Interview with Nolan Clare, Clare Senior Advisors - Boyum Law
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Interview with Nolan Clare, Clare Senior Advisors

In this interview

Nolan Clare of Clare Senior Advisors discusses how he and his company work with seniors and their loved ones to find the best senior living and in-home care options to fit their needs.

To contact Nolan Clare, call 402-889-6406 or click here

To contact Boyum Law Firm, call 402-991-5410 or click here

Interview highlights

 

[0:30] About Clare Senior Advisors

[1:54] Who Clare Senior Advisors works with in the community

[4:00] A recent success story

[5:10] Tricks of the trade

[6:29] When to work with Clare Senior Advisors

[8:17] Benefits of using a professional advocate

[12:30] Clare Senior Advisors provides services for free

 

Questions?

Thank you for listening. We hope you enjoyed this interview. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to us:

To contact Nolan Clare, call 402-889-6406 or click here

To contact Boyum Law Firm, call 402-991-5410 orĀ click here

Interview Key Points

Cassie:

All right. So first, can you just tell me a little bit about Clare Senior Advisors?

 

Nolan:

Sure. Clare Senior Advisors is essentially a senior advocacy organization. We help people navigate the very complex senior health industry, whether they need in-home care or community-based care, in an independent living, assisted living, memory care or even a nursing home environment. So that’s essentially what we do.

 

Cassie:

Okay. And what’s your background in senior care?

 

Nolan:

Good question. So I started my career back in 2006 working in skilled nursing facilities. I eventually became an administrator and have managed a number of assisted living and memory care facilities in Iowa and Nebraska. After basically working in senior living for 11, 12 years, I decided I wanted to use my skills and talents to help people navigate this very complex industry.

 

Cassie:

Got you. So what kind of benefits do people who come to you for help … What can you provide them?

 

Nolan:

So what we do is we give our clients a look behind the curtain. We set aside the sales pitch and we really look at the things that are going to impact customer satisfaction, make sure that whatever community or service, whatever company that they choose, is going to be able to meet their needs while also not blowing their budget. So if somebody has long-term care insurance that might provide certain options. If somebody’s very healthy, maybe a community that has hallways that are really long, maybe that would be appropriate for them. But somebody who may have Parkinson’s or is bound to a wheelchair looking for a more compact environment might be a better fit for them. So we essentially look at every client as an individual and we look at their budget, we look at their health needs, and then we do everything we can to find a community or a company to meet those needs respective of their budget and their care needs.

 

Cassie:

So what kind of relationship do you have with care facilities in the area?

 

Nolan:

Good question. We work with the vast majority of the facilities in Omaha and surrounding communities, so La Vista, Papillion, Bellevue of course, Council Bluffs, Elkhorn, Gretna. The communities actually are the ones, or the companies are the ones that pay for our services. So we have such a diverse group of communities that we partner with that we’re not biased to any one. So we help people find the right community to fit their needs.

 

Cassie:

So can you tell me start to finish what the process is when you work with a client?

 

Nolan:

Yeah. So typically we sit down in their home. We might sometimes meet in a coffee shop, wherever’s most comfortable for them. And we just start with we have an intake form that we created. And essentially we’re going to get to know their medical history, their financial history, their social history and just see where the conversation starts us. We use our background. Everybody that works for my organization has had more than a decade working in senior health. So we use our experience to inform the questions that we would ask to make sure we are truly learning everything that we can about that client so that we can then put a plan together to meet those needs.

 

Cassie:

Okay. So I know sometimes the adult children of elderly people want them to go into a home but the elderly people may not. How do you navigate this family conflict?

 

Nolan:

Yeah. So, yeah, sometimes there are. You have different factions within a family. Somebody, maybe the adult child, sees that something is changing with mom or dad and they would feel better if they were living in a care community. Essentially in that situation, more often than not, I tend to agree with the adult child because there’s something happening. And the parent, they’re struggling with a loss of independence. So we start talking less about the clinical aspects. Those are important. We have to make sure those needs are being met. Then we start talking about what they enjoy doing, what are the things that they have enjoyed throughout their life, what are the things they would love to do again. And then maybe we can match a facility to meet those unique needs, make it more about lifestyle than care. And generally once people give a community an opportunity, if we’ve done our homework and we found the right place for them, they just love their new living arrangement. So once they give it some time.

 

Cassie:

Yeah. Can you tell me about one of your recent success stories?

 

Nolan:

Sure, yeah. Actually every assisted living is very different. So we may get clients occasionally that are in an assisted living facility and it’s just not working out for them. Maybe the facility’s a lower level of care facility and maybe they need a little bit more than one community can offer. And we recently had a referral from a community in which that person needed to leave because they weren’t able to meet that person’s needs. We did our homework, we worked with their nurse from the home health company as well as worked with the facility [inaudible 00:04:26] find what that senior’s needs were. We identified that this person was having a lot of falls and there were some things that could be done from a care plan perspective in the appropriate assisted living facility that we could implement and partnership with them and prevent falls.

So I’m very happy to see a success story like this because we had a woman we were working with who she was falling regularly, at least daily, sometimes multiple times a day. And used my administration background to help the new facility, where she was moving, develop a care plan. And her falls have gone down dramatically. She’s happy. I saw her this week. She’s engaging in activities. And it’s just fun to see when people go from an environment where their needs are not being met physical, emotional, cognitive, to an environment where it’s really working. And they’re both assisted living facilities, just good at different things. And it was, yeah, really neat to see.

 

Cassie:

So Brad was telling me you know some tricks of the trade, like how you can’t put or use white plates because the mashed potatoes and rice and things blend in.

 

Nolan:

Sure. So yeah, so that would be for people suffering from dementia. There are different things that we pull from my background as a memory care administrator to help families understand how to get their loved one to thrive in a community. Os sometimes you will see in memory care facilities, you might see them using more colorful plates. Red is a popular color because it stimulates the appetite as well as provides that person who’s suffering from dementia, because their vision is affected, so a bright red plate will allow them to differentiate between the plate and mashed potatoes or another type of food versus a white or cream colored plate might make that very difficult for that senior. So ultimately we’re very pragmatic in our approach. We want what’s best for that senior. And if we can use our experience to help solve these little problems to improve their quality of life, we certainly will.

 

Cassie:

Great. So how long does the process usually take from start to finish?

 

Nolan:

It’s different for everybody. I would love if people called me a year or two years before they needed to make a move or before they needed in-home care. Peace of mind is a product of good planning. So when we have those opportunities where we’re working with people for months, we have a really good plan. It’s put in place, and then we’re in the driver’s seat. The challenge is when families may wait too long and there’s some sort of crisis and we need to find a place for mom or dad within 24, 48 or 72 hours. We will certainly help them. We will plot all the stops and we will do right by them. But it’s just easier if we, for all parties included, if we can start working with that family early on.

So on average I would say most of our clients are with us for 90 to 120 days throughout the planning process before they move to a facility. For our in-home care clients, we’re going to help them find in-home care and then we will stay with them and we’ll continue to be their advocate however they would need that throughout their journey with in-home care. And then, when it’s time to move to a community, we would certainly be their advocate then as well. So for those clients, boy it could be years or more that we’re working with them and an advocate making sure they’re getting the care they need.

 

Cassie:

Got you. So why do you think it’s important that people utilize services like yours when finding homes for their parents?

 

Nolan:

Sure. Because there’s so many options. As it sits today, there’s approximately 60 assisted living facilities in the Omaha Metro area. That doesn’t include independent living facilities, memory cares, nursing homes, senior apartment complexes. There’s even more in-home care companies. And there are a lot of great facilities. Really there’s no community in town that I would not feel comfortable with a patient being in or with a client being in. We just want to find the right fit. Because every community and every company has strengths in different areas.

So if we have somebody, for example, that they’re an insulin-dependent diabetic and we’re working with them, there are a lot of communities that will allow somebody to live in their community if they suffer from diabetes. However, maybe they’ll only administer regular set dose insulin. They won’t do sliding scale. They’re not able to do blood glucose checks four or five times a day. And so we have all that information. We’ve already done the homework so we make sure when a client moves somewhere they’re clinically appropriate. And that’s where having a professional advocate, somebody who’s been in the industry for more than a decade, that can walk with you in person and interview communities and companies to make sure it’s a good fit, there’s really no good reason to not have an advocate. Our services are free, free to the consumer, and our clients will never pay more than anybody else off the street. So it is truly a free service.

 

Cassie:

What first made you interested in starting your own company?

 

Nolan:

Yeah, great question. I saw, as an administrator, I saw families struggle with the decision to place their loved ones in a care community. Especially when I was working as a memory care administrator, you would see patients that would sometimes live in two, three or even four facilities before they found the right community to meet their needs. And I thought, “Boy, if there’s a way that I can use my knowledge in this industry, use my experience as an administrator to help somebody move once, then I will have done right by that patient.” Because with every transition there’s anxiety, there’s generally health setbacks. We see an increase in falls, we see an increase in hospitalizations within 30 to 60 days after that transition. So if we can use everything that we know to help that person move one time and have it be successful, then we’ve done our job. And that’s really the motivation for starting Clare Senior Advisors.

 

Cassie:

So do you work for clients for years and monitor where they’re at?

 

Nolan:

Yeah. We’re always available. Once you’re a customer of Clare Senior Advisors you are a customer for life. It is not uncommon for families to call us, maybe six months after their loved one has been placed somewhere. Maybe a year, two years down the road, they might give us a phone call. And we want as much contact with them as they want with us. So if they need some help or things are changing with mom and dad and they just want to review the situation, we’re certainly available and we will be their advocate from here to eternity.

 

Cassie:

Got you. So what factors should people consider when looking at homes?

 

Nolan:

There’s just really a lot. Everybody is so unique. You shouldn’t just look at how pretty a building is or how nice the sales person is. We really need to look at the important things that are going to drive their satisfaction on a daily basis. So food quality is of the utmost importance. When I was an administrator I would often tell my team that people move in because of some clinical need, they’re going to move out because they’re not satisfied with the food. So that’s an important factor. Making sure that the community is set up to meet their needs. If they have more complex clinical needs, making sure that the nurse in charge of that community understands that disease process and understands how to advocate and communicate with the physician and make sure they’re healthy.

We also want to look at caregiver to resident ratio. We want to make sure that there’s adequate staff to meet that person’s needs. And every community’s a little bit different. Some are on the higher level of care spectrum, some are on the lower level of care spectrum. So we really break that down for people. There isn’t any one blueprint that says if a family just checks, mark box A, B, C, that then they’re going to be happy. It’s more involved than that.

 

Cassie:

Do you have any stories you’d like to share?

 

Nolan:

Stories? Let’s see. Yes, there’s a woman I helped. I helped her mother find placement. This woman was in the early to moderate stages of dementia. And so as a result, spending time with her family and doing the things that they enjoyed was difficult. And the family didn’t understand necessarily how to communicate and why mom wasn’t enjoying going out to restaurants as much as they used to or why she wasn’t responding to jokes, because she used to kid with them. And I spent just this one weekend, we just sat down at one of the children’s homes and we talked about mom for two, I think two to, probably not three hours, but about two hours. And we dove into the different scenarios.

And I used my background as a memory care administrator working with people suffering from Alzheimer’s and dementia every day. And we started to break down where were the issues that, I guess, where do these issues manifest. Give me the information surrounding them. And at the end of it, long story short, at the end of it, a couple days after that, I got a call from the family, one of the family members, saying that not only did we help them find a great place for mom to live but we also helped them communicate with her again and helped them frame their strategies and help them keep the … If they’re going to do all of the things that they wanted to do like go out to dinner, what are some strategies to make sure that mom feels comfortable and doesn’t have anxiety that’s unnecessary. So it was just really cool to see that, yes, we solved that basic need of them needing to help her find a great care facility. And we did that. But above that, we helped the family communicate with mom again in a meaningful way. And that’s something that was starting to suffer. So that was just a fun story.

 

Cassie:

Yeah, it’s a nice one. Is there anything you’d like to add or think I should know?

 

Nolan:

I think it’s important that whenever you guys are talking to your clients that everybody should get an advocate. Our services are free. They never sign anything with us. So if there’s any senior who needs help or any adult child who needs help finding a place for their loved one, to give us a call. There’s no strings attached to our services. They’re 100% voluntary. They can work with us or not. I just encourage everybody to sit down with an expert, whether it’s with us or another agency, and really understand their options.

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