell adult children, when we’re talking with them is obviously coming into her first. If you feel that this is something that your mom or dad or grandma or grandpa or aunt or uncle or whoever you’re looking

Stephanie:
On behalf of is if this is something that you feel is worthy, bring them in. They need to come in and let them tour

Stephanie:
And take a look at the building themselves. The last thing you want to do. It’s to Springs, spring something on someone and say, you’re moving in here and they need to be part of the process. Obviously, if they’re independent or assisted living, if there’s cognitive issues, then that’s another

Stephanie:
Story. But bringing them in as the best defense and letting them see, and they’re so

Stephanie:
Surprised on, they can’t believe the amenities and they, it,

Stephanie:
It completely debunks the myth.

Hanh:
Very true. Very true. I mean, there was nothing than getting that firsthand when you walk in the welcome and then understanding all the amenities available, food amenities, engagement, wellness. I mean, my gosh to me, that is living and that is vibrancy. Right? So it’s I think.

Hanh:
It’s wonderful.

Stephanie:
Who wouldn’t want housekeeping done for you and cleaning done for you? I mean, my gosh, I wish I had that.

Hanh:
Yeah.

Stephanie:
I wish I had that help right now, but I’m absolutely.

Hanh:
Yeah. So now how can we change the culture perception of aging and make life better for seniors? What’s your thoughts? Well, it’s a that’s a really,

Stephanie:
Really good question. I think I think at large seniors have to realize, and so do the providers in the marketplace that we’re, we’re dealing the generation that we’re serving, right now. It’s still the generation that is accustomed to going back to that nursing home environment, because that’s what they knew. That’s the only thing that they knew.

Stephanie:
And now that I’m, that we’re evolving and building these beautiful facilities and beautiful communities. I think seniors really, we have to

Stephanie:
Do a better job at painting that picture of what that lifestyle is going to look like for them, because the generation coming in now that we’re going to be, we’re going to be taken care of, is much, much more savvy. They’re much more tech savvy. They’re much more they’re in more integrated, they have special interests. And I mean, I know providers in communities that are popping up all over the country that are looking to be more specific for people who like more of an adventure lifestyle, those who like a, more of a luxury lifestyle, the LGBTQ communities coming out

Stephanie:
With specific communities specifically for them. So, we’ve got to look, we’ve got to look at the market coming in and the the actual customer coming in now into the space and revisit how we’re going to, how we’re going to care for them. Entertain them and ultimately provide the lifestyle that they deserve.

Hanh:
That’s wonderful. You think that senior living communities can be made more attractive for prospective residents, I guess, why and why not?

Stephanie:
Well, well, as far as I’m more attractive, I think I, I think the best thing that you need to do is to capture what their interests are because not everyone has the same interest. People are coming in wanting, wanting certain activities

Stephanie:
And wanting certain things made available. And we have to be flexible and make sure that we provide those activities for everybody. And everyone is taken care of and everyone’s interests are being made. If you are a provider that offers everything. So one of the things we like to do at Belmont village is we actually get our residents life story. We find out exactly who they are. What their interests are, who are they professionally? What’s their nationality, their religion, their special interests. And we, first thing we’d like to do is to pair them with like-minded individuals. So they feel comfortable off the bat. But secondly, we want to make sure that we offer activities and special interest programs that are specific to their needs and their wants an interest.

Hanh:
That’s wonderful. The seniors graduating from high school, you know how we provide them senior picture a package of all their activities. Clubs sports, everything. So it kind of reminds me of something like that. When people enter to senior living, like what you’re describing, kind of a similar package to cover their life story, their life journey, with families and the profession that they were in and so forth. And that’s wonderful, because sometimes we’re at that place in light, perhaps we might have forgotten who we are.

Stephanie:
Absolutely.

Hanh:
It’s very easy. I mean, I’m not there, but I’m in my mid fifties and having grown children, I sometimes forget who I am, so it’s so nice. What you’re doing is to provide them their debt package, and it’s nice for them to have something to review and watch. Wow, this is what I used to do. This is who I am. This is who I was. Oh, that’s awesome.

Stephanie:
Yeah. It’s, it’s really wonderful too. To customize programming around their particular

Stephanie:
Interests. And like you said, Hanh, they’ve gotten, they have forgotten because a lot of them were so isolated and at home and maybe they have everything they need in their home right now, as far as their meals and they’re being taken care of, but their interests are not being met because they’re, you can’t get that socialization at home. And I don’t know of any companies that, that have provide the type of activities and programming in a home environment like, like communities offer. And so when they come in and they see like-minded individuals and they see people. That that have similar interests and they go, oh my God, that’s right. I used to play bridge or I used to go to the theater and I used to go to the movies and I can do that now. And I have people that, that would love to do that with me. And they, it’s a whole revitalization, their whole temperament personality changes, and don’t get me wrong. It’s going to take. It takes them usually on average three to four weeks to acclimate, we try to get them acclimated sooner by integrating them in. But like you were going back to high school. I remember I tell some of the adult children, one of the most biggest fears in high school was when you first started high school is walking into that cafeteria with your tray and you didn’t know who to sit with. You were like, oh my God, you’re looking around. And you’re wondering who to sit with. And and we try we try to

Stephanie:
Help them along the way, the first week that they’re here to make sure, like I said, early on that they’re seated with like-minded individuals to help kickstart their,

Stephanie:
Um, their experience. Here at Belmont village. So we really want to get them paired quickly, make friends quickly so they can start

Stephanie:
Living their life that they deserve. They need to continue living the life that they may have left several years ago because of certain needs.

Hanh:
Very true. Isn’t it full circle, you think?

Stephanie:
It is.

Hanh:
We start out whether it’s walking into dropping them off at kindergarten, going into middle and high school, walking into that cafeteria, which will lunch and not knowing where to sit. And then later it’s kind of, that’s interesting.

Hanh:
That’s a good point.

Stephanie:
Yeah. Yeah, it is full circle. My mom is in assisted living up in Orlando and I’m down here in Fort Lauderdale. And you know, I remember moving her in and this is 10 years ago. She’s been there for 10 years. You know it, and I just got into the industry. Maybe I was only in the industry, maybe two or three years. So it’s been 13 years since I’m in the senior housing industry coming from hospitality. And I remember trying to talk to her and the experience that I went through as an adult child going through the same thing. So, so it’s nice to have that relatable. Uh, experience with my own mom. And I remember her saying, I don’t know anybody. I’m the, who am I going to talk to? I, I am, I’m afraid. And so I always,

Stephanie:
I always remember that with going through that with my mom.

Hanh:
Yeah. I mean so many ways they have to learn all over again, the skill. So make friends. Do you talk about, am on top of current events? Because like I say, I’m somewhat in a new place and I’m figuring out what do you do? What do you say? Where do you go? So I think it’s wonderful. I think it’s one of you’re matching.

Hanh:
Them up with people of common interest and.

Stephanie:
It’s very important. Hanh it’s very important because otherwise they’re left, floundering. To try to figure it out on their own. And that’s what we’re here for. And quite frankly, that’s what they’re paying for. I mean, they’re paying for the environment. That’s going to help engage them and help them live more, Just a better lifestyle, we want to

Stephanie:
Help them thrive and, recall the

Stephanie:
Community built for life. This is not a place to come and end your life, which is going back to the nursing home myths. That’s what

Stephanie:
People think. They think that, oh my gosh, I’m going to a nursing home and that’s it. That’s it. I’m done. And. And that, that, that generation and the w the adult children are the ones that are having a hard time convincing their parents, that this is not a nursing home. And like I said earlier is the only way to do, to debunk that is for them to come in and see. What we have to offer, and they’re always pleasantly surprised. They may not necessarily be ready at the moment, but they’re surprised at what they saw. They could not imagine that there are places like the providers

Stephanie:
That are in the market now.

Hanh:
Yeah. Yeah. And I think one way is you and I having this kind of conversations and just magnifying it and hopefully start more and more conversations like this, where it becomes the norm and people will, are ready, full understanding.

Hanh:
What the value proposition is and not be misunderstood. So now what would you do differently with senior living if there were no expectations of success?

Stephanie:
Oh boy. Well, I went, I

Stephanie:
Talked a little bit earlier about, uh,

Stephanie:
Specializing the senior living market. And making communities

Stephanie:
That are specific for certain groups. Like I was saying, if there’s groups that more adventurous, they want more sporting, they want tennis, they want,

Stephanie:
They want a bicycle. They want to do. They want

Stephanie:
To do more outdoor type activities. I would love to see specific, special interest communities for groups. I mean, we

Stephanie:
Want to attract everybody, but I would love

Stephanie:
To see community specifically for certain special interest groups, like, like, like artists, camps, the people

Stephanie:
That are into art and music and performing, and that a community is built around attracting those special, those special interest groups as well, I think. And I know,

Stephanie:
And I read recently read an article that

Stephanie:
Some providers are looking into that specifically is to try to create communities that are more

Stephanie:
Strategic to those special interest groups and kind going along

Stephanie:
Those lines. So, yeah.

Hanh:
Sure. Sure. It’s true customization, right?

Stephanie:
Yes, exactly.

Hanh:
Yeah. So now what was the deciding factor for you when considering senior care? Like what. How does one, how do you help one to decide when it’s a good time or how, what kind of senior care they would need?

Stephanie:
So almost, I would say 70, 70% of the time. It’s always need driven. Unfortunately, and more

Stephanie:
Times than not, we have someone coming in and touring and saying that their dad is on the other brink of declining physically, and cognitively

Stephanie:
Is not an issue. We can still take them but that’s

Stephanie:
What happens is something happened in the home. Something happened in the supermarket. Something happened in the car. Something happened to them. Where they can no longer live safely at home. And we try, what

Stephanie:
We try to do is to talk to those adult children to get them

Stephanie:
In sooner than later, the sooner that they can come in more independently, the better opportunity they’re going to have to thrive. We have onsite physical therapy. We have all kinds of services to help them physically, as well as cognitively, but they always come in. When it’s it’s need driven and we really want to get them in early so they can build their relationships, build their friends ships. And so when they do need help, couple of years down the road, they’ve they already feel comfortable. They’re already here. They’ve got their friends they’re more supported. So it’s that’s that’s

Stephanie:
We find that I just had a tour with a husband who wife is declining.

Stephanie:
And I’m unfortunately now he just came back to reach her and she can no longer bear weight. And unfortunately, our licensure

Stephanie:
Doesn’t allow her to come in because she has to be able to allow us to help her. And she has to be able to bear weight. So when they get to that point, now it’s not to say they can’t age in place. Is, should

Stephanie:
That happen once they move in, but they often wait too late Hahn. Not only,

Stephanie:
And they can’t enjoy it, they can’t enjoy it because they’re digging their heels and they’re telling the kids they’re not going, I’m not going to that nursing home no way. And so we’re always helping and coaching the adult children on what to do and what to say to their

Stephanie:
Parents to get them in. And I always tell them we’re good.

Stephanie:
We’re good with mom and dad bring them in. We’ll take it from here.

Hanh:
Yeah, again, it’s that clarification of the value proposition much earlier on so that they can have a glimpse, a preview, what life can be.

Stephanie:
Absolutely. You said it beautifully,

Hanh:
Yeah. So what are the pros or cons of living in an assisted living community?

Stephanie:
So, Well, let’s start with the, let’s start with the cons. I Personally, I mean, this is the

Stephanie:
Product that I represent. I fully believe in it. I don’t think that there are too many cons. I think what’s

Stephanie:
Happening now in our industry right now from a, on a, a challenging,

Stephanie:
Not a negative standpoint. A challenging standpoint is staffing our industry. As many industries are going through with employment

Stephanie:
And staffing. Right now everyone is scrambling to make sure that we have enough nurses. We have enough caregivers. We have enough wait staff. We have enough front desk, valet, parkers. I mean, we operate similar as I said to a cruise ship or to a hotel. And so right now that’s, I

Stephanie:
Think that’s the con that the industry is facing right now because we’re finding that we’ve got

Stephanie:
Is people are paying the price they’re paying. We have to make sure that we have the staff to deliver. What we say, we’re going to work, we’re going to deliver, we have to make good on what they’re paying for and what the experience we’re telling them upfront that they’re going to have. And so I think that right now, that’s the biggest con is in our industry

Stephanie:
Staffing to make sure that we’ve got enough people here to give them that experience and that level of care that they so deserve. And then the pros, I mean, I can talk about pros all day long. I just, you know, for me and going,

Stephanie:
But let me go back to a con,

Stephanie:
Because I think affordability is going to is continues to be a big issue. People that don’t have long-term care insurance to help supplement the cost of living in a senior living environment. And don’t want to go to a nursing home because they don’t have the private pay funds to live in a place like, like ours and what we offer. They they have they have

Stephanie:
To be able to afford to live here. So one of the things that we often tell

Stephanie:
The adult children is educating them on long-term care insurance and they don’t want, they don’t want to spend down their personal assets. They want to use an insurance policy to offset the cost of living

Stephanie:
In a senior living environment, because mom and dad may have done a good job, saving their assets and selling their house, moving to Florida, buying it 1965 for, $50,000. It’s

Stephanie:
Now worth a million and that’s, what’s going to pay for living in a place like ours. But but the kids

Stephanie:
Are always shocked at the pricing. And there they often say, oh my God, what am I going to do? I have to start thinking about this. We’ll start talking to a long-term care advisor about a policy because you need to get it. So the con the other con is affordability. They have to have they have

Stephanie:
To have the private pay funds or the lawn care policy to offset the cost of living here. And then the pros I can go on and on. I it’s just, it, it’s, it’s,

Stephanie:
I, this is the environment that I’m going to want when I’m in my eighties. And I do have my long-term care insurance. So I know that I can, I’ll

Stephanie:
Be able to afford to live in a Belmont village or any other provider, but I love the fact that I’m personally

Stephanie:
A social person, so I love being around people. I thrive off of people.

Stephanie:
And I know I’m going to do well in that environment. So the fact that I’m going

Stephanie:
To have housekeeping, I’m going to have my meals cooked for me. I’m going to go out. I’m going to have a van, take me to the pocket Playhouse, the Broward center for the performing arts that it’s like a cruise ship. You just, You walk out.

Hanh:
Your door and it’s right in

Stephanie:
You walk out your door and everything is right there. It’s so convenient. I don’t have to get in my car and go drive somewhere.

Hanh:
Yeah. Very true. You mentioned.

Hanh:
Two cons, one of which is a global issue. The workforce staffing and so forth. And the other one is long-term care. That one you can do something about right. You can take it into having that difficult situation much sooner and have it at during Thanksgiving. Go for it.

Stephanie:
Yes. Yes. And it’s evolved

Stephanie:
The long-term care insurance policies have really evolved where they’re not they’re not

Stephanie:
So cut and dry and straightforward, but there’s some. Whole life

Stephanie:
Insurance policies or other life insurance policies that we can get a long-term care rider. So there’s much more flexibility with them. Now, mine is more strict. I got mine

Stephanie:
Several years ago when they didn’t have a lot of options and it was a matter of which long-term care provider I felt was going to match my needs and keep my frame premiums where I wanted them. But yeah. Yeah. It’s it’s a, it’s

Stephanie:
Something that everyone should look into for sure.

Hanh:
Okay, so let’s define, or what is the difference between the senior living assisted living nursing homes and skilled nursing define that.

Hanh:
And what’s the distinction?

Stephanie:
The distinction. Okay. So I’m skilled nursing facility obviously is for someone that has

Stephanie:
An acute need. They have, they really need specific rehab rehabilitation. And it may be a short-term stay or it could be a long-term stay as well, because a lot of the skilled nursing facilities do you have

Stephanie:
Long-term care options. They have short term rehab stays and they have a long-term care options. And it’s pretty much similar to a nursing home. And it’s someone who is either

Stephanie:
On Medicaid. That don’t ha cannot afford the private funds. So they have a Medicaid uh, their

Stephanie:
Unmet long-term care, Medicaid waiver, and the only places that they can live long-term are nursing

Stephanie:
Home environments or skilled nursing facilities that have that long-term care assisted

Stephanie:
Living, is for, now we have everything. We start from independent living to memory care, but assisted living, or for those who have physical limitations who need help with assistance

Stephanie:
With daily living, they need help bathing, dressing, grooming, escorting reminders, and they need physical assistance. Memory care are for those who have both, they either have both physical limitations and cognitive limitations or they have, and a lot of them don’t have any physical limitations but their

Stephanie:
Memory impairment has really created it not, not

Stephanie:
An opportunity, but has created uh, such

Stephanie:
An hindrance on their lifestyle that they need to be cared for to make sure that they’re safe. They may be a risk of wandering. A few people

Stephanie:
Have walked out of the house. Where last

Stephanie:
For several hours loft for a day. And and they

Stephanie:
Need to be protected in an environment that still gives them the right, their quality of life, but key is keeping them safe. And then you have independent living, which are for people who have no physical or cognitive limitations, and they want to be in a social environment possibly because maybe they lost their spouse, after 50 years of marriage and the kids don’t want them in the condo or the home any longer. And they want them in a more social setting because they just feel it’s safer for them to be there. So you’ve got

Stephanie:
The whole gamut and I think I missed one. Was there anything else I missed?

Hanh:
No you covered it.

Stephanie:
Covered it. Okay. Okay, good. So yeah, there’s some variety of different needs. Now also folks providers

Stephanie:
Like us that have the full continuum of care. Start off in independent living and then they can actually progress to various needs as they continue to live here. One of the things we did as a provider Belmont village as a provider is we licensed all of our apartments. So which means it’s a couple comes in to independent living two years down the road. She needs memory care, or she needs some health physical health, or he does do we ask them to move to that area of the building? No, we can actually, because the build, their independent living apartment is licensed. We’re able to provide services to them in their independent living apartment to the point where we can actually have her or him daycare in our memory unit, our memory care called the neighborhood, and then go back up at night and spend

Stephanie:
The evening was with her husband. And so they can still sleep together, but she’s getting the structured cognitive programs that she needs. So, and then the other thing I didn’t mention is we have a program called circle of friends, and that is a dedicated whole brain fitness program designed to keep folks that have mild cognitive impairment from declining sooner. So these programs are specifically designed. It’s a non-secured area, so they can’t be at a risk of wandering, but we partook all of the research from Vanderbilt university, the center for brain health in conjunction with Dr. Sandra Simmons. We took her research and applied it to a program that delivers cognitive specific cognitive programs to residents with mild cognitive impairment. So they live

Stephanie:
In the assisted living floor, but they go into this daycare program. So we’ve got everything. Yeah, no, that’s to.

Hanh:
Customization. You find where they are related to cognition, physical and you meet them and, serve them.

Hanh:
To the best that you can, right? And not have a mismatch or have them under living sort to speak.

Stephanie:
Exactly exactly. We want to

Stephanie:
Make sure that we call it their zero

Stephanie:
Right challenge, wherever their journey is in the spectrum

Stephanie:
Of cognition, physical, spiritual, whatever that is. We want to meet them where they are and, and,

Stephanie:
And exceed where they came from and help them continue to enrich their lives and deliver

Stephanie:
That careprogramming.

Hanh:
So then why do you think there’s so many people wrongly believe that going into a nursing home is some kind of punishment for your loved one? Yeah. Well, I think it’s

Stephanie:
The opposite. I Think that I think the

Stephanie:
Loved one feels that it’s a punishment for their kids or are wanting to put them somewhere and never

Stephanie:
See them again. And I think con

Stephanie:
It goes to back my specific belief is it goes back to the generation that we’re still serving, which it’s the 80 plus year old that’s our market. And they remember, they just remember putting their parents in a nursing home because there wasn’t anything like this. And I really believe that it’s that’s what

Stephanie:
They’re stuck on. They’re stuck on that. And the kids are often saying, mom, dad, it’s not that way anymore. This is not what we’re talking about. We’re talking about. A cruise ship. Basically, you’re going to live in a cruise ship on a cruise ship. This is it’s beautiful. It’s a beautiful environment. And I really think once we get past this generation and we move on to the next generation, they’re going to be a lot more savvy. They’re going to be a lot more knowledgeable about that because those are

Stephanie:
The baby boomers that are going to be now moving into this market and they are savvy. They’re more, they’re going to be more demanding. I mean, the baby boomer generation is off the charts. We’re going to have to rethink how we’re gonna, how we’re going to create what their needs are going to be, because it was pretty easy to figure out what the

Stephanie:
The 80 year old generation wants and needs. But the baby

Stephanie:
Boomer generation is going to be a lot more demanding. There’s no question.

Hanh:
Yeah, lifestyle, choices and.

Hanh:
The amenities that we have 55 now let’s say our parents who are, let’s say mid eighties or nineties did not have. So all those expectations and needs, they have to kind of keep up with as people age. So, yeah, I agree.

Stephanie:
Yeah, the baby boomers are going to be a tough group. I’m one of them. Yeah. And I know what

Stephanie:
I’m going. I’m going to want and expect, I want dining choices. I want, lots of activities and, and especially

Stephanie:
In specific to my interests, which is what we’re trying to do here. Now with this generation. But this generation that we’re still serving the other thing too. And we find that

Stephanie:
A lot of them are not big on exercising. So when we provide

Stephanie:
Classes for them and we try to get them into meditation and yoga and. Tai Chi and stretching

Stephanie:
And exercising the good

Stephanie:
Majority of them, forego it, they do. They don’t

Stephanie:
Want to do that. And God forbid they have to take physical therapy. Oh My gosh. It’s the worst

Stephanie:
Thing in the world. Like my mom, she hates physical therapy. She doesn’t want to be forced to have to pick her legs up and move her arms. And she just wants to, she just wants to dine play bingo. And that’s not what we’re about. We want to keep them healthy and strong and but baby boomer,

Stephanie:
Again, that generation is going to want it all.

Hanh:
That will be probably the first thing they asked for. Right. What type of physical wellness engagement fund and when, when.

Hanh:
Is your party kind of thing.

Stephanie:
Yes, absolutely. Absolutely. Yeah. We’re starting to see now we’re starting to see a little bit of a shift. Now we’re getting in 70 year olds coming in a little, you know,

Stephanie:
Younger and healthier. And then yet in turn we have 90 year olds, 93 year olds that are doing phenomenal. Centenarians

Stephanie:
Hundred year olds that are doing phenomenal. So, but we have to constantly evolve and change, change who we are and what we offer based on the generation coming in. That’s going to be supplying. And, and now

Stephanie:
They’re going to be the next generation

Stephanie:
For who we’re going to be taking care of and housing.

Hanh:
So now, what do you think is the best argument for being in a home aging in place versus a nursing or an assisted living?

Stephanie:
You know, a lot of people, there’s no question that majority of the people, if they have their choice wants to stay at home, they want to remain at home. But the problem remaining at home is they what’s missing and home. Yes. They’re being fed. They’re being there, making sure that they’re being said they’re dry, they’re clean. They’re groomed. Well, but for the most part, the aids in the home are just making sure that’s all

Stephanie:
Taken care of and basically putting them on the couch, and putting the remote in their hand and watching TV. And what happens often is that they decline. And when we finally get the children calling us and saying, look, the aid to not working for us, they can’t stimulate them enough. Yes. They’re taking good care of them, making sure they don’t fall or making sure that they’re fed

Stephanie:
And that they’re showered and bathed, but there’s no stimulation at all. So that’s the biggest thing that we see, which is why the kids, the adult children are saying, mom, dad, it’s time to look at a community setting because you need more stimulation. You need to be around people, your own age, the, you love the aide, but she’s 30 years old. She’s 25 years old. You know, th they’re not

Stephanie:
Doing anything for you cognitively, and you’re just not getting that kind of stimulation. Where in, in a community environment, they’ll get all their needs will be met. But but most people, if they could

Stephanie:
Stay at home, that’s what they want until something happens and they take a fall and now they have no choice.

Hanh:
Yeah, that decision will come typically because of an incident it’s going to be a need base. Right. And everything you described with regard to the amenities that you get from home, which is great. But let me tell you, I don’t know if you get a five-star meal, at home or, swimming and.

Hanh:
All these amenities and spa’s and wellness and engagement. So you do get, I guess, your own means.

Hanh:
Of what you can at home, but it’s nowhere near what is available in a community.

Stephanie:
Not. Absolutely Hanh, not even close it’s. It’s, it’s hard, the only people

Stephanie:
That can kind of, I think I feel that concur. An environment

Stephanie:
Like that, or people of means that have a lot of wealth that can bring in staff and bring in all of this stuff. But the majority of the population they, they

Stephanie:
Can’t create that community environment in a home environment. They can’t and the costs

Stephanie:
Let’s talk about the costs. The cost of senior living community environment is almost less expensive at this point than having 24/7 aid in a home. And caregivers in the home. It’s become

Stephanie:
In top of that. You still have to maintain the house. You still have to pay the electricity. You still have. If you may or may not have a mortgage.

Hanh:
Yeah.

Stephanie:
You still have to repair the roof. You still have to buy the food. You still have to pay for the electric bill, the cable bill, all of those, all, every, all of that is included in a community setting, which is so that

Stephanie:
If you compare apples to apples, the cost is almost. And then taking the cost. And if it’s either the same or even less expensive, you still

Stephanie:
Are not getting the enrichment and the engagement and the socialization, which we all know helps you maintain a healthy lifestyle. There’s no question.

Hanh:
You describe some of the amenities in the offerings that the current senior living communities offer right now. So now what are your thoughts on senior living community? Let’s say bill for five, 10 plus years from now, what do you think that need to consist of?

Stephanie:
Well, I know that the market is right now is looking at very close. At building

Stephanie:
Communities that not only have office, uh,

Stephanie:
Physician’s offices and healthy aging centers in sort of

Stephanie:
Like a multi-use type project, but that’s where the future is starting to up senior housing is starting to go. We’re starting to see communities such as ours, our new coral Gables project. We just broke

Stephanie:
Ground and we’re going to be partnering

Stephanie:
Our joint venture is with Baptist health, which is a big provider, a healthcare provider in south Florida. And there were Belmont village will be above a multi-use complex where

Stephanie:
There’ll be that to self we’ll have healthy aging where people can go downstairs, have their blood pressure check and can it be way they can take exercise classes? They can just have the holistic, healthy approach. Right there in the same building. So the mov

Stephanie:
Model, which is the medical office building complexes, coupled with age related, healthy aging, providers.

Stephanie:
Along with senior living is where we were starting to hear that buzz.

Stephanie:
Now we’re starting to see providers looking to create that entire holistic approach so people can have sort of a one-stop shop. Right now, what we’re doing as providers is we’re bringing in those independent mobile physicians

Stephanie:
You know, we’re bringing in the mobile podiatrists, the mobile audiologists, the mobile dermatologist and mobile

Stephanie:
Lab, but the providers are now looking at bringing, having those at the bottom floor of their buildings. So people can just go up the elevator down to their healthy aging complex and, and, and so that’s that’s kinda

Stephanie:
What we’re hearing now is what people are looking at.

Hanh:
It makes sense. If you can.

Hanh:
Find the real estate and be in partnership with the right healthcare provider, that’s a win-win.

Stephanie:
That’s a win-win and Belmont village

Stephanie:
Is one of those providers that are very good at partnering with healthcare systems to create that synergy between the two. We want to make it easy for our residents to stay healthy and engage but healthy, where they

Stephanie:
Have access to medical and physicians. And you know,

Stephanie:
Right now the model is you bring in those mobiles, but that’s kind where the future of senior housing is starting

Stephanie:
To go. We’re starting to see that.

Hanh:
Awesome. So what’s your thought on how we can use new technologies to communicate with residents and the media to help change people’s opinion of the industry? Well that’s I

Stephanie:
Was going to mention that earlier because I think I, I really

Stephanie:
Do believe on that. The message that all of our us as providers put out in the marketplace through Facebook through. So any social media platform, any, any um, marketing

Stephanie:
Platform, magazines ads, anytime that we advertise or put anything on social media, the best way to position who we are. And what we’re about is to tell those stories of residents actually engaged in those various activities. So we do a good

Stephanie:
Job, not only us, but other providers is sharing stories of residents actually engaged in activities or celebrating a special birthday or anniversary or some centenarian and telling those stories on social media and showing the lifestyle that, that they are living. It’s nice

Stephanie:
To have beautiful print ants of what our building looks like, what our model rooms look like, but the telltale sign is showing.

Hanh:
People.

Stephanie:
The residents, the people living their lives in our buildings, that’s the best way. And we have done as well as other providers have done a great job with social media. Now that we have that platform, and getting

Stephanie:
The word out and the messaging to see people live and in-person, on video, participating in everything

Stephanie:
That we offer.

Hanh:
Yeah, no, spot-on, I mean, I try to do.

Hanh:
That from just like what we’re doing right now, having these.

Hanh:
Candid conversations and mutliplying it pushing it out there and the various social media platforms, not only on. Linkedln, on YouTube,

Hanh:
Which I believe there’s more consumers out there. So it starts with you and I, and we all have the ability to make that shift. So, and I appreciate this conversation and that’s what we’re trying

Stephanie:
Oh, you’re welcome.

Hanh:
To do.

Stephanie:
Yeah, you’re welcome. It’s my pleasure. I’m not passionate about it. It’s you know,

Stephanie:
I came from hospitality, so I made the switch 13 years ago to move into this industry. My skill sets were very similar and I love

Stephanie:
It. I jumped in my first provider was an all memory care. My first job in this industry was

Stephanie:
All memory care was all Alzheimer’s and dementia care. So that was a big change from coming from hotels, sales, and marketing, and going into memory care and Alzheimer’s and dementia care. And and then

Stephanie:
Now coming full circle in representing a product that, that, that has everything it’s been. It’s been

Stephanie:
A wonderful and joyful experience for me and to help people and, and business

Stephanie:
Professionals and healthcare professionals and educate them on what we

Stephanie:
Do and who we are, because a lot of them are still in the dark about it. They’re, it’s,

Stephanie:
It’s a constant education. So thank you.

Hanh:
Yeah, absolutely. And I think one of the goals is that we want to get them to be unstuck right. Of their perception. So that’s great. So with a new perspective and senior living, people might find that it’s not what they think. What they, years ago,

Hanh:
And there are many communities where people have access to amenities, activities that they may not.

Hanh:
Be able to get in their own home or community center. So there are more seniors who want the independence of being out on their own, but still need some help from time to time. So that, yeah I mean you and I, anyone in the industry can show them of what these types of retirement communities that work both with their finances and lifestyle. So check Belmont Senior Living out.

Stephanie:
Absolutely. Yeah. We’re we’re happy,

Stephanie:
Happy and proud provider in the markets

Stephanie:
Where a 25 year old company, we started with a one, one product in Houston, Texas, and we’ve got 31 now in our portfolio or owned by a woman who started the company 25 years ago. So we are owners,

Stephanie:
Operators, and developers of 31 senior living communities across the country, actually 31 and one international in Mexico City. So our it’s

Stephanie:
Our first venture there. So Belmont Village Senior Living. It’s a wonderful brand. It’s a boutique brand. It’s it is it is a luxury brand and we’re, we’re

Stephanie:
Thriving. We’re doing well. We’re coming out of the pandemic stronger and better than ever.

Hanh:
Well, thank you. Thank you so much. And anyone listening, watching, feel free to reach out. Care.

Stephanie:
Thank you. B-Bye.

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Episode 135

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