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0:00:25.9 ANNOUNCER: It’s time to grow your bank as 107.7 The Bronc presents Master Your Finances with Kurt Baker, a certified financial planner professional with Certified Wealth Management and Investment. Kurt and his team of financial guests will help you turn those singles into seas of green and plan your financial future accordingly. Now, here is your money managing host for the hour. Kurt Baker.
0:00:52.5 Kurt Baker: Are you familiar with in an exciting new option in Senior Care? Kevin Herman, the owner and operator of Senior Helpers for over 15 years, is excited to share with you a new model for Adult Day and Enrichment Center Services located on Princeton Health Campus, Town Square Adult Day and Enrichment Center. Based on the success of his first location in Brick, New Jersey and the apparent need for this type of service, Kevin recently opened a second location. What makes the center unique is the design of the center and the high-end programming provided. Town Square looks like a 1950s town inside and focuses on the use of reminiscence therapy and memory care activities that according to scientific research, have demonstrated improved mood, memory, sleep and general cognitive ability. Get ready to feel relieved and excited about this new concept that will help you age in place. Welcome, Kevin, we also have Linda on the call, so I appreciate you coming out and tell us a little bit about how maybe you got started in the idea of you even doing this concept up in Brick. So what got you thinking about this?
0:02:00.3 Kevin Herman: Well, as you mentioned, for a long time, I’ve owned and operated Senior Helpers and still do, and it just seemed like the next natural step in the continuum. Prior to that, I was a physical therapist providing home care, and saw the need for Senior Helpers and the care in the homes. And then as you know, things developed and we saw more of a need for socialization and specialty Alzheimer’s and dementia care, this concept was brought to my attention. So I went to see the original site in Chula Vista, which was a much smaller version of what we have now, and I really fell in love with the idea. And I came back and spoke with Linda about it, and our Senior Helpers office is in Brick where Linda’s also located, and we had been there for, I think that office for about seven years, and I asked Linda what her thoughts would be, and she was all for it. And Linda has a strong background of Alzheimer’s and dementia for a variety of reasons, and the fact that Linda was all excited about as much as she’s excited about it as I was, we moved forward with it.
0:03:08.3 Kurt Baker: Well, that’s just awesome. So you mentioned that, I guess part of this is you designed it over a 1950s town inside, so is that because that is the period where many of these adults grew up? Is that why that works? So why does that kind of work? Does that bring back some memories? And help them connect to the past a little bit better? Is that what’s happening there?
0:03:30.4 Kevin Herman: Yes, to all of the above.
0:03:31.7 Kurt Baker: Okay. Alright.
0:03:32.8 Kevin Herman: Yeah, it’s settling in 1950s and there’s various storefronts that bring you back and help you reminisce. I mentioned that we have a theater, we have an art room, we have a therapy room, we have… Linda you can help me out here any time you wanna jump in. We have a library learning center. Again, all their decor and everything included in there is set in that time frame, because our members and adults in general form their strongest memories in teens to early 20s. And when, especially with Alzheimer’s and dementia, people suffering with or living with this, the disease process tend to be stuck in that time period. So the reminiscence, not only for people with Alzheimer’s, dementia or people with, who just wanna come and socialize really helps you to provide a comforting setting. And in certain circumstances, it really helps people improve their ability to speak and their ability to interact and really to enjoy their day, and they really… It helps them define a true sense of purpose for being there again. And I think that’s something that is the most important. As we talk about it, I think we’ll get into that a little bit more.
0:04:49.4 Kurt Baker: I do remember once a while ago, we’re talking to somebody who works in memory care and dementia areas, and they talked about how playing music from the period that they grew up in can actually help, I guess, somehow stimulate the brain and somehow help with their actual memory and their cognitive capabilities and actually slow the decline, is that, well, first of all, is that true? And secondly, does this tie into that kind of concept where you’re really kinda connecting to the brain to something when it was younger, maybe healthier and it kind of revives itself a little bit? Is that a way to re-stimulate some of the old… The memory cells, so to speak, and the brain cells up there?
0:05:24.2 Kevin Herman: It is, and for that reason, we added a music room to both of our centers. That’s something that Linda and I both believe very strongly in, and I’ll give you my opinion on it, and then Linda, you can jump in, but we had… I’ll give you an example. We had a member in our Brick location who was very disengaged, he didn’t wanna interact, didn’t wanna be a part of any of the activities, kinda just hung in the background. And once he got to the music room and became a little bit comfortable, they were doing an activity where you had to name the singer of the song that was actually Tutti Frutti, and he got up and started dancing and singing, the things that you wouldn’t think that he could do. Just looking at him, he was a completely different person. We had to clear tables out because I thought he was gonna… Dancing so aggressively. But it was just a really special thing to see. So yes, it does work in the ways you mentioned.
0:06:20.8 Kurt Baker: Well, that’s just amazing. So Linda, I know you wanna talk a little bit here, so you wanna tell us a little bit what your thoughts on how, I guess you’re running the Brick location, is that correct? Am I understanding…
0:06:29.6 Linda: Actually, no, I’m not the center director for either locations…
0:06:32.4 Kurt Baker: Oh, you’re not. I’m sorry about that.
0:06:32.4 Linda: I’m working more as a director of development with Kevin for programming and for new sites and making sure that each site launches in the way that we have a mission and vision for. But the music is an amazing thing and we could not envision our center without a music room or without adding music to it. It has a way to engage people, just basically because of it’s tied to us from younger years, and it will actually set aside anxiety, it will cause people to be able to engage it will allow them to be able to experience things from the past. And that’s part of what the reminiscence therapy is that we do, and the reason that we are created as a small town, because we are filled with props and prompts from the 50s and 60s that help to make people feel more comfortable, first of all, but then we’ll also help to engage them in their past experiences that are so positive in their life. It helps to restore their sense of purpose. When you retire, you lose your sense of purpose and you lose your sense of identity. And daily we’re seeing them talk about the things that they’ve done in the past and the achievements that they’ve made, and there’s such a sense of pride in an accomplishment in that. And we love the community that has been formed in both of our locations as people support one another, listen respectfully, and really engage with one another.
0:08:05.0 Kurt Baker: Wow, that’s just incredible. As you’re talking about this, I’m envisioning two locations all of a sudden, I’m envisioning like Williamsburg, where I’m going back to colonial periods where I’m visiting like Disney where they kind of formulate this image of an area that you wanna be in or a fantasy. So you’re really creating like this, recreating, so to speak, the 50s which is kind of neat. Right? So they’re like almost… They’ve been transported to a different place in time, it sounds like.
0:08:28.2 Kevin Herman: That’s exactly what it is.
0:08:29.3 Linda: Yeah. Actually, we’ve been described as Disneyland for seniors in south…
0:08:33.3 Kevin Herman: That’s what I was gonna say.
0:08:35.0 Kurt Baker: Okay. Well, that was the image you’re giving me, so you’re a very good description of the hood. So… That’s just amazing. So you told me about the gentleman, I guess he heard the music and he was dancing and so forth. So any other people that you’ve had come through this experience that you have, by coming into this location and seeing this area that they might be somewhat familiar with as far as the period goes?
0:08:56.9 Kevin Herman: Yeah, there’s another music example for our Princeton location, we had a similar situation where the member was disengaged and one of our team members had a ukulele around that she likes to play, and the member started playing that. And it’s something that she hadn’t done in many, many, many years, but was able to bring all that back and kinda took her right back there. And then once things like that start to happen, you begin to think more about what you can do with music, so we added a baby grand piano and we’re gonna add some other things to keep that going. But there’s just examples all over the place of how being in a setting like this is comforting.
0:09:39.1 Kevin Herman: My favorite is we had a gentleman who was very anxious, he was also disengaged and had some problems with mood and especially at home and interacting with his loved ones. And as he became more comfortable in the center and developed some consistency coming and interacting and forming new friendships, he was actually able to come off his anxiety medicine at home. So to me, I know we would have… I thought we would have a strong impact in a lot of ways, but that’s something that never even crossed my mind, that we could actually help someone come off of medication. And not only that, it helped improve his mood and his interactions with his family, which is something that you just… It’s hard to imagine that you would have these interactions back that you thought were long gone. So for those family members, it had to be very impactful experience.
0:10:32.1 Kurt Baker: Yeah. That’s fascinating. ‘Cause you brought up another thing that I’ve I heard once and you can tell me it’s true and not. But my understanding is like listening to music like stimulates your brain in certain ways, which obviously in this case had some very great successes, but you also mentioned the lady who played the ukulele. My understanding is if you’re actually playing the instrument or singing or things like that actually engaged in the activity, doesn’t that actually stimulate other parts of the brain as well to kind of even make a deeper connection? Isn’t that kind of what you’re doing here with all these different stimulations?
0:11:00.5 Kevin Herman: I would think so. And I think you’re probably waking things up that, you know, haven’t been used in a long time. And for that reason, you know, it helps you relax or it helps you to be able to in interact in different ways. So I don’t know the exact reason, but yes, it does work.
0:11:15.0 Kurt Baker: Wow. That’s just incredible. Yeah, we’re getting close to the first break here. So you’ve been listening to Master Your Finance. We’re gonna take a quick break. We’ll be right back.
0:11:23.7 ANNOUNCER: This is Master Your Finances with Kurt Baker, certified financial planner professional. Learn about tax efficiency, liability, owning, managing, and saving your money and more from Kurt and his experienced panel of guests. Master Your Finances is underwritten in part by Certified Wealth Management and Investment and Rider University. Rider University offers flexible education for adult learners. For more information it’s rider.edu/nextstep.
0:11:52.9 Kurt Baker: Come back you’re listening to Master Your Finances. We’re here with Kevin and Linda. And we’re talking about this wonderful new development you guys put together here. I guess the most recent location is here in Plainsboro, which you start off with the Brick location you had for quite a while, and now you have like this 50s-themed location, right? So you wanna tell us a little bit about what you did as far as the background, the research, why you built it the way you did? It seems to be becoming very successful based on the stories you just told us. Wanna see a little background on how you, ’cause a lot of times people think, well, you just go do something and it’s great. Right? But you do need to do a little bit of homework, let’s say, before you want to go off on a venture this massive. So what did you guys do ahead of time to come up with a concept and then implement it here in Plainsboro?
0:12:35.6 Kevin Herman: Linda, do you wanna take that one?
0:12:37.2 Linda: Sure. So it’s based on the concept from the Glenner Family Alzheimer’s Foundation, out of Chula Vista. Dr. Glenner was the research doctor trying to find a cure for Alzheimer’s disease. He’s actually the one I believe who identified the beta protein in Alzheimer’s, and throughout his journey in trying to support the need for a cure, he continually ran into situations with supporting families who were struggling with the care at home, for people who have having huge changes in their life and particularly behavioral changes. Becoming overwhelmed with the care. And he actually, at one point took a call at midnight from a patient’s husband who was about to end his wife’s life and his own because he couldn’t cope any longer. And an amazing story is that he and his wife were able to talk this patient off the ledge, get him some help, but it was the catalyst that drove him to open a daycare in California in the 80s, one of the first.
0:13:48.5 Linda: And they, it was actually located in a little blue house. And that’s why every Town Square now going forward has a little blue house in it. Our little blue house format for both locations here is like a living room in the 50s. The Princeton location also has a kitchen in it. But it’s a very comforting space for our members. I think that was an astounding response for somebody who was working as a research scientist, to have the empathy to understand what families are going through, to be able to meet that need and find a solution. And I think that’s what we see every day here. When members come to visit us for the first time with their families, the stress and the emotion on the faces of the family members is truly palpable. And the change that occurs within the first 2-3 weeks of their loved one attending at Town Square is remarkable. They’re coming in after their members are with us more relaxed, having been able to pay more attention to themselves and their own needs. And so what we love about the fact that is that our service provides not only extraordinary and revolutionary care for the members, but it provides incredible respite for the families.
0:15:08.6 Kurt Baker: I think that’s a big piece that a lot of people don’t understand, especially when they’re planning like younger ages. They’re like, “Oh, when I get older, I’m not gonna worry about it. My family’s gonna take care of me.” And one of the things that I often bring up is that when, if that situation occurs, you wanna be the family member, you don’t wanna be the caregiver, because what happens as I’m sure you’ll agree with me is that what’ll happen is if you start becoming the family… The caregiver and trying to be the family member, you’re gonna start to literally resent them because you’re working all the time to try to manage them. And you no longer wanna go over and visit, or you wanna stay with them because now it’s work. Right? But if you have the proper care in place, you can come and offer that family that emotional connection as a family member, in addition to the technical support and the daily needs of things that need to happen, which is handled by the providers. So you need both of those, right? And I think somebody will misunderstand that you can’t really do both as a family member long term, and really have it work out best for everybody. That’s my personal opinion. What do you guys think?
0:16:08.4 Kevin Herman: Yeah, I agree with that 100% and you’re touching on things like caregiver burnout and the stress that comes along with it. And we’ve seen that time and time again, and this is a great solution for that. And then it’s also, it’s the opposite solution is true. You know, if that, if you a family member that you have to care for, maybe they could have some care at home and you could come out and get some socialization in a center like this. ‘Cause that’s one of the biggest reasons for having this is for socialization. So it is a social daycare. There are a lot of medical models out there, but we really felt the need that, it felt that there was a need for the socialization, especially after the pandemic and so many horror stories that people being isolated, it was just a very, a very timely thing to put into place. And you have options, you have home care you have other options, but there’s not… There’s only so much socialization you can do at home.
0:17:03.3 Kevin Herman: So this is, I think, fills a gap of being at home or being in the assisted living facility or having to go to a medical center where you don’t need to be there’s this mid-road where we can come in and help and then actually prevent you having to go to those next steps, which is another, I think, important thing to mention.
0:17:22.8 Kurt Baker: Right. ‘Cause you mentioned early on, maybe you can describe the exact kind of mechanics of what people typically do as a client. Because it’s not 24/7 care is my understanding, is that correct? It’s daycare, right? So they come in, they spend time, is that my understanding? Is that how this works? Or tell me, yeah.
0:17:38.9 Kevin Herman: The idea, yeah, exactly. The idea is, nine to five, we can do a shortened day or a full day. But the idea is when you come in, you can experience activities that are geared towards you and your likes and your dis… Not towards your dislikes, but taking them into account and in your past, and what would be exciting for you to do. Because we have so many different storefronts, nobody, well, they’re actually actual rooms. They’re not just storefronts, but you’re not forced to do any one activity. So in a typical senior we’ll say center, you know, you have a 2000-square-foot room where typically where people are just kind of sitting around, they might be doing bingo. They might be doing something else, but they’re all, it’s all one activity whether you like it or not. This, we try to be the exact opposite. It’s a 12,000-square-foot building with huge rooms that can fit numerous people. And when you come in, you can let, depending on your cognitive ability or let’s say you had Alzheimer’s or dementia, the idea is that you can move around at, on a different level with people that are experiencing the same thing that you are and have those activities be geared the same.
0:18:50.0 Kurt Baker: Oh, that’s pretty cool. So what kind of activities do you typically have… We talked about the music and things like that, so what other types of activities they typically engage in when they go to the center?
0:18:58.7 Kevin Herman: [0:18:58.8] ____ Look, Linda’s passed as an Activities Director, I’m gonna let her take that one.
0:19:03.6 Kurt Baker: Okay, sounds good, Linda. Okay.
0:19:03.7 Linda: That’s the beauty of it. It is a varied program, and Kevin’s right, the importance is that that we group our members based on their abilities so that they’re gonna be successful, and then the next step is their personal interest, so with the 13 different locations we have, they can be engaging in games in the game room, they’ll do anything… We have a pool table, the men play poker, we can have separate groups sitting and playing cards at different tables, or they can all be gathered together for a Giant Jenga game and trying to solve that puzzle and having a topple all over the place, and then if we move on to the little blue house, which is our living room. We have quieter activities like puzzles or of a club discussion, could be somebody just simply sitting there knitting or reading a book if they want to withdraw from a group and have some private time, and we have a theater that seats 40 people, so we don’t typically show full-length movies in our theater because our groups move more frequently than that, but we use that room to show clips of movies and reminisce about the past and talk about actors, and maybe sing some jingles from the commercials from the 50s, which are a lot of fun.
0:20:12.4 Linda: Those are… A lot of the things that we do are not only reminiscing engagement, but also what we would call Brain Games and keeping the brain active, and we are amazingly surprised that the answers that come out a we move through the day. We have a diner where a large group activities can occur where we hold Socials, we have in the Brick location, we’re proud to have a bocce court, an indoor bocce court, so there they can do bowling, bocce, horseshoes, they can also… They also do Croquet and putting on the green. We have a hair salon where services can be provided, and that’s a nice kind of one-stop shop for family caregivers, you don’t have to make an extra appointment, that appointment can be done right here in a city hall where our veterans love to me because it is a room where we’ve dedicated one wall to each medallion of the branch of service, and we call it our wall of honor for our veterans and our learning center where we take virtual tours every day.
0:21:17.2 Linda: They can visit aquariums and museums and parks and take courses if they want to, and have conversations throughout the day and just continue their learning process, that’s one of the myths about seniors is that they don’t wish to learn anything or try new things, and every day we’re trying new things as a former activity director, that’s one of the biggest rewards to have somebody who’s in their 90s at the end of the day say, “you know, that’s the first time I’ve ever done that in my life,” what a gift to be able to give that to somebody…
0:21:48.0 Kurt Baker: Well, that’s what they say. Well, you’ve mentioned a couple of things here. One is you need to keep stimulating your brain regardless, right, regardless of your age, and especially as you get older, you need to keep doing things, and they say You should also not just keep doing things, but do things that are new and different, because then you’re activating new parts of the brain or reconnecting things. That’s my understanding. So if you try something never done before, you’re making your brain work in a very different way than if you’re doing something that you’ve done for decades. Right?
0:22:14.0 Linda: That’s true. And I think that the challenging part of that is, is part of living with Alzheimer’s or dementia is, it’s really harder to learn new things as we age typically, we can learn new things, but it takes us a little bit longer. With Alzheimer’s and dementia in play there’s pieces of the brain missing that don’t allow us to learn new things, but what we love about our staff is that they’re trained to work with that, so that we can help people and cue them along the process in an appropriate way that helps them to be successful.
0:22:46.9 Kevin Herman: And I wanted to add to that, where we’re constantly developing new activities and different things based on that, a lot of our members are accomplished people, and I think that’s something people forget about. When someone’s a senior… And you were talking about, I know poets, inventors, scientists, artists, people that are used to having their brains stimulated on a regular and almost constant basis, and now it’s not, so helping them fill that void and continue the stimulation, I think is very important.
0:23:18.5 Kurt Baker: Oh, that’s fantastic. Oh, we’re gonna take another quick break here. You’re listening to Master Your Finances, we’ll be right back.
0:23:24.4 ANNOUNCER: This is Master Your Finances with Kurt Baker, a certified financial planner professional. Learn about tax efficiency, liability, owning, managing and saving your money, and more from Kurt and his experienced panel of guests. Master Your Finances is underwritten and part by Certified Wealth Management and Investment and Rider University. Rider university offers flexible education for adult learners. For more information it’s rider.edu/nextstep.
0:23:54.5 Kurt Baker: Welcome back, you’re listening to Master Your Finances. We’re here with the Kevin and Linda. And we’ve been talking about, I think I just went back to the 50s, even though I was born in the 60s. I’m not sure how that happened, but it’s kind of fun. I feel like this is like Leave It to Beaver for seniors. Right? We got this whole new neighborhood, all your friends. We know Eddie and Beaver and all these people. Right? So you got this great atmosphere, and I know one of the things that I constantly hear about an experience is that as people age, unfortunately, if you continue to age, you’re gonna lose friends, and one of the big things you need to do is make new friends, as you age, even while you’re aging, and so I think this sounds like it would be a great place to meet new friends with similar interests, so have you seen that roll out since you’ve done this process here?
0:24:41.0 Kevin Herman: We’ve seen a number of examples of how our members come in, sometimes they maybe hesitant because they don’t really know anyone or everyone there. It does, it take some time to adjust. But once they do, we find that they’re really immersed in being part of a new community and a new group of friends, and one of the strongest impacts we’ve seen is that as that starts to happen and people start to feel comfortable, they really do feel that they have a purpose to coming to the Center now, and just a purpose in general, and for… In one situation where we were forming a board, this really came to light where they… Our members really wanted to have a true sense of purpose in specific ways, and Linda, I think you can explain that if you were a…
0:25:27.2 Linda: Early on, we had a meeting with our members to talk about what was working well for them and what would they like to see for increased activity or increased services, and they decided on their own that they wanted to formulate several groups. They surprised us because we do have a 1955 Oldsmobile in the Brick location, and a 1959 Thunderbird in the Princeton location, and we expected that because most, many of our members are male, we expected that they would say they’d like to have a car club, and they declined a car club.
0:26:00.9 Linda: They decided instead that they wanted to have a Veterans Club, and they wanted to have a service organization so that they could give back to the community, that one especially touched my heart and speaks to the idea that our seniors don’t cease the need to be a part of community, that they always want to be a part of community and be connected. And then the third was a cooking club, so they formed all those groups, but they also decided that they needed officers and they decided on their own what those officers were gonna be, so they named themselves as president, vice president, we have a governor. We have a secretary of state, a mayor, and there are several others that didn’t fit the normal realm, but that’s what they wanted to have, and they have board meetings where they chair the meeting and decide what’s going to happen next, what requests that they have of us.
0:26:52.7 Kurt Baker: No, that’s pretty amazing. Be careful, it sounds like they might take over if you’re not careful here.
0:26:55.7 Linda: They could.
0:26:58.9 Kevin Herman: Some of them have.
0:27:00.9 Kurt Baker: They’re organizing on this, but that means they’re staying mentally active, physically active and literally giving back to the community, so they’re literally coming together and all of those, in some way, shape… I guess the cooking club was for yours, but my guess is when they cook, they’re gonna cook for themselves, probably, they’re probably taking some of that home with them. Right, so all of those things sound like they’re gonna give back in some way, shape, or form through producing something, so this to me sounds like not only do they wanna go out and do activities, they wanna do activities that are productive and continue to do things to contribute to societies, is what it sounds like to me.
0:27:35.6 Linda: Exactly, that’s been very, very important to them, they have done several service projects where they reached out to a local school and made bookmarks for them, they’ve… Last October in our Brick location, they made greeting cards during Breast Cancer Awareness Month for women who are dealing with breast cancer issues, they did something special for Veterans Day, and they have also prepared some packets for a new program that we have in the community, so they’re very community-minded. No question about it.
0:28:06.9 Kurt Baker: Okay, so yeah, that’s fantastic. So have you noticed through these social interactions, you mentioned some people come in, they’re a little bit hesitant, I know… A lot of us are pretty shy, I know people that I really don’t wanna out and interact, like, “Look, I’m fine, I’m just gonna stay home.” How do you kind of encourage them, or even the family members, to encourage somebody who might be a little bit resistant to going out and socializing because it just might be able to be a little bit overwhelming, so how could you kinda comfort them a little bit so they might be willing to take that risk.
0:28:39.2 ANNOUNCER: I think that comes down to our staff and their backgrounds and their experience, and additionally, the training that we give them. When we were putting the team together, we really were very specific in selecting people that could do what you’re asking, and a lot of it comes down to personality and experience. So they’re the two main things. If you’re speaking of someone who has Alzheimer’s or dementia, I think that’s a whole different conversation because you definitely need special training to be able to accomplish what you had just referenced, and for that reason, we have a specialty training program, it’s called the GEMS Program, that was put together by an occupational therapist Teepa Snow, and it’s a very… I’ll give you the short version of it, but it’s a very long involved training to where it helps our staff members look at where our members are along the disease process, and according to that level or GEM level, here’s the behaviors we expect to see, here’s how you should interact, and once that training is done is really an eye-opener for a lot of people, including myself, and that by itself allows you to work through the situations to help someone who is resistant. Linda, did you wanna add anything there?
0:29:58.6 Linda: Yeah, the hard part for the disease process, in living with Alzheimer’s and dimensions, everybody’s gonna come to a stage, and our members are identified not by number stages, but by gems. Literally sapphires, diamonds, emeralds, ambers, rubies and pearls. There’s a stage at the Emerald stage where someone who is an emerald really believes they’re okay, I don’t need any help, I’m perfectly fine, and it’s clear that they’re not to everybody but themselves, and so we have to do some workarounds in that realm to be able to help them accept the idea of care, and what we have learned is there is a transition period sometimes with that level, but it can be overcome as long as family members are able to remain positive and keep them coming over a period of two to three weeks, we find they adapt really, really well and become accepting of being with us.
0:30:56.6 Kurt Baker: Well, that’s interesting, as it progresses, it sounds to me like not only helping the client, but you might be helping the family better understand where their loved one may be on this scale that you just mentioned, the gem scale, that may help them to interact. ‘Cause I know that as it progresses, you have to literally change the way you communicate with people and understand how they may respond or not respond in some cases. It does change over time. Is that, my understanding is that correct?
0:31:22.7 Linda: That is true. And what’s beautiful about that GEMS program is, is that it will acknowledge what the losses are in the progression of the disease, but it focuses on what are the remaining abilities, and that’s where we enter into the programming and look at what are the things that our members can do, and how can we help them accomplish that? One of the other investments that Kevin made in designing all of our locations was to add a Family Resource Center so that we can help families in understanding the disease process and help to equip them in the same way that we equip our staff members to be able to interact with someone who’s living with dementia, the beauty of the program is that it really helps the caregiver, whether that’s a family caregiver or a professional caregiver, it helps them see it from the other side, what is that person who is living with Alzheimer’s or a related dementia, what are they experiencing? And if I understand what they’re experiencing, I’m gonna make my approach differently, and that changes the entire game.
0:32:28.9 Kurt Baker: I agree, I’m equating this a little bit too, when people have physical limitations of some kind, especially when they’re like the young… People have young children with physical limitations, they raise the children based on what they’re able to do, right?
0:32:42.8 Kevin Herman: Correct.
0:32:44.1 Kurt Baker: And they make adjustments. And that’s how they become healthier and happier, so it sounds to me you have the same type of interaction when you’re talking about the mental capabilities is not to be quite as concerned about the things they can’t do, but really focus on those things that they can do in stimulating that particular area so they could be successful in what they’re able to do, is that my understanding.
0:33:05.2 Linda: That is correct. I imagine what that feels like to somebody who is compromised, knows that they’re compromised and is struggling with that, but all of a sudden comes to an environment where that’s understood and they’re equipped to be able to support you in a way to be successful. That’s a huge thing for somebody to be able… And you know what, the hard part about it for us is, they may not remember it when they get home for dinner, but I can tell you they had a great day when they were here and they left here smiling, they love here happy and that piece that goes along with the chemical changes in your body can last longer than the memory of what occurred.
0:33:50.6 Kurt Baker: Yeah, that’s just amazing. You just brought up another thought, it’s like when somebody’s like, let’s say they enjoy poetry, but you force them to do math, they’re not gonna be happy. Right? But if you encourage them to do more poetry, they’re gonna be like, “I really had a wonderful day, I think I… ” Right, and they can… Right, they go home happy. But if you made them do math all day, they’ll be like, “Why are you making me do this? I don’t like this, I don’t understand it, doesn’t someone agree with me.” So the same idea, but maybe a little different, obviously because it’s a medical issue, but yeah, do the things that you’re able to do and you’ll feel more successful. You’ll be happier, right? We’re gonna take another quick break. You’re listening to Master Your Finances.
0:34:26.1 ANNOUNCER: This is Master Your Finances with Kurt Baker, a certified financial planner professional, learn about tax efficiency, liability, owning, managing and saving your money and more from Kurt and his experienced panel of guests. Master Your Finances is underwritten in part by Certified Wealth Management and Investment and Rider University, Rider university offers flexible education for adult learners for more information it’s rider.edu/nextstep.
0:34:56.0 Kurt Baker: Welcome back, you’re listening to Master Your finance. Me here with the Kevin and Linda, and you guys have a fantastic center there heading back to the 50s where people can do a lot of different activities, which is pretty amazing, plus you have a Family Resource Center that’ll help the family members also learn a little bit about where their loved ones are on this GEMS scale, which is their capabilities, and you can focus more on what they’re able to do and really make them have a great day and feel good about themselves. That’s awesome. So you wanna tell me about… I know you had a little bit of a story about how the center got built because it was an adult center that never really opened, the pandemic happened. You wanna tell us a little bit about that whole process and your experience. I know you had some challenges getting this thing up and running, is my understanding.
0:35:38.7 Kevin Herman: Yeah, we were very fortunate to find this center that it’s located right on the Princeton Medical Campus, it was previously set up to be a medical adult day, it’s right next to a child day care that’s also on the campus. So once we found the building and looked inside of it, it was perfect for what we needed, but it was just, you know, strictly it was a nicely finished building but that was it. So what we did was we revamped in entire inside of it and made it our concept, so we built our 1950 town inside of it, and one of the things that’s unique is there is a main street, as you walk in the center with connections to the local things that… Local, a little Plainsboro and Princeton and some other things, so we were able to just kind of make it unique for the area, and we’re not done yet, so we have our areas kinda set up that we… The diner and things you mentioned, the library and the music room, so what we’re gonna do is, over time, is to begin to enclose those areas so that they’re a little bit more private with some additional walls and different tweaks that we think will help provide higher level activities.
0:36:47.3 Kevin Herman: So we are constantly, I guess, trying to reinvent what we’re doing, so the center is now where we would like it to be, the salon is coming soon, we have everything up, but we’re just waiting for specific things to be installed, but there will be a fully operating salon there as well. And we’re trying to think of different things that we can use the Center for.
0:37:10.9 Kurt Baker: And it sounds like you have a lot of interaction with the members, right? So they’re kind of telling you what they like as well, is what I’ve gathered from the previous segments, right?
0:37:18.3 Kevin Herman: Yes, and I think you kind of alluded to it, were talking about poetry and math, if you don’t like math, don’t put me in math, so let’s say you do like Math one day you’re in that activity and you don’t like it, the good news is we have so many other activities going on that you could join a different one and be happy.
0:37:36.3 Kurt Baker: Yeah, that’s just awesome. So it sounds like you’re being very, very successful, so where do we head from here, I know you got a lot going on, so any things you’re moving forward on or thinking about doing in the future.
0:37:50.3 Kevin Herman: In general. Yeah, we’re just really trying to get the word out there to let everybody know that we’re here to really build those relationships to help, so that we can help as many people as possible in the area so that they can get the experience, and it’s really… You have to come visit the center to actually… To comprehend what it is, we can talk about it a lot, but once you walk in there, it’s a completely different experience. So that’s really what we’re working on right now is outreach, and of course, always trying to revamp the programming and build new ideas, and we’re also trying to get back and serve different populations because our center, it is 9:00 to 5:00, there’s time on… After hours and on the weekends for other things, so we started thinking what can we do, how can we use this area to benefit others? And Linda had a great idea. So, Linda, can you take this one?
0:38:46.5 Linda: Sure, initially when we started, we had some inquiry calls primarily from moms of young adult women who might be living with either autism or Down Syndrome, and are high functioning and wanted to know if this was an appropriate environment for their individual. And the answer is always, well we are an adult day Enrichment Center, so yes, the question is, Is it going to be a good fit for your daughter or your son, because we’re dealing with a population that we are specializing in, which is seniors, and are they gonna be able to relate to the reminiscing that we’re doing, which is not likely. However, the environment is fun for them, and so we started to think about maybe we just need to offer some special programming after hours to start with, and see if we can meet some needs the needs for that population is just as huge as the needs for those who are living with Alzheimer’s or dementia, or those who are just aging, and so we decided to do some social programs for them and just offer our space.
0:39:50.8 Linda: And we have partnered with some of our professionals to offer that sponsorship of music, so to begin with, we did a Karaoke Luau where they came and sang and dressed up, we offered them dinner and all this is free, for the time is as we can manage it through our sponsorships with our professional partners, we’re just offering the space for them to be able to meet and get together, our next one coming up is in a couple of weeks where we’re going to be doing an ice cream social and a 50s sock hop dance for the summer. And the kids love having a place to be able to gather, the parents tell us that that is one of the biggest challenges that they have no place to go to meet friends, to be with friends, and to just have fun.
0:40:37.0 Kurt Baker: Yeah, there goes that social aspect again, right, it’s a great place for people to get together and meet friends, especially those that wouldn’t normally get out. Right? Especially of a developmental or mental health issue going on or some kind. It’s tough, it’s very tough to make friends, and I think the same thing holds true for younger parents, do they need some time for themselves as well, so they can send their son or daughter off for a few hours, that’s gonna be a huge relief to them. Right? So people don’t realize it, unless you have somebody in this situation, it’s a 24/7 job, it never lets up, and that can get really tough after a while. Right?
0:41:13.6 Linda: Exactly. One of the other services that we wanna offer is also support for the parents through this family resource center that we’ve created, and it’s really… It’s not just for our members, it’s a community service, so for the aging population, we are offering six support groups in our Brick location currently, we have one in our Princeton location already started and will be offering more there, and we add into that some educational workshops and presentations by professional partners, so that could be anything from finances, to care, to progression of the disease, but on all topics on aging so that people can age well and age with choices. One of the things that we don’t do well is plan for aging, none of us plans for it, we don’t wanna face it. We kind of just let it happen. And that’s one of the worst things you can do, ’cause when you don’t have a plan, you lose your choices, so what we try to do is educate so people can make informed choices and make the best plan for their future that they possibly can, and then we can carry that over for the special needs population and offer that same kind of support for parents who are grieving, lost dreams, things that are never gonna happen with their kids, anticipatory grief that they’re dealing with terminal illnesses, and all of that is what we’re hoping to put together over a long range plan.
0:42:43.3 Kurt Baker: I just think this is awesome, ’cause as you might be aware, in the industry I work in, it’s tough to get people to sit down and plan their lives out the way they really should be, but once you do it, they’re much happier and they’re much more successful in the same… And aging is one of these things, you’re right. It’s like they plan to take a trip, plan to take a trip and before you know it, they’re not able to take that trip, they get… They age out almost of that adventurous trip they wanted to take, so you need to kind of set a schedule, so what are some ways we can encourage people to really sit in like, Hey, bring your loved one in. Expose them to some of the social activities and see what the benefits are. Right. If you see the benefits, then you’re more likely to engage, I would think.
0:43:25.3 Linda: Mm-hmm.
0:43:25.5 Kurt Baker: Yeah.
0:43:28.1 Kevin Herman: I agree.
0:43:28.5 Kurt Baker: So what else do you got going? And so you got moving things, so the town is built up and you do a fantastic job there you’re giving back to the community. So anything else you wanna…
0:43:37.6 Kevin Herman: [0:43:37.8] ____.
0:43:38.2 Kurt Baker: What’s that?
0:43:39.3 Kevin Herman: I was gonna say one other program that we did mention that we have worked on and is up and running is a program to serve our veterans, we have found a way to help them if they qualify for the Aid and Attendance pension, that they can actually use that to come to our center. So we’ve been able to qualify veterans who could not qualify previously, so that they can get the full benefit. We can help them through that process, and I think Linda was somewhere around 12 free days a month. Is that right?
0:44:12.6 Linda: Correct. For a veteran. Yes.
0:44:14.9 Kevin Herman: Yeah, if they qualify. So just again, trying to figure out ways to help individual individuals, but also groups of people that need it.
0:44:24.1 Linda: And that’s a benefit that’s available to surviving spouses of veterans as well.
0:44:26.8 Kevin Herman: Yep.
0:44:28.1 Kurt Baker: Oh, that’s pretty cool. I didn’t know that. That’s really interesting. So you never know what benefits you might have until you start talking to something about it. Right?
0:44:37.0 Kevin Herman: Yeah.
0:44:37.6 Linda: Exactly.
0:44:38.9 Kurt Baker: Yeah, and I know you’re gonna expose this to the community, I know you’re having a chamber event there where you’re gonna invite a lot of the business people out that can maybe help get some of their people involved and maybe help support it as well as maybe some members that need people they know may need to go there, it’s what it sounds like to me.
0:44:53.9 Kevin Herman: Yes, that’s correct.
0:44:54.9 Kurt Baker: So you guys have been awesome. Any last thoughts you wanna wrap up? We’ve got about a minute left. So anything else you wanna make sure we get out there?
0:45:02.2 Kevin Herman: I’m thinking.
0:45:04.0 Linda: I do wanna say that one of the things that we’ve discovered very early on is that there’s a thought process out there for people who might be exploring this as an option, is that they’re not quite ready for it, that we need to be further along in the disease process, and what we would say is, please don’t wait, the benefits so outweigh any waiting that you think might happen, the socialization that comes early on, the lack of resistance that comes early on, the relief to the caregiver that comes early on is so valuable, we find caregivers wait too long and they’re really overwhelmed by the time they come to us.
0:45:43.6 Kurt Baker: Well, that’s excellent advice Linda, I wanna thank you both, Kevin and Linda for coming on today. You’re listening to Master Your Finances, have a great day.
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