00:00 Kurt Baker: You’re listening to a podcast of Master Your Finances with me, Kurt Baker, a Certified Financial Planner professional, Sunday mornings at 9:00 AM on 1077thebronc.com.
00:09 Kurt Baker: Morning, and welcome back to another edition of Master Your Finances, presented by Certified Wealth Management and Investment. I am Kurt Baker, a Certified Financial Planner professional located in Princeton, New Jersey. I can be reached through our website, which is www.cwmi.us, or you can call me directly at 609-716-4700. This week, very pleased to have with us Randi Goldberg of Archer Law Office, and she’s been privileged to work and live in Middlesex County her entire life. She has a lot of friends that have been all over the country that remain close to this day. A mother of two and grandmother of two. She has an associate’s degree from Mercer County College in management, worked in the senior healthcare world for more than 18 years, including assisted living as the Director of Community Relations, Nursing Home and LTC Administrative Assistant, Internal Admissions Director of Marketing, Home Care Regional Director of Home Care covering Somerset, Middlesex, and Ocean Counties. At Archer Law, she’s the Senior Resource Specialist. She has diverse experience in the healthcare field that has provided her with the skills to help families find the care that meets their needs, including placement in facilities or home care. She’s a Certified Dementia Practitioner and trained kidney educator facilitator for Straight Talk, and a member of BW NICE.
01:44 Kurt Baker: So I appreciate you coming on today, Randi. I know there’s been a lot going on over the last few months, and I know we talk often about things that we need to do to prepare ourselves, our parents for, when we get older, our needs change and we need to prepare ourselves, of course, from a legal standpoint, which is what your firm does, getting ready for maybe going into a long-term care facility or assisted living and things like that, and… But we’ve had some interesting things going on now because this has had a little bit of a different effect. I think, during the COVID pandemic there’s been a whole another view on this thing, and we’ve focused on a little bit the importance of really planning this out. So over the last few months, what have you guys seen over there as far as things that have come up, topics that have been arising in the long-term care area and the facilities and things like that? What have you guys been seeing over there?
02:43 Randi Goldberg: An array of things, absolutely. What happens is, I’m a Senior Resource Specialist, which means I am the one who helps our families find what works for them, what suits their needs medically, clinically, socially. It’s been a challenge for us to help our clients, although I’ve been successful in getting all our clients the support that they need. During the pandemic, nursing homes in the state of New Jersey were required to segregate their clients, and so that’s really hard for someone coming out of a hospital and needing to go into a community. So all of the long-term care, so that is, the short-term, which is called sub-acute, and the long-term, which is custodial, they were taking clients who were COVID-positive and bringing them in to a challenged population. That was really difficult because nursing homes in themselves were not prepared. So when we talk about emergency preparedness, that was probably the memo they didn’t get. So we’re working on getting them in there, so clinically they have a good concept. Socially, financially, with the team in Archer Law Office, we all try and move together at the same time. So those are the challenges. Some of that is easing. So depending on exactly where in the state of New Jersey, some of the restrictions are being… Not eliminated, but reduced.
04:24 Kurt Baker: Yeah, I can see this as being quite a challenge initially, and I don’t know if you have, through your clients, any experience with this. But I know… I’m thinking just about how, when these things started to happen very quickly, I’m trying to think back three months ago when all this started up, really none of us really knew what to expect or how to really work with this. We really had no idea what this was or how to manage it, and of course you’re dealing with people who are already older, who already have other, possibly, conditions. And of course just being older in itself is something that you’re a little less resistant to anything, whether it’s the flu or this brand-new virus that we had out there, we really didn’t understand what it was at all to any real extent, other than that it was very contagious and it’s dangerous to certain people that get it.
05:03 Kurt Baker: Were there some things that you saw people say, “Hey, we have to do things, let’s try these different things?” Were there things they started to try to do initially to obviously take care of their residents, because you’re in these facilities, it’s not like those of us at home. Like, “Stop going to work.” So you go home and you stay with your family and there’s maybe a couple of people in the household and that’s it. There you’re dealing with a much bigger organization where you’ve got several… You’ve got just the employees, you’ve got the residents, there’s a lot of dynamics that is happening, and they need the care. So that had to be very stressful, and so what kind of process did they go through and what types of things did they try when this first started to happen, do you recall?
05:40 Randi Goldberg: So there’s a lot of legs to that, and it also depends on the organization who is more prepared, and shall we say more influential, to get everything done. So following CDC guidelines, because all of these communities do report to the state, because they all get surveyed by the state and by Medicare. So in a quick instant, they need to follow the guidelines, and of course, there was confusion there what the guidelines were and when they were implemented. But it is… All these people who are devoted to the seniors that they’re serving. Because if you work for somebody for years and years, they’re now family. You know everything about them. So how do you protect your family? And a lot of the caregivers had, previously to COVID, multiple jobs. So a lot of the organizations had to say, “You now need to commit to us because this way we can guarantee that there will be no additional risk of contracting any disease outside our building.”
06:48 Randi Goldberg: So that eliminated quite a few of the aides who did have multiple jobs, so there may have been some staffing changes. Every personnel from the administrator down to housekeeping had multiple jobs, there was no, “It’s not my job anymore.” Everybody had multiple jobs. So this kind of brought the entire facility base into kind of a cocoon and couldn’t get out because there was no outside services. If hospice was allowed in the building during the heat of the pandemic, only virtual services could be performed. So virtual evaluations, doctors were not going in, no support services from hospice. So they had to manage, and it was… You had to learn on your feet.
07:38 Randi Goldberg: So administrators… I was helping a family, and this administrator had just taken over during the pandemic. As a new administrator. That was a huge challenge because if you have years of experience, like any job, you know your team, you know what they’re capable of, and you think on your feet. There was a lot of thinking, a lot of changes. You know, the facility itself, just based on the structure, when nursing homes were built years ago, it had nothing to do with any pandemic of any type. Communities were housing more and more and more people, now they realize that maybe there’s some things that need to change, so they were devoted to isolation. So companies are… They’re losing business as well, because they have to isolate people for 14 days.
08:37 Kurt Baker: That must have been difficult, ’cause I know as we go to these more modern facilities, they really actually encourage residents to get out, to socialize. ‘Cause that was one of the issues I remember reading… You know, hearing about decades ago, where one of the problems when you get older is people tend to get isolated, they tend to lose social connections, they tend not to be active, and that, of course… You know, you start to decline when you stop being active as a human being and as a social being. And so really they’re trying to get people together. Now you’ve got… You have to try to keep them socially engaged somehow, but now you’ve got the realization that you have this… The pandemic where you can’t do that quite the way you did before. And it’s interesting, I didn’t realize that they were reducing… Really kind of reducing the staff and giving them multiple levels of jobs, so you had less…
09:24 Randi Goldberg: Absolutely.
09:24 Kurt Baker: Possibility of spreading the virus coming in and out, which was… Yeah, that’s really great. I never heard of that. That’s fantastic. So they were thinking about that. One thing I remember just from… I lost my aunt during this whole process, and when she was getting to the phase of hospice, they were doing more on the phone. Like the nurse, she goes, “I would normally have…
09:43 Randi Goldberg: Virtual.
09:43 Kurt Baker: Been coming every day.” But now she came like once a week. The doctor was more on the phone, like the nurse would relay information, and so would my… You know, my cousin, she would talk to the nurse. So there was a lot more family involvement in this particular case, ’cause she was still at home, she was not in a facility. But it seems to be there’s a lot more, I guess we’d call it telemedicine, right? There’s a lot more over the phone type of stuff happening, is that kind of what was happening in the facilities as well, it sounds like?
10:11 Randi Goldberg: Absolutely. I wanna go back a little bit to the reasons that assisted living really came to be was because someone was at home and not being social. Or they couldn’t manage their bills, or their medication was improperly managed. That was the basis of assisted living, that people who were young yet old enough to qualify, that dynamic itself has completely changed. Right now, many of the assisted livings have memory care. So in memory care we’re trying to isolate people and do room checks. It’s very difficult to isolate someone who may have cognitive impairment and don’t understand what’s social distancing. I call it physical distancing. So that’s more, so you need staff to accommodate that. I know quite a few buildings, and all the residents who understood it all stayed in their apartment, staff would go in one to one, gowned up, masked up with devices, whether it be their personal device or not, to do FaceTime. There’s a lot of things, very creative. They’ve done window visits. So on a good day, you could go and knock on your mother’s window, draw on the window. There were plenty of facilities who had all the activities that they would normally do out on the front, and people would mask up and go out when appropriate. The doors are still closed to any visitors, some of them are really allowing you in the lobby and nothing else.
11:52 Randi Goldberg: So if you need care right now, it is challenging. There are ways… So I’ve seen on the media just so many people who were not able to connect, but there are ways to connect. There are FaceTime, any of those social media platforms, it’s… You mentioned on hospice, hospice is a very emotional situation to start with, and then sprinkle all the other things, that you can’t physically hold their hands. It’s a very trying time. I had a friend who her father passed away, unrelated to the pandemic, and rituals indicated that they needed nine and 10 people. They couldn’t do that. Or all the shovels, they had to go out and buy it, because the funeral home would not supply any of them because you can’t cross-contaminate. There is so many things that happened, but as the pandemic progressed, they learned more.
12:50 Kurt Baker: Wow, that’s incredible. I know there’s a lot to talk about. We’re coming up on a quick break here, you’re listening to Master Your Finances. We will be right back. To Master Your Finances, I’m Kurt Baker here with Randi Goldberg of Archer law. And we’ve been talking about the… How the long-term care, elder care situation really is… It was reacted or responded, I guess, to this new challenge we’ve had, which is the pandemic, which I don’t recall anything like this ever quite to this degree, and literally you’re learning how to do things and solve issues as you go. Because a lot of this, we really didn’t know anything. We were just all very nervous about this, and when you multiply that by things like…
13:34 Kurt Baker: As you mentioned before the break, Randi, the first one that comes to my mind is the people that are in memory care that have dementia, Alzheimer’s, the cognitive declines, where part of that care is really trying to help them to integrate and manage in a proper way, ’cause you really have to approach these people very carefully, because sometimes you can traumatize them even when everything’s perfect. And when you roll in this whole other thing where, “Hey, no, you can’t go over and visit your friend or you can’t walk around the building. These things, we really can’t allow you do that from a physical perspective,” when they may not really understand what all this is. Right? So do you have any thoughts about that? I know that had to have been a big challenge. I could just imagine that must have been difficult for some people.
14:20 Randi Goldberg: Absolutely. Absolutely. Huge challenge. So I’m a certified dementia practitioner, which means that I’ve been educating to courses, ’cause when you approach someone who has cognitive impairment, depending on what it is, dementia, and there are various different forms of dementia, you have to approach them in a different way, in a good scenario. Sometimes they can be physically aggressive, confused, agitated, and even on a good day may have struggles. So compound that with trying to redirect someone for something they don’t understand, they don’t know why, so explaining it to them differently. So I actually have a client that we talk to and had to just say to Mom, “You know what, Mom? I’m not feeling well today. I can’t come see you.” Which is not alerting them, alarming them, to anything else. Usually, most of the memory care communities are within an assisted living, and it’s a secure unit, so having them wander around with confusion, with no contact, it’s very difficult. So learning to address those people differently, there are certain communities that are devoted specifically to memory care in our area, and they have to hire people and completely educate them, take certified courses to address people with dementia.
16:01 Randi Goldberg: The only thing that I can say is, someone with dementia doesn’t understand it, and I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. But moving forward, it’s keeping them safe. Doing the best you can with the circumstances you have. You are not allowed to restrain someone, that is against the law. So whether it be a medical restraint, a physical restraint, so how do you help someone? That is through learning on your feet. In this scenario, it may not be too much different, but it’s the best they can do.
16:39 Kurt Baker: Yeah, I think it’s important. I think you pointed out an example. Because you don’t wanna escalate the situation, if they’re getting concerned and upset… And you gave an explanation that they could understand, right? Because you really have to talk on the level that they’re gonna be able to respond to. And it’s not necessarily, exactly correct, but it’s something they’re gonna understand. ‘Cause you don’t wanna… You don’t wanna raise their anxiety level or their stress level because they may have a limited bandwidth in which they’re understanding things. So you gotta have to kinda talk them down a little bit and kind of reach them on their own language. Are there some tips you wanna maybe share that… How you talk to somebody that has maybe a cognitive impairment of some kind. ‘Cause I think that’s kind of important to the story, ’cause we have all these extra stressors and maybe how we approach them and help them to kinda manage without making it worse, I guess. Right?
17:33 Randi Goldberg: So if you think about it, communication as a topic in itself. So I share this program with a lot of people. Communication in itself has core principles. So when you are trained in dementia, keeping in mind that is your cognitive abilities, there may be physical abilities or disabilities as well. Never be controversial with someone who has dementia, you will never, so to speak, win the game. Don’t contradict them, just remind them. Always reach a senior at their level, physically, whatever their level is. If they’re in a wheelchair, eye to eye contact. Great focus. Using words. So people with dementia are not stupid.
18:31 Randi Goldberg: I remember talking to a young woman using different words, and she goes, “Look, honey, I’m not stupid.” Right. So we forget. So it’s like yelling at someone who’s deaf, they’re never gonna hear you. Talking Spanish to someone who doesn’t speak Spanish. So how do you communicate? Slowly, visually looking them eye to eye, make sure that you’re not talking so rapidly. Jargon. Don’t use jargon, in any form of communication. And make sure that it’s simple and basic. If mom or dad is gonna relate back and say, “You know what? I’m seeing grandma. She came to my room last night.” “Oh really? How was she?” Not, “Oh, no you didn’t.” Because this is the world that they’re in, so we need to be in their world. Of course, if there’s any kind of safety concerns, we need to, of course, address that. Anything in wandering you wanna redirect, never be physically aggressive, always with care, support and understanding.
19:44 Randi Goldberg: Those are just some of the core principles that you wanna look at when you’re dealing with someone with dementia. And again dementia has its different phases. So cognitively they could decline but physically be out and about and that’s a lot of times why there are secured areas because their body and their mind are not connecting so they’re walking out the door not understanding that there is physical harm that could come to them. So we wanna make sure that it’s always a way they understand and again, that could change day-to-day.
20:21 Kurt Baker: Yeah, I think those were all really great tips, things like slowing things down. Because they’re still processing the information they just may not be processing it as quickly so you have to allow them time to process and respond. And I like the fact that you bring up that they still are highly intelligent and they still understand and they know things and it’s just this processing capability and helping them to direct and helping them with the way their brain is working and not fighting it but flowing with it and just going slow and guiding them along the way, as opposed to trying to abruptly change their direction it’s much more productive to work with them and guide them around and move them around easily and that way you don’t escalate the situation. So when you add another layer like this where it’s a whole different situation if you do it in an easy supportive way you’re much more likely to have some success than saying, “Oh no, this is the way we have to do it now.” They’re not gonna respond well.
21:22 Randi Goldberg: Patience, patience, patience. You need to have patience. They say patience is a virtue, you need to have patience. It takes time. Rome wasn’t built in a day.
21:34 Kurt Baker: That is true. So now that we have these methods to work with them and I know you mentioned some of those in the last segment, is ways that the family can still stay connected. I know in this period that we’ve had I know a lot of us in business and no matter who we are we’ve been kind of almost forced into learning new methods and new things that we didn’t necessarily… It was one of those things, “Oh yeah, it’s great, video conference is fine but I don’t really need it ’cause I hardly ever use it so why bother?” Well, nowadays everybody is… I think everybody I know has done some video conferencing in the last three months as a business, because you’ve been kind of forced into it and now I think at this point most people are pretty comfortable with it. Like, “Yeah, I can do that.”
22:13 Kurt Baker: Have you seen anything change as far as how families interact and how the business may be is being run where people are now maybe a little more comfortable with something they hadn’t done in the past and how maybe that’s altered the way they might think about it going forward? I know in our case it was like, I know many business owners that say, “Well, I may not do every… I’ve found some things actually work better virtually and then other things are better in person and some of those things I may keep. It’s better for me, it’s better for the client. We can do things quicker, faster, certain aspects of the business and other aspects, no, those are definitely better in person.” Have we learned anything as far as that goes in this area?
22:49 Randi Goldberg: I surely hope so, I surely hope so. I’ve been on more Zoom calls and I have Zoom downloaded on my computer and I didn’t before. So that in itself, Zoom is usually good for the professionals to use, to keep connected. In the communities… So what I didn’t put in my bio previously is I had worked for a small business who created a device that helps communication for the seniors. So all before this pandemic. Now there are various different products out there and what happens is it is all internet-based and it allows the family to virtually connect. A lot of times in assisted living there are various different family members throughout the States, how do they connect sometimes in this particular case where they don’t have any visitors? Some seniors will be a little bit confused seeing a face on a device, but otherwise it’s great to hear them and see them. A lot of people are going in gowned up and doing FaceTime. I know that’s a brand product but they’re using virtual connections.
24:05 Randi Goldberg: There’s also, I’ve been involved in quite a few, the nursing homes primarily are doing window visits. So as long as this is not a two and a three-storey building the family can go and have a birthday party and anniversary, a connection, all on the lawns as long as everybody remains cognizant of the fact that there still is a pandemic and you can’t touch the same things which there’s staff who usually does. They’re trying to keep their spirits up as well. I actually do a presentation on senior isolation so there are so many declines that happen before people even think of getting into assisted living. So social interaction is one of them so that’s why they go to these communities. So keeping them all socially interactive. The activity staff, the aides in these buildings have risen to the occasion, created new ways to go door-to-door or created new ways to bring topics. So for example, I’ve done a virtual program in a building that, you’re learning… These are all tools that can be used. So these little devices that were developed are really now taking off. So that’s a great way for communication, I think it’s a great way going forward, that’s a learned task.
25:38 Kurt Baker: I think that’s amazing. Absolutely, I think that’s amazing. You’ve been listening to Master Your Finances, we’re gonna be right back. You’re listening to Master Your Finances, I’m Kurt Baker, here with Randi Goldberg of Archer Law Office and we’ve been talking about how the long-term care facilities, assisted living and things like that have been really adjusting to what the rest of us have seen as kind of a slow down or shut down, whatever you wanna call it, where we’ve had to stay at home much more and many of us are staying distance for safety reasons, health reasons, things like that, but as we talked about, certain groups of people may not necessarily understand this and it may be more difficult. If somebody has dementia, it’s gonna be a little bit more difficult. You wanna encourage people that are older to stay socially connected. But they’re also in a higher risk group because of their age and they have other conditions that they’re dealing with. So, from a safety perspective, from a physical side, some of these things are a little more dangerous with the pandemic, but you still need to do the social part.
26:44 Kurt Baker: And you were describing a lot of great ideas as far as how seniors can stay connected, as far as using these video conferencing tools, using like the window visits and things like that, where you can do that. I’m just kind of curious, I think one of the excuses we hear a lot is that… I have a family member that lives in New Jersey, they’re in a facility, but then their children are all over the country, maybe Michigan, California and Florida, Tennessee, wherever the case may be. And then you have the one person who’s usually nearby. That’s usually what I see. You have one child nearby, the rest of them are all over the country, if not all of the world. Have you seen any positive things as far as other family members now saying, “Hey, I guess I can join that Zoom call and maybe we’re all gonna talk to mom or dad.”? Have you seen anything like that going on?
27:30 Randi Goldberg: Oh, absolutely. These devices, that are independent devices, have all of a sudden opened up a world of communication instead of if they had a concern they would call the building. So, during this pandemic, every person was involved with patients. So the phones, there were a lot of voicemails left, and it’s really hard to do it all and you’re there truly to serve the residents. So, getting back to people must have been extremely frustrating. So, what this does is opens the door to eliminate some of those calls and really get eyes on. Eyes on mom or dad, and really find out how they’re doing. Some people can have this device and some seniors can manage it on their own, otherwise, some staff members would add a little assistance. I wanted to actually add in a little bit. So, we’re talking about long-term care and we’re talking about nursing homes, assisted living, excuse me. We’re not talking about home care.
28:36 Kurt Baker: Right.
28:36 Randi Goldberg: So, there are home care agencies, ’cause a lot of the seniors are very concerned about going into a community, and during the height of the pandemic, there were no communities who were open to outside admissions at all. Well, what do you do with the family member now? So, home care agencies had a little bit of a struggle as well. So, there are what we call skilled needs, which requires the attention of an RN or LPN, and then there are non-skilled, which is just your ADLs or activity of daily living, showering, dressing, meal preparation, washing machines, things like that. So, a lot of agencies had aides who were not willing to go in for hourly care because then they would come and go and come and go. The live-in aides remained in the home of the family, which helped secure everybody and keep them protected. So, you have to challenge yourself. And that’s kind of what I do is, what is the best scenario? And I know home care. I’ve done it for two and a half years. Is that the best? I know the inside, the business end, I know the scheduling end. So, is that really a good fit or not?
29:57 Randi Goldberg: So, I’ll give you an example. I had a client, and dad was combative. He had Lewy body, which is a physical and extremely progressive disease, and the hospital wanted to send him home. He had lived by himself and they suggested home care. My review is, I know if he said yes today, he would reject the home care aide once he got home. He would say yes to get home. So, we helped get that gentleman into an assisted living in a memory care neighborhood, which was the safest best choice. Again, that’s what we do, find out what is the safest best choice and having communication, whether it be by device, by phone, by email, however they can resource the communication is kind of how we have to work with it. You have to work with the tools you have.
30:57 Kurt Baker: Yeah, that’s interesting. You actually bring up a very important point, which I know even my father down in Florida, they had somebody coming just to clean the house occasionally, and they were very concerned for their safety ’cause the person was older. Of course, my father’s older too, so you have to be safe and so literally they would leave the building for several hours while they cleaned and then they would come back. In this case, they could. So, I can understand that. So, if you have a home care person going from different homes, they must be… You have to be very, very cautious. ‘Cause, of course, you could literally spread this around to multiple people if you’re not careful. And yourself, right? ‘Cause some of these people might be a little bit older, in some cases. They might be a little bit of a risk group themselves, depending on their age and their current situation.
31:44 Kurt Baker: So, I can understand that that had to create a lot of strenuous issues when it first happened. Has any of this improved now that we’re kind of getting a better feel for the techniques we use, just things like social distancing, wearing a mask? Just some of the things that I think we’re kind of taking for granted now that we know ’cause when we first started out, we had no idea what to do, right? Social distancing didn’t come out for a little while. We were like, “Oh. Oh, we should be standing apart.” That’s a whole new term that I never knew before this. As far as I know, it didn’t exist, at least in my vocabulary, and now everybody knows it. We all know what that means.
32:22 Randi Goldberg: You know what, the world has changed and yes, we are all learning as we go. So the fact that the aides who would go into the homes don’t forget the CDC has said that you could be asymptomatic and be a carrier. So in the facilities, in the long-term care and assisted living there were aides who would come and go previously. So what I think we’ve learned from that is no matter what condition these people can come and go. So most of the facilities said to the aides you need to choose one facility, this way we can definitely decrease the chances. So same thing in home care they need to choose one. I think learning what some of the safe protocols are moving forward, moving forward things… This entire pandemic has changed so many things, I think it actually gave us all a chance to sit back a minute, take a look, re-evaluate how we do things and how we can be effective. I think with social distancing, I call it physical distancing ’cause we are social people.
33:39 Kurt Baker: I like that. [chuckle]
33:40 Randi Goldberg: So I think it’s physical distancing, just keeping apart. If you’ve seen any of the videos every bodily fluid that comes out of us can have an effect. So social distancing is a little odd.
33:54 Kurt Baker: Well, this is an interesting point ’cause you say we’re learning things and I remember hearing people talk about, hey, all these great things that we’re doing this also works for the flu and the flu actually a lot of our seniors actually die from the flu, it’s tens of thousands a year which barely people even have a conversation about in a normal year but it’s actually a lot of people that we lose just to seasonal flu and a lot of the things that we’re learning now with the pandemic issue really applies without it, it applies to people who might be at risk of getting the flu, correct, and some of these other things?
34:31 Randi Goldberg: Or any other condition.
34:32 Kurt Baker: Right, and any of these other things that might be contagious.
34:34 Randi Goldberg: Right, right, I think it has taught us again how to step back, evaluate and look again. Absolutely. Seniors usually have comorbidities, hypertension, various different conditions which kind of reduces their resistance. So you’re right the flu, a common cold anything that can be transmitted this is the great learning tool for us all to take a step back, re-evaluate how we interact. A lot of people when you talk to a senior you’re very close. You also have to remember in these communities when you are very close, as I mentioned you have to talk eye to eye, now you have to wear a mask so that is confusing a senior who’s already challenged. So working together, this is a new learning tool, I truly believe this is a learning tool and taking this and going forward is essential to everyone in the healthcare world and outside because physical distancing just helps things move along.
35:47 Kurt Baker: You actually bring up an interesting point I hadn’t thought about until you just said it, is that when we’re going to a facility, especially if you’re dealing with memory care and things like that, has the mask been an issue in any way because that’s a lot of your communication is non-verbal and if you have somebody who is maybe having trouble understanding you regardless adding the fact that you are literally not seeing their facial expressions and their speaking, I can imagine that being a little bit of a challenge for some people, right?
36:13 Randi Goldberg: Yes, but for example, I have a friend who has a hearing impaired child and so right in the middle of the mask she put plastic I don’t know what the product is, plastic so they could see your mouth. So as I mentioned with the communication to a senior is eye-to-eye, direct to them, let them see your mouth. So that alleviated some of the concerns, it was wonderful to have that and I’m sure as we go forward again, we’re all learning how to make this happen is creating different face masks that allow them to see the person.
36:58 Kurt Baker: Well, I think that’s fantastic. I think it’s a great new product that should be out there is having these mask and actually being able to see people speak, especially if you’re going into a facility where that would be an advantage or somebody that’s hearing impaired, I think it’s fantastic. You’re listening to Master Your Finances we’re going to be right back.
37:13 Kurt Baker: You’re listening to Master Your Finances I am Kurt Baker, here with Randi Goldberg of Archer Law Office and we’ve been talking about how the elder care facilities have really been adjusting to the pandemic, so to speak. And what we’re learning just from a health perspective in general, a lot of these things that we’re learning actually really apply to this at risk group from a physical perspective and that it applies to the flu as well as other things and I think you’ve been seeing some adjustments they make. And I think that great… The one you mentioned right before the break was how the person who had a hearing impaired child put the little window in there so you could see… Read the lips, and I think that might help if you’re dealing with somebody who is older because that non-verbal aspect you’re gonna lose that if your entire face is covered. So who knows, we may see a product like that, if it doesn’t exist already I think it would be a great idea to have that out there for people in that situation.
38:09 Kurt Baker: So going forward, how do you see things changing kinda on the, quote, this term the new normal where we’re gonna make some adjustments as a society, recognizing what we’ve all been through and we wanna do our best to minimize the effect if something like this comes along, which of course statistically at some point it will come along maybe 100 years from now or maybe next year we don’t know yet, or it could be the fall, but whenever it is we wanna be better situated so that we can kind of address these issues a little more proactively. We wanna be proactive about this. As opposed to this time we knew nothing, we were literally reacting every time new information was coming out, right?
38:45 Randi Goldberg: Yeah, proactive versus reactive, absolutely.
38:48 Kurt Baker: Right.
38:48 Randi Goldberg: So what I found is there are already changes happening. So during the heat of the pandemic, no community was accepting any admissions into their building. They already had enough challenges. So home care was challenged trying to place aides in the home, so there were a lot of people who were without care, or they were with improper care. Moving forward, I think we’ve all learned there’s a new way to address concerns. So I’m sure that in the nursing homes and the assisted livings, which house quite a number of people, depending on the size of community, they’ve learned there are certain protocols that need to be in place. Old school and old methods need to be revamped, we’ve learned that going forward. The distancing, not packing people into a venue, just making sure that… You know, temperature taking there’s nothing wrong with that, monitoring people more closely, making sure that the at-risk population can be segregated when that needs to be. The state did require that anyone going into a facility needed to be isolated for 14 days.
40:11 Randi Goldberg: I just placed a resident who had come from another rehab center, had to test twice for negative COVID and she just moved into a new community, had to be 14 days isolated. Those are great new rules. It may be inconvenient for the facility, but it makes us rethink what we can do to keep everybody safe. I think wearing masks more often, not taking liberties with… You know, people who have a bad cold would go to work, and you can’t do that when you’re caring for an at-risk population. So making sure that we have all those protocols in place and staffing based on what they can do. There are state regulations, that is a requirement for each of these buildings. But having that clue, having that foresight, this gives them the history to develop foresight.
41:13 Kurt Baker: Yeah, that’s amazing. Yeah, so things have changed a little bit, so I think it’s a great idea. So now they’ve kind of figured out ways to better isolate, ’cause I know the facilities I’ve visited they really weren’t set up to isolate people. So I guess they’ve made some adjustments so they can isolate people for a period of time. Have you seen any changes maybe with I mean the visitors, right? If I wanna go visit my loved one, have they made any changes as far as that goes…
41:39 Randi Goldberg: Oh, absolutely.
41:40 Kurt Baker: As far as entering the building and coming back out again?
41:43 Randi Goldberg: Oh, the strict restrictions during the height of the pandemic were the front doors were literally locked. No family member was allowed in, no non-essential care workers were allowed in. They’ve eased some of it where you were allowed to be on the front porch, you can go to the window, things like that. I think that a lot of us felt that walking into a community if you have a cold or if you don’t know, and you have strep throat or… People were coming in and out and in and out all day long. And I do mean all day long because there are three different shifts. So I think temperature taking, just filling out a questionnaire, questioning people from the beginning, the front door, onward. Most places are not allowing family to go into the building to visit their family member yet. We’re still recovering. That most of the communities have unfortunately lost a lot of family members, so now they’re starting to recover, but you don’t wanna recreate your bad habits.
42:57 Kurt Baker: No, I understand that, and I’m just… I’m thinking back, I think… I don’t know where I heard that, I think it was the casinos, right? Where… And I don’t, you know, obviously we are not in a casino, but they were having things like, as you come in, they’re taking your temperature. They’re asking you questions. They’re really not letting you in without essentially meeting some minimum requirements, is that… That’s kind of what I’m foreseeing here. So if I come to… If I wanna go…
43:18 Randi Goldberg: Oh, yeah.
43:18 Kurt Baker: Visit a loved one, I’m gonna come in… I’m envisioning, they’re probably gonna take my temperature. They’re probably gonna ask me if I have any of these conditions that might be dangerous to the facility. So that might be a new process as far as coming into the building. And that’s probably good for everybody.
43:34 Randi Goldberg: Agreed.
43:34 Kurt Baker: Even if I just had the flu or something, others… Or a cold, right?
43:38 Randi Goldberg: Absolutely.
43:38 Kurt Baker: That’s still not good to spread.
43:39 Randi Goldberg: Absolutely, I think it… Using your term, the new norm, I think it’s a great way to make sure that the at-risk population, which we are now finding more than ever, is at risk, that we’re protecting them at every level. So having that, we’ve already… All the facilities have already ordered all the equipment, so making sure that they’re well educated. The reasons why we’re doing this. And having families understand that we’re here, that all the communities are there to protect and care for. And although it can be very emotional when you can’t get there. Every one of them always had a sign that says, “If you have cold or flu symptoms don’t come in.” A whole lot of people ignored it. Now they realize the importance of not ignoring any of your conditions because it can be like wildfire.
44:35 Kurt Baker: And I’m assuming that’s also gonna apply to the employees, where they probably are gonna be a little more strict in monitoring. As you pointed out, before I know… And I remember my wife used to get upset about this, like, somebody would come to work… When she was working like, “Why are you coming to work when you literally could hardly sit up at your desk?”
44:51 Randi Goldberg: Yeah.
44:51 Kurt Baker: I mean, they definitely should be home in bed. And like now you’re gonna give it to me, I’m gonna go home and give it to my kids, I mean you’re gonna spread it all through my whole family. And that was when she was younger and healthier, and no big deal. You know, quote-unquote, as big a deal. Well, that’s a… Is a big deal, especially when you’re dealing with a more vulnerable population. We really shouldn’t be kind of pushing through it, because the employer would not be necessarily… And that the other side of it is an employer would not necessarily be empathetic, “Oh, well you’re fine, you should come in anyway. You just have the sniffles, no big deal, come in and get your job done.” So maybe they’ll let them work from home. I’m just trying to envision how… Just I know society is being more lenient about this, which is smarter actually, and I would suspect that the facilities are gonna be more focused on…
45:36 Randi Goldberg: Health.
45:37 Kurt Baker: Employee health, right. As well as how it integrates in with the residents of the facility.
45:43 Randi Goldberg: I used to hear from people, I don’t wanna call out sick, I wanna save that for vacation time.
45:49 Kurt Baker: Right.
45:50 Randi Goldberg: So what I’ve learned is also being out in the community so, of course the population are in facilities, so what about the rest of us who are out in the community? Out going to Home Depot and ShopRite and all these other facilities. I think there’s a lot of confusion on how to protect yourself, whether it be the mask, the gloves, and I think that there needs to be a level of education. Yes, we all get to make those choices, but I think there just needs to be a little consistent education on when to, when not to, why to do this, because the communities… And we’re building new assisted livings that I can count four of them that I know of. So I think they are great ways to protect our seniors. These are educated, trained, experienced staff members who are there to protect these people, as opposed to at home where you just don’t know if you’re doing it right or wrong.
46:55 Kurt Baker: Right, and I think that’s important. I think we’re all gonna learn lessons from this, and I know many people wanna stay home as long as they can, so all of these things we’re learning, as you said, the home health aides, the family members, all these people should really be paying attention to these rules as they come out. It sounds like they’re still kind of developing them on the facility level, but at some point they will start… Once they feel comfortable, I guess they’ll start allowing actual physical visits and things like that, but it’s gonna take some time it sounds like.
47:25 Randi Goldberg: Yeah, it will take some time. I’m in communication with these communities all the time every day, finding out what their struggles are. I run a networking group from Middlesex and Somerset County, so we talk about the struggles that are specific up there, and yes there are a lot of struggles because when you have people caring for people, it is more emotion. So they have family members calling all the time, they have to have a plan. So when the pandemic came, they had to develop a plan ’cause there was nothing in place, so now they’re gonna have a plan. And how can they do that effectively, smart, emotionally with protecting everybody involved.
48:10 Kurt Baker: Yes that’s been incredible. And any last thoughts before we break out of here, because you’ve done a great job kind of walking us through this, I know a lot of positive things are happening throughout this process, even though it’s been very stressful for all of us. I think we’re learning a lot and ultimately I think it’s gonna be a good thing. I hate to say that, but I think we’re gonna learn some things from this, long-term.
48:27 Randi Goldberg: For sure.
48:28 Kurt Baker: I think are gonna benefit us, and I appreciate you coming on. Anything else you wanna say before we go?
48:33 Randi Goldberg: Stay healthy. Stay safe. Be smart.
48:36 Kurt Baker: Oh, thanks again. We appreciate it, Randi. You’ve been listening to Master Your Finances. I can be reached at 609-716-4700, or you can listen to this podcast or any of the podcasts by going to masteryourfinances.us, remember together we can master your finances so you can enjoy financial piece of mind.