Assisted Living Week: How We Can Show Appreciation – By Jennifer L. FitzPatrick

Posted on


In celebration of Assisted Living Week, Jenerations Health Education, Inc. would like to formally thank all the very generous senior living communities who have sponsored our family caregiver and continuing education programs over the years. It’s been quite a privilege for our speakers to be welcomed into these buildings which house thousands of older residents all over the country.

How can we health, legal and financial professionals who participate in senior living-sponsored educational events show our appreciation this week? Here are 5 ideas:

1. Remember you are visiting a residents’ home. Attending an educational event in a senior living community is not the same as attending one in a conference center. The staff are always striving to make sure you have a comfortable experience but their priority always must be resident care. So if it takes a little time for the free coffee to be refilled, try to be patient!

2. Try to leave the restrooms and event space the way you found it. When a senior living community opens up its doors to professionals, an additional burden is placed on housekeeping and dining services staff. That said, if there is a major spill, be sure to alert staff immediately to reduce both visitor and resident fall risk.

3. Take a tour! Many of us need to run out the door after the event to get back to our busy patient and client schedules. But if you have some time try to join the staff for a quick tour. You never know if a client, patient or even your own family member would be a good candidate for their services someday.

4. Send a quick thank you e-mail to the staff member who invited you. You might mention that you appreciated the presentation topic or the delicious omelet station. But better yet mention something positive you observed or experienced that day. Did you watch a certified nursing assistant patiently assist a resident down the hall? Note the nursing assistant’s name and pass on the compliment! Everyone in healthcare hears so many complaints–make their day by sharing something you saw that was positive.

5. Leave a review on social media! Most senior living communities have a Facebook, Linkedin or Instagram page. Mention your positive experience and include a photo of you enjoying their special event (just be cautious about featuring residents in a photo unless you have explicit permission from the resident and/or his/her power of attorney).

Jennifer L. FitzPatrick – MSW, LCSW-C, CSP
The founder of Jenerations Health Education, Inc., Jennifer FitzPatrick has over 20 years’ experience in healthcare and gerontology. The author of Cruising Through Caregiving: Reducing The Stress of Caring For Your Loved One, she is also a gerontology instructor at Johns Hopkins University. She helps you reduce stress and increase productivity, morale and revenue. Jennifer and Cruising Through Caregiving have been featured in Forbes, U.S. News & World Report, The Huffington Post, Reader’s Digest, Univision and The Chicago Tribune. She has also appeared on ABC and Sirius XM.

Five Secrets Caregivers Wish Healthcare Professionals Knew – By Jennifer L. FitzPatrick

Posted on


How much do you know about the caregivers of your patients?  Here are 5 secrets caregivers of your patients are desperate for you to know:

Secret #1: They’re stressed…probably more than you think.  Most caregivers are juggling multiple priorities and usually have little experience navigating the complexities of the healthcare system.  While  formal assessments like the Caregiver Strain Index and the Caregiver Reaction Scale can help you understand specific stressors they are facing, one simple question can quickly uncover their stress level.  Ask the patient’s caregiver to assign a number to his or her stress level (0-low through 100 (high).

Secret #2: They often feel stuck.  Most caregivers report feeling like they don’t have a choice—caregiving is an obligation.  They also often feel trapped with tunnel-vision about what a “good caregiver” is and feel like they have to live up to that image.

Secret #3:  They are constantly being hit with surprises.  There are often unrealistic expectations for how long the caregiving experience will last (usually longer than expected).  Sticker shock occurs over what insurance does not cover.

Secret #4: They feel their loved one’s situation is special.  Of course healthcare professionals recognize that each patient and caregiver’s situation is unique.  But caregivers appreciate when the healthcare professional acknowledges and validates the distinctive circumstances their family is facing.

Secret #5: They need us to be sensitive in the way we communicate with them.  While we must be candid about healthcare information, it will benefit the caregiver as well as the patient if we are culturally and generationally sensitive in conversation.  It’s also critical to breakdown technical healthcare terms and jargon into language the caregiver can grasp and apply to their loved one’s situation.

If you’ve been a caregiver, what else do you think healthcare professionals should know about your experience?  If you are a healthcare leader, how is your organization meeting the needs of your patients’ caregivers?

Jennifer L. FitzPatrick – MSW, LCSW-C, CSP
The founder of Jenerations Health Education, Inc., Jennifer FitzPatrick has over 20 years’ experience in healthcare and gerontology. The author of Cruising Through Caregiving: Reducing The Stress of Caring For Your Loved One, she is also a gerontology instructor at Johns Hopkins University. She helps you reduce stress and increase productivity, morale and revenue. Jennifer and Cruising Through Caregiving have been featured in Forbes, U.S. News & World Report, The Huffington Post, Reader’s Digest, Univision and The Chicago Tribune. She has also appeared on ABC and Sirius XM.

Does The Patient Have Quality of Life? How Do You Know? – By Jennifer L. FitzPatrick

Posted on


Are you the healthcare provider for an older patient?  A family caregiver for an older loved one?  In less than two minutes this video will help you determine if this person has quality of life or not:

Click above video or go to:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r9uRLETJKsw

If your patient or loved one’s daily life revolves around the television, it’s time for a change.  Consider that your patient or loved one may need:

  1. To be assessed for depression.
  2. To move to a senior living community where he or she will be prompted & encouraged to interact with others.
  3. A new home care aide who is committed to engage in meaningful activities with this person.

What else do you think might benefit a person whose daily life revolves around the couch or “that chair?”

Jennifer L. FitzPatrick – MSW, LCSW-C, CSP
The founder of Jenerations Health Education, Inc., Jennifer FitzPatrick has over 20 years’ experience in healthcare and gerontology. The author of Cruising Through Caregiving: Reducing The Stress of Caring For Your Loved One, she is also a gerontology instructor at Johns Hopkins University. She helps you reduce stress and increase productivity, morale and revenue. Jennifer and Cruising Through Caregiving have been featured in Forbes, U.S. News & World Report, The Huffington Post, Reader’s Digest, Univision and The Chicago Tribune. She has also appeared on ABC and Sirius XM.

Entrepreneurs Who Are Also Family Caregivers Series – By Jennifer L. FitzPatrick

Posted on


This article is the third in a series about successful entrepreneurs who are crushing it in their businesses but also managing the challenge of caring for a loved one.

Bob Phibbs has been known as The Retail Doctor (www.retaildoc.com [retaildoc.com]) since 1994 when he started his company.  He helps retail companies like Tommy Bahama, Hunter Douglas and Vera Bradley create extraordinary customer experiences.  He’s also a professional speaker and the author of The Retail Doctor’s Guide To Growing Your Business.  While creating and growing this incredible business, Bob has also been taking care of his partner of thirty years, John, who has a degenerative disorder.

Bob emphasizes how important his friendships have been to his ability to develop a successful business while taking good care of John.  While many caregivers appreciate their friends, Bob’s perspective is unique.  He says, ““Just make sure you’re not updating them daily or you never get a break.” 

While sometimes you want to vent to friends about your caregiving struggles, you may get more relief by letting a friend distract you with a funny story or going bowling, or watching a baseball game.  What can caregivers who are running businesses learn from Bob’s perspective?

  1. Business owners tend to be focused on growing their companies and little else.  Especially when a business owner is caregiving, there is often little time left for friends.  Make time—they can be truly invaluable to keeping you afloat during the tough times.
  2. Know that different friends can offer different types of help.  Some friends are great listeners.  Others may be better at making you laugh.
  3. If you do find yourself venting constantly to friends about the stress of business ownership and caregiving, consider a support group or psychotherapist.

Join us next week for the fourth article in this series about entrepreneurship and caregiving!

Jennifer L. FitzPatrick – MSW, LCSW-C, CSP
The founder of Jenerations Health Education, Inc., Jennifer FitzPatrick has over 20 years’ experience in healthcare and gerontology. The author of Cruising Through Caregiving: Reducing The Stress of Caring For Your Loved One, she is also a gerontology instructor at Johns Hopkins University and an Education Consultant to the Alzheimer’s Association. She helps you reduce stress and increase productivity, morale and revenue. Jennifer and Cruising Through Caregiving have been featured in Forbes, U.S. News & World Report, The Huffington Post, Reader’s Digest, Univision and The Chicago Tribune. She has also appeared on ABC and Sirius XM.

Three Reasons You Aren’t Building Momentum With Your Senior Living Marketing Events – By Jennifer L. FitzPatrick

Posted on


Savvy senior living sales and marketing teams have long counted on events to help build their pipeline. Inquiry events build and further relationships with prospective residents and their family members. Continuing education and other networking events allow you to do the same with professional referral sources. But if you are struggling to build momentum with your senior living marketing events, maybe you are making one of these three mistakes:

  1. You aren’t planning far enough ahead. Even you are able to secure a quality speaker with minimal notice, you want to advertise at least a month ahead of time. Unless you already have a following of “regulars” who are on the lookout for your event information, it’s likely to be a tiny audience if your lead time is short.
  2. You assume prospective guests only need to hear about your event once. You know how fast-paced the world is. Don’t assume that one mailer will get the attention of your perfect audience. You want your ideal attendee to get sick of hearing about your event! Do e-blasts. Drop off flyers where your prospective guests congregate. Advertise in newsletters, newspapers as well as on social media. Ask non-competing industry partners to share with their networks. Make sure your guest speaker is engaged in this process as well.
  3. You aren’t ready when they show up. If the room in which your event is to be held is still being set up, your guests notice. They also notice if there isn’t someone from your community on hand to greet them when they arrive. If food is to be served after your speaker presents that’s fine– but at minimum beverage service (coffee, iced tea, water, etc.) should be available when guests arrive. A good rule of thumb is to have your room and refreshments ready at least 30 minutes before start time. And make sure you (or somebody) from your community is able to say hello to those early birds.

If you plan ahead, market the heck out of your event and are bright-eyed and organized when your senior living event guests arrive, you will be on your way to building your senior living event momentum!

Jennifer L. FitzPatrick – MSW, LCSW-C, CSP
The founder of Jenerations Health Education, Inc., Jennifer FitzPatrick has over 20 years’ experience in healthcare and gerontology. The author of Cruising Through Caregiving: Reducing The Stress of Caring For Your Loved One, she is also a gerontology instructor at Johns Hopkins University and an Education Consultant to the Alzheimer’s Association. She helps you reduce stress and increase productivity, morale and revenue. Jennifer and Cruising Through Caregiving have been featured in Forbes, U.S. News & World Report, The Huffington Post, Reader’s Digest, Univision and The Chicago Tribune. She has also appeared on ABC and Sirius XM.