Senior Care Placement Services in Kansas City
With Senior Care Consulting
Senior Care Consulting
Helping You Find Care In The Kansas City Area
Good morning and welcome to this week’s Zoom call. I’m Ben Souchek with The Sierra Group Pro Home Buyers and Home Downsizing Solutions. We provide multiple home selling solutions to individuals that want to sell their house and downsize. And today I have a special guest, Steve Kuker with Senior Care Consulting in Kansas City, that has been providing his services for years. And thought it would be very beneficial, especially for individuals in the Kansas City Metro area to hear what he does, what services he provides. And certainly if you have a need or have questions for him afterwards, we’ll certainly encourage you to contact him directly. So, Steve, thank you for joining us this morning.
What Is Senior Care Consulting And Its Primary Mission
So Senior Care Consulting is a service that I created in 2002 after helping my own grandparents to transition from their home to an assisted living community. So very simply put we help families and individuals find the right senior care community at all different levels. Whether someone is searching for assisted living or the longterm care level of care, also known as a nursing home, maybe they need memory care as the type of care that they’re looking for. Or it could be all of the above at a continuing care retirement community. If someone is moving from their home to a facility, that is our niche in the market, where we help them through that search and selection process and we help them find the right place and the best fit and we help them get it right the first time.
What Typically Happens For A Client or Family Member to Contact You
For Senior Care Consulting Services
That is an excellent question. It is the most commonly asked question I’ve had since 2002, and is the right time to consider moving from your home to a senior care community. And I cover this a lot in my radio program and in the many presentations that I give throughout the year and in over all of the years.
But the number one thing that should trigger that conversation of considering moving from your home to a senior care community is a safety concern. When it’s no longer safe to live at home. And there are some obvious examples of that. So leaving the stove top burners on, wandering away from your home and not being able to find your way back, those sorts of things.
One lady said, “Mom burned candles at her mealtime. And one of them had burned down and got wobbled and fell over,” and actually caught the tablecloth on fire as her daughter was walking into her house. So very fortunate that way. And frequent falls and those sorts of things. So all of those are pretty obvious.
Some less obvious safety concerns would be not taking your medication on time or not taking it at all or taking a double dose of something. And that could be a real serious situation. So medication is a serious issue and then falling victim to financial fraud or abuse. I mean, that’s in that realm of finances, but it’s also a safety issue.
So number one, when it’s no longer safe to live at home, that should trigger that conversation. Number two, and I would call this a real close two, or maybe a 1A is when the health and wellbeing of the caregiver is in decline, you need to have that conversation. You need to talk about that. You should not let that go on very long because as we’ve all heard and I’ve seen this up close and in person, I have a lot of elderly spouses caring for their elderly spouse. And I’ve had the men and the women and especially the men, we’re supermen. We, “Hey, I’ve got this covered. I can take care of it.” And you love your spouse so much, you put all of your own needs on the back burner, and that is a major problem.
So you stop going to your social events and your coffee groups, and your meetings, and you stop going to your church, and you stop going to see your doctor and your dentist and your ophthalmologist and all of those sorts of things. And all of a sudden, now you have two people in decline and you just can’t have that very long. Unfortunately, I’ve seen many caregivers pass away before the person that they’re caring for, and now you’ve defeated the whole purpose. Now you’re not there to watch over them and make sure they get everything that they need. So when the health and wellbeing of the caregiver begin to decline, that should trigger that conversation. We’re talking about physical health, mental, emotional, and spiritual health.
So number three, it just could be a financially-driven decision. I’m a huge, huge fan of home care services. And you could bring in a home care company and they could bring in caregivers and you could get along, maybe three days a week for four hours at a time. That could really extend your stay at home. But if that need rises to that 24 hour level, 24 hour home care is really, really expensive. It could be 14, 15, $16,000 per month. And if you have the resources to pay for that, that’s great. You can stay at home and get your care. But if that becomes too expensive, and maybe you’re also paying for home modifications, maybe you’re paying for someone to mow your lawn and scoop the snow, and housekeeping, and all those sort of things, it could be a financially-driven decision to consider moving from your home to a senior care community.
And last but not least when you could just no longer keep up with the caregiving demands and you just can’t meet their needs. I always like to ask the question, why not consider moving to a senior care community, find a great place and let them provide the hands-on care?
And so you can then hand that off to them and then transition more towards your role of your loving spouse, the loving son or daughter. In my case, the loving grandchild. And then, you can also then transition to becoming from the caregiver and become the care manager or their advocate and speak for them, make sure they’re getting everything that they need.
And in Senior Care Consulting, we work with a lot of families in that exact situation. We help them find a great place that can provide the care. And then these folks transition to that care management role, advocacy role, or more of their traditional role, where they can just go and visit mom or dad. Or if you’re the spouse, you can go visit your spouse and someone else is providing that care.
How The Senior Care Consulting Placement Program Works
It’s very, very straightforward. And this is exactly what I did for my own grandparents, by the way, a long time ago in 2001. And then of course I started Senior Care Consulting in 2002. But the process is very straightforward.
The first step is we conduct a geriatric care assessment and I develop what I call a care profile along with the families and individuals I’m working with. So it’s a six-page worksheet. It’s a series of questions. We don’t need to meet with physicians and get doctor’s orders and all of those sort of things. It’s just a simple conversation. And we’re determining the level of care, the type of care, the payment method, the location and any personal preferences and needs that may be required, because we want to find places that fit that care profile. So it’s a simple conversation. So that first step is to develop the care profile.
The second step is then, at Senior Care Consulting, we research the marketplace and identify our top three communities that most closely meet our needs, again, driven by that care profile.
And then the next step is we would actually go out and tour the facilities with you and see everything that we need to see. And during that tour, we conduct a 97-point inspection and performance audit. And so what that means is we ask a lot of questions that most people either wouldn’t know to ask. Most people wouldn’t know to ask most of these questions, frankly, or they may feel uncomfortable asking. So it’s a lot of questions. It’s a lot of information. I don’t think it’s too much. Some of the questions are pointed, but I think they’re fair. And it is just gathering information that we can get to our clients to help them make an informed decision.
And so when we’re finished with the tours, then we prepare what I call a summary report. And it includes every question asked, every piece of information discovered, we calculate exact staffing ratios because frankly, most places do not know what their ratios are.
And we report what the state found in its most recent surprise health inspection.
So there is a wealth of information about the top three facilities that most closely meet your needs driven by that care profile. And the culmination of all that work is the delivery of that summary report so that families have that information to help them choose the best place that they feel is the best fit for their loved one.
A Wealth of Information To Help You Find The Right Senior Community
Yes. And it’s a lot. Some people get scared off because they’re like, “Well, we need to move pretty quickly.” Well, we tailor our timeline to their situation. So sometimes we’ll get a call, “Hair’s on fire, crisis. We need to move yesterday.” Okay. So we do back flips for our clients and we get the job done. We move as fast as we can, and we can move this along very quickly.
I’ve been crying from the rooftops and preaching from the mountains, be proactive, get out ahead of this, if you can. Now, sometimes things happen and they’re unexpected and you have a crisis and you have to deal with that. But if you can see this coming and you see the need coming, be proactive, do yourself a huge favor and get out ahead of this thing. And there are many reasons why you would want to do that, but get out ahead of it.
And we’re working with more and more families who are being proactive. They have more options available to them. They can wait out a waiting list if there is a waiting list at a particular place, that’s a great place. And they have some input on where they’re going to choose. Versus if it’s a crisis, you may have to choose a place that may not be the best fit, but they have a bed available. And so you want to be driving that process and be proactive if at all possible.
How Is Senior Care Consulting Different From Other Similar Services?
Yes. Thanks for that question. I always love this. Our business model, again, very transparent, very straightforward. It’s a very reasonable flat fee for service. So our clients retain us just like you would retain an attorney or a tax accountant or any other professional service provider that would help you through a process. This is the process that we help our clients through. And again, it’s a reasonable flat fee for service, and we have different levels of engagement, engaged to completely over the top and somewhere in the middle of that. So we even have some selection there.
And I’m putting air quotes here, “competition,” it’s interesting. There are a lot of these free, and I’m going to air quote “free” referral services popping up all over the place, and on the surface it looks similar. Well, we’ll help you find a place for your mother, your father, your loved one, and we’re free. Okay, well, guess what, free is a very powerful word, but as all of our parents taught us, well, there’s nothing that’s really free. I mean, someone is getting paid for their work somewhere along the line. So you have to understand that these free referral services, while they may appear to work for you, actually, they do not work for you at all because you don’t pay them anything. That’s the free part.
What they do is they go out and they go to any and every facility in the market and they try to cut a contract with them saying, “We’ll bring you leads. We’ll develop leads, and we’ll send them to you. And if that lead chooses your place, you owe us 50% of the first month’s cost.” “100% of the first month’s cost.” Maybe up to 150% of the first month’s costs. So if the place costs $7,000 a month, they’re going to get a giant check in the form of a kickback of $3,500 upwards of over $10,000 to convince you, to choose the place on their list. And guess what, they don’t represent the entire market. They will only tell you about a very short list of facilities that contract with them. So it’s not objective at all in any way.
So the bottom line is they get paid by the places they recommend and they don’t tell you exactly how all of that works. They appear to be working for you. So in my opinion, that’s unethical. And also in my opinion, that is at a minimum, a tremendous conflict of interest. I won’t have anything to do with that.
And the other question that I always have is what if the best place for your mom is not on their list? Are you going to hear about them? And the answer is no, you’re not going to hear about them because they don’t get paid by places that don’t contract with them. And then they’ll tell you about the amenities.
It’s similar to what you’d hear about in a hotel when you’re planning your next vacation. It’s really ridiculous, frankly. So it cannot be more… It’s not an apple and an orange, it’s an apple and a Volkswagen. I mean, they’re literally not even the same thing. They’re not even remotely close, but on the surface, if you don’t go a little bit deeper than that, they do look similar. And so I love that question and I love explaining that. And thanks for asking.
The Senior Care Live Radio Show
Sure. You bet. I started Senior Care Live in, oh gosh, it’s been seven years ago. So July of 2013, and I have entrepreneurial blood coursing through my veins constantly. And I’m always just looking at things and just thinking outside of the box a little bit and looking at, “Oh, I wonder if there’s an opportunity there or what about this, or how about that?” And so I’m always thinking that way. And I looked around and I didn’t see any radio program focused on the huge subject of senior care. I didn’t see anything and I thought that would be a great opportunity to start a radio program that is trusted, that is just solid information and a reliable place of information where you could come and listen and learn.
And so I started that at 710AM. It was a Cumulus station here in Kansas City. And I actually spoke with the CEO of Cumulus Broadcasting. And I asked him, I said, “Hey, are you aware of any other radio programs dedicated to senior care?” And he stopped and he thought about it. He kind of looked up and he says, “No, I’m not. Actually, of all the shows that we have, I am not aware.” He said, “I think you’re probably the first show maybe in the entire country.” And so I thought that was kind of cool.
And then two years after that, so five years ago, then I moved the program to Talk 980 KMBZ, and it’s been a great partnership, a great relationship there. And it’s one of the Entercom Broadcasting radio stations here in Kansas City. And there are a number of radio stations within Entercom Broadcasting, Kansas City, and KMBZ is one of those focusing on Talk Radio. And then I’m on the AM site, Talk 980AM.
A Mission To Provide Information, Education, And Resources For Seniors
And the mission of that program is to provide information, education, and resources for seniors and their caregivers. So there are many core categories that we talk about, how to remain independent in your home, how to find the right senior care community, how to pay for the high cost to see your care. We discuss legal issues involving elder law and estate planning, senior-related health issues and how to care for the caregiver.
So within all of those core categories, you have many sub categories and there will never run out of things to talk about. I’ll say that. And thousands of people listen to the program. I’m so excited and many people describe that as appointment radio and they don’t miss it. If you do miss it, you could go to www.seniorcarelive.com and go to the podcast section and catch the podcast after the fact. And a lot of people listen to the podcast, thousands of people listen to that as well. And it’s just been a really good experience.
And right now, I am in the process of exploring opportunities to syndicate the program into a regional and a national level, expand that footprint and reach a lot more listeners. So we’re in the process of that. I think it’s going to take a minute to get that going, but I’m really excited to see where this program will lead.
Learn More About Senior Care Consulting
For Senior Care Consulting, the website is very straightforward. It’s spelled exactly how it sounds. www.seniorcareconsulting, with an I-N-G, seniorcareconsulting.com. The phone number is (913) 945-2800. And then the radio program, Senior Care Live, L-I-V-E, seniorcarelive.com. And you could go to that website and again, learn great information, listen to previous podcasts. You can also stream the program online at seniorcarelive.com, click on the microphone or the listen live button, give it a few seconds to connect and it’ll stream to your electronic device. You could also download the app radio.com and like Talk 980AM, and then stream it through the app.
And one thing that’s kind of neat about the radio.com app is that it’s kind of like a DVR. You can pause it, rewind it, fast forward. And say, you pause it and you have to go answer the doorbell to pick up your FedEx delivery or whatever, and come back and not miss a minute of it. So, that’s pretty cool. But that’s how we can be contacted if we could be of service.
Steve, thank you for joining me this morning. I greatly appreciate you doing that. And I think you’ve given a lot of great information for people that could utilize your services. So thank you very much.
Thank you for the opportunity. I really appreciate it. Thank you so much.
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