Senior Living Operator of 28 Years With a Heart to Serve The Elderly With Nestor Eligio

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Hanh Brown: Today my guest is Nestor Eligio, a senior living operator for 28 years. A successful Executive Director for various Senior Living communities including Sunrise Senior living, MBK Senior living, Silverado, brook dale, and he was senior commissioner of Pasadena Summerville Senior living.Nestor has devoted his life in the senior living industry working in partnership with health care, Sales, Physician Relations, Business Management, Financial management, and Healthcare Management. We are blessed to have Nestor in thus industry with a hear to serve the elderly. Hey Nestor, Welcome and thank you for being here!

Nestor: I’ve always love to share about the senior living industry, so I’m excited about it as well.

Hanh Brown: Please share with us your journey of 28 years, story on how you got started in senior living as an operator.

Nestor: Yeah, so interesting story for me. I actually started a freshman in high school and so I was looking for a, for a part time job. I came from a, from a family where mom was a single mom, so I needed to, I was the oldest son, and I wanted a bicycle to go to school in high school and mom couldn’t afford it, so she said, if you can get half of the money and, I’ll, I’ll get the other half. And interesting enough, there was a retirement back then, in the early nineties. They used to call them retirement hotels, so there was a lot of hotels with the name retirement hotel and so across the street was one. And I walked in and asked if they were hiring and there was like three other people waiting to be interviewed that day and they were all high school kids and I knew a few of them.And they hired, most of us.It was, it was interesting. I always try, I always share this story where I was at the right place at the right time. One of the kids was playing the piano for the residents and they were loving it. He, he was talented kid, playing the piano, but his, it was his turn to go interview. And, when he was called, he said, he said something like, I will, I’ll be with you in a minute. And cause he wanted to finish playing the piano. And I guess the supervisor that was hiring and said, wow, you can’t even take directions. She looked at me and she said are you next? I said, yes. She goes, how to wash dishes? I said, yeah, of course. And so she said, you’re hired?

Hanh Brown: Whether or not you believe in luck, there’s something to be said for being in the right place at the right time.

Nestor: I got the job and he kept playing the piano and then obviously he knew if he didn’t get the job. So, I stayed at that community for about eight, nine years. During high school. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. Right. I was a kid trying to figure out life and didn’t have that, grandparents, I didn’t have that father figure. So the resonance at that time, that generation of residents like my family, they would encourage me to continue to go to school. They weren’t encouraged me to get my education and they would encourage me to move up within the community. So I started as a dishwasher, went in as waiter, then dining room supervisor, then breakfast, cook and then I set Bruns, I got closer to graduating high school.I wanted to be a caregiver. And went into that role, went into that role as a caregiver and then met technician, which was a key part of the element. And, and at that time, helping the residents with their medication management. And then went off from there was able to master a little bit of everything within the community and not feel afraid of it. And again, always had the support of the residents. I think without them I probably wouldn’t be where I’m sitting at today as a, as an executive director and operator. So that’s where I’m at. And the rest is history. I did the sales and marketing for 10 years and was involved in that and was successful at it. And then got the opportunity to sit as the operator at a community in Pasadena. And, and then from there that was it. I, I’ve been doing now as executive director for a little bit over seven years now, so it’s been good.

Hanh Brown: The well-being of our parents is our ultimate wish as they age and live out the last years of their lives. In caring for your parents, what I mean is caring for their emotional, mental, and physical well-being. As much as you may appreciate the communities and the services that it comes with, you shouldn’t let the presence of a caregiver take your place in the lives of your aging parents.

Nestor: Absolutely. I think that was, that was a key component of the time and that’s, that’s probably the signs of the times now that we’re facing challenging times with, hiring, new staff, and then it’s a, a revolving door. I think the industry knows that it’s, it’s, it’s a hard thing to find the right person that has, that, that heart and compassion for the elderly. Again, I can tell you when I started in that field and back in the early nineties, there are still a handful of friends that got in that field and are still in the field and they’re still passionate for what they do. And we weren’t the best kids in high school, but we kept our noses clean and we were able to continue based on what our residents were telling us to do. And their stories and, they lived history. So hearing their stories would make us even more, humble at what they went through at that community I worked at, particularly it was an all Jewish community, so I had a lot of Holocaust survivors, so they would share their stories and, so I have to be, I was very humbled by them, so, yeah.

Hanh Brown: What significant changes have you seen in this industry over the years?

Nestor: Well, two things I have seen that has definitely changed within the decade that I, that I was starting in. One is the ad that I will go back a little bit as we talked about, hiring employees, and the team that would come in with a passion. Definitely that’s been a challenge that there’s a different generation that’s coming in and supporting our residents that need a lot of validation, but at the same time growth, right? Everybody wants to grow. And I think at a pace you can grow. and so where I’m seeing that as a, as a challenge. I S I do see there’s so many operators in one area that there might be multiple staff members working in multiple places at the same time. So, so we are all, we’re all sharing caregivers, which is good and it can be a challenge as well for, for our residents.So operators that have key programs for their hiring process, our key benefits, and everything else. I think we’re all at an, at a, at a common goal where what we give our employees. But there’s more than that, daycare programs for their children or the ability to be able to bring their, their children to the community and, and have intergenerational programs for the residents. I think those are key little elements that make a huge difference to retain employees. I think that’s it’s going to be key moving forward. The other thing that I saw in my time that’s changed within the last, yeah, definitely 28 years. There’s a higher acuity for sure. I totally remember going into work at a young age and hardly seen wheelchairs and walkers in our communities.

It was not something that we were even, we would see. Most of our residents were very active. I could tell you as a medical technician back in those days, the medications were, that were prescribed to our, our elderly were very few. There was a lot of medications that we would get directly prescribed a lot of over the counter stuff, multivitamins and things like that. But now we’re seeing a huge increase on, on the prescribed medications from the physicians, which is again, it changes the acuity of the, of the community. There’s a higher need and care, residents coming in with more, activities of daily living that definitely is needed in assisted living. So, and I think that’s where the word started coming. Right? So as I said, when I started, we, I would hear things like retirement hotel and then the word assisted living came in place. Right after, I think, it was something that was it was embraced. So we knew that assisted living was, was a game changer there. And, and now that’s where we’re doing. We’re assisting our, our residents while they’re reciting with us. That’s what I’ve seen is as far as changes, there’s a big demand for dementia communities, memory care neighborhoods. What Reno, that’s something we didn’t have in the, in those times we weren’t even aware if those behaviors were normal or what they were. But now with all the education and, and dementia and Alzheimer’s, I think it’s, I think we’re a little bit more ahead of the game on what, how to provide care for someone that’s going through that challenge in life.

Hanh Brown: Look at your elderly parent’s needs and then assess at all the possible solutions to get them the help they need. Daily living requirements are: Self-feeding, Moving while performing activities, getting in and out of bed, in and out of a chair. Dressing, Bathing or Showering, Personal Hygiene, Toilet Hygiene. What forward feedback do you want to share with developers in designing and constructing new senior living?

Nestor: And I think it’s really depends on the area, what they’re developing. Obviously rural areas. There’s a lot of space, a lot of common space to be shared, in inner city or a city wide programs or communities that are being developed, three floors and up. They’re limited in space. So they’re building common areas within the community. I think one of the key things, and we’re seeing it now, I’ve been seeing this in the last five, six years. I, I ran communities in Arizona and I ran communities here in California and I’m seeing a bigger, family involvement. I’m seeing grandkids involved. I see more younger generation coming, visiting their grandparents. I think that’s so neat seeing that. And so we, that’s our, our audience. Not only is it our new potential administrators, operators, developers, they, there’s gotta be something we can build in communities where, a computer lab for the kids to come in or a game area where the grandkids can come play a play area for toddlers all the way up to six, seven year olds a while granddad and their parents are watching them play. I mean, something like that, you’d go to the mall for that stuff. I have two twins, five-year-olds, and are escaped from my wife. And I is like, let’s go to the mall, let’s go shopping. And then we’ll take the kids to play in the playground and you see grandparents sitting there with their kids. So those are little things that I think are important. Family spaces is, is great. Most of the beautiful communities that open up that are five stars, will have these beautiful lushes lounges and you won’t see them being used a lot occasionally for an event or something like that. But, but I, I think we’ve got to go back to, to the, to our beginnings where it’s, it’s a family. It should be a family oriented community. So, and breaking the myth, right? Think, my kids, I have two different generations of children in my, my life, my five year old twins and my 24 and 22 year old son, they stopped two different things and I think they would, they would appreciate that, that kind of a play centers and, things that, that are inviting for them as well. I think, that, that’s our crowd as well.

Hanh Brown: What is a typical day for you as an operator?

Nestor: So a typical day for me as an operator there, there’s a nontypical, but I can tell you, at most of the organizations I’ve worked at, there’s, there’s a routine standup where we meet with the managers of the team of the day and discuss what the day is going to look like, how it went last night. Talk about new residents that have just moved in to, to see how their night went, if there was any, any adjustments that we needed to do. Or if they’re adjusting well, what was the feedback? So that’s our game plan at the beginning. We all huddle up and that’s what it is. It says, stand up. Most companies do embrace that and it’s a standup, we’re all standing for 15, 20 minutes, and discuss how the game plan is gonna work for the day. Who’s having challenges with departments are, are, needing more support and, um, and sort of that leads to what the day’s gonna look like. Either marketing events, family concerns, employee concerns, and then corporate meetings, which are necessary. So we know exactly what’s happening at the corporate and then making sure that we make time to spend with our residents. So, we can’t have meetings all day and then totally forget about the residents. So, I make it a schedule for my managers team at any community that we all take an assignment in the dining room, either pass, passing coffee or supporting the kitchen. So that’s really ground zero for us is being in the dining room. Cause we hear it all. Hey, do you know our residents will tell us first firsthand.

I noticed, Ms. Jones is not feeling good this morning. And so that’s key for us. Or they’ll say, Hey, last night’s event was a success. It was an amazing happy hour and we enjoyed it. Can you bring that entertainer back? So there’s, that’s the best place to be. So we, we make sure we assign our managers for that. I also have something we call once a month. We, each manager picks, an activity of choice that they feel comfortable with doing with the residents. So for me, I love doing a food show. So I’ll do like a, a food show for our residents and, and do my, my favorite dish with them. And they get to see me do it from scratch to the beginning. And so it’s pretty cool. I’ve had maintenance directors that’ll do which shop with them or break down a carburetor.And then there you have like six, seven gentleman around fixing a carburetor, which is pretty neat and then you have the ladies doing, either painting classes and why not offer wine too? I mean, it’s, it has to be a cool environment. So we’ve, we’ve seen that with our managers. So we, we, that’s what the day looks like then the unexpected days, right, where state walks in or there’s an actual complaint or there’s any lope man where residents attempted to leave the community. Those are days that we, we [inaudible] we are, we don’t predict. And so I could change obviously every day but for the most part, there’s, there’s always good days.

Hanh Brown: Within the states that you’ve worked in, please share some government and medical regulations that an assisted living must comply.

Nestor: Yeah, so for, for us in California, I’m, I can talk a little bit about Arizona as well, but I think overall, is the process of admission, ensuring that we’re, we’re caring for the, so the resident requires the right care and I’m talking about the difference between, skilled nursing or rehabilitation versus assisted living or memory care neighborhood. So we define those. Then we can actually do a better assessment of the resident moving into our community. So the state, we, if we get into situations where we are bringing someone that requires 24 hour, nurses on staff and injections and Ivy treatments, then we’re probably not the best place. So we need to make sure we’re following regulations to, to what it allows us to care for it or at our communities. And, secondly, I think they audit everything from, employee fingerprints, training. there’s a requirement of training for our care, staff, that’s done yearly and part of it in California requires dementia training as well. So, that, that’s key training is good. The, the possibilities of how to train someone are endless. You can do a computer training or you can do a classroom setting or you can do a one on one training. It is good to see and a lot of companies have different approaches, but for the most part it is a requirement here in California. Yeah. And they’ll audit everything from a medication carts. Recently in California we had to do the Evoque chairs, which is the evacuation chairs for the recent fires we’ve had, that we can get residents that are non-ambulatory out of the community faster.

So, those are requirements that every community in California, should be up to, up to, up to a standard now. And so it, there’s always regulations changing and state, some States are different than others. Some States combine it with the department of health services. Here in California, it’s community care licensing Arizona as well. And so we have our manuals. We follow title 22 here and every state has different regulations, article eight in Arizona. And so there specific things there. But here’s the key thing. When, wallowing States specific guidelines is working well with the license for us as the LPA, and the state. So having a good open communication relationship, I think for me, what’s made my success is that I’m any community I arrive to or I become part of I’d make a courtesy call to the, director of licensing are the LPA and introduced myself because they’re my advisors as well. There might be a challenging, situation in our community and they’re the ones that might be able to give me a little bit more information on what to do versus me trying to figure it out and making a mistake and then paying the consequences. So I always recommend that every time I, I mentor someone that’s going to become an ed or someone that has been in the industry and asked me, I say, have you called your state representative or your licensing agent and, and talk to them. So it should not be anything that anyone should be afraid. It should be a good mutual respect relationship because if we’re both out for the same thing and as taking care of the senior, the elderly population.

Hanh Brown: How do families gain trust in you and your team to place their loved ones under your care?

Nestor: Yeah, I think very important that we understand that anyone walking into the community obviously is seeking help. If there. I used to have a vice president of sales and marketing and they’d always say, people don’t go on the weekends or during the week, senior living shopping. It’s not something that people do for the future. It is always something that’s going on at home. And so we, we need to have some empathy obviously when they’re coming in. Understanding what the situation as, what benefits we can offer in our community that would resolve those concerns. And so for, for me and my team, every team that I work with, I always tell them we have to hear their story first. We have to know, we have to put ourselves in their shoes. And so the way I, I love to win trust, and this is a perfect example. I had a wonderful tour last night at my property, at the community I am at. And it was five 30 in the afternoon and, they wanted a tour. And if I’m here or whoever’s here, we’re gonna give them a tour. We took a long time discussing an, about the needs of their loved one. And I made them feel comfortable. I understood, I shared stories of similar situations.I shared some of the benefits that we had available. And all along I kept asking, how many communities have you seen? And they would, they would say five. And I was like, Oh my God, you must be very confused by now because five or six communities is just a lot. It’s a lot of information that you’re being thrown at in every community.

Although we might have the same thing that we offer, which is assisted living. We are, are all different. We’re all have some something key element that might be good for your, for your loved one. I’m not quick to ask for a deposit. You can tell if they’re we’re building that trust that the deposit will come immediately or they want to hold the room or the reservation. So two and a half hours in the conversation, we had built a great relationship, I’m a Rotarian. They, I’m the son of this person that was looking at our and was a Rotarian. So we combined some of our interests as well. I talked a little bit about my background and I’ve gone through, personally in my life, with a loved one that had to be in assisted living and was able to win their trust. We are scheduled to do a, an assessment in the next couple of weeks. and if we’re a good fit for their loved one, they’ll be joining our family here.

Hanh Brown: What questions should families ask they are researching for independent living for their loved ones?

Nestor: Yeah, I think, I always start off by, when I hear a family members say this is gonna sound like not a, not an inappropriate question to ask, but I need to know. And I always say, there isn’t a question that you can, if you, if you feel that you can’t ask this question, then there’s probably something that we’re missing. So we need every piece of information you give us too, so we can all make the right decision. I had a son and a community in Arizona that had asked me a question about pets. And he said, do you accept a cat? And I said, yes. We’re a pet friendly community and, and that’s not an issue. And then he said, well, do you accept 10 cats? Cause his, his father, wanted all his cats. And so I said, well, let’s talk about it. And so, I that that was key. I didn’t say no. I said, let’s talk about it and tell me a little bit more about these cats. Tell me a little bit more about why, why dad needs all 10 of them and, and tell me what’s his favorite. And then we came down through, there were two cats that take, took care of and they couldn’t live without. So it, it’s again a piece of the conversation. That we, that we have to have, asking questions, reviewing a state websites for any deficiencies. I’m going to be the first to admit. And I’m an a and I, and I think hopefully colleagues out there will, will understand, we’re not perfect.

There might be deficiencies in a community you walk into, that are repetitive. And so as an executive director, if I’m new and I see those repetitive, violations, that’s probably the first thing I’m going to be looking at to see if it’s a medication error that’s consistently happening. Three months, then there’s gotta be some training opportunities. Is it something that we need to fix? So looking at the state, inspections are important. I believe most States do post them. They’re public information. State of California does post them. It’s key. and then going with an open mind and discussing those things as you are visiting the communities and saying, can you tell me a little bit about this incident? Is this something that was fixed? It was this something that was taken care of and then also looking at the ones that are great. I’ve also have great communities where we do zero deficiencies and it’s 100% and as an administrator we’re, we’re thankful for that. But we also know we have things to improve, right? We’re, we’re running day by day operations. So we see, Hey, we can fix this a little bit better because we could’ve got dang for this, but we didn’t. And so, making sure that we also celebrate the moments we do. We don’t. So, there’s questions on staff ratio. What is your staff ratio? Every company has different, ways of explaining that. I think the higher the acuity, the higher the need, the more staff, the lesser of the acuity, the lesser the need, obviously less staff. I think it’s simple that’s great. And then talking about the, the meals and the programs and all that is, is, is key. So, bring as many questions and, and making sure that it’s not a, the standard question or a standard answer I should say. If it sounds too standard then, then everybody’s heard the same answer and they’re really not listening at that point.

Hanh Brown: What do you see as far as the evolution of changes in the residences coming in as independent care then later moving to dementia care?

Nestor: The air? I think you said, you shared a little bit about your story about your siblings and you, you guys are all asking questions. I think, I think we’re seeing a lot of interaction with a lot of different families and everybody has different, different opinions of how to take care of mom, how to take care of dad. I think that’s, a battle within itself within the families, personally myself as well. I, had to deal with that with my mom and as we found a location for her as well. So my sister and my brother, we all had different ideas of what was best for her. But I’m the expert. I’ve been doing it for 28 years. But I’ll tell you when you do it for your own loved one, it’s also hard. And I might not be the expert. So I asked to humble myself again on, on situations like that of the evolution, that I’m seeing, it’s great to see communities that are being built that are similar to CCRC is a continuum of care where they can offer all those options, the independent living and then as they start aging in place, they can move into assisted living. And then, if the progression of the disease is getting more severe, then you have the option of the, of the dementia neighborhood or the unit. So those are key components, in a saturated market when you have multiple competitors within an area. I think it’d, it becomes more of who’s providing customer service, who’s providing the best customer service, because I can go down the street and pay the same amount and probably receive better customer service than at a location where they’re not even, they don’t even know my mom by name, something like that.

So there’s a different evolution of people being able to look at Yelp and being able to look at Google and looking at those kinds of things as well to determine if they would go to the next place. I, I, I’ve, I’ve had interesting families that have come to my communities and said, well, this will be the third community I moved to and I think that’s a red flag. You want to ask what’s happened to the last two? Or what did they do that didn’t meet your needs to make sure that you don’t go through the fourth or third community. And so, we all want census. We all want to have 100% occupancy. That is, I think, ultimately everybody’s goal in business on the business side of it, on the business side of it. But also, is it a red flag? Are we, are the customers looking at discounts or is there something that the competitor is giving that it’s financially more suitable for them?, that’s the evolution that’s going on now. Now what, what is the market? How, how much is the market going to be able to hold?

Hanh Brown: When going through it for my mom, we looked at the location. Location is key; typically elders would like to be near family, near doctors and a major hospital; some might prefer a location central to shopping and entertainment. Some may want to be near children and grandchildren. With regard to living space, you may want an extra bedroom for a guest or desire a kitchenette or patio for entertaining. Then you have to consider the amenities and activities that that you have fun with such as pools, movie theaters, art studios, putting greens and on-site cafes, salons and bars. When visiting the community, you will want to see the contract that details all the fees, rules and regulations? How are services billed? Can I continue to see my own physicians? Can I have a pet and my own furniture? Can I come and go as I please? Are any activities prohibited in private rooms or apartments? What training and background checks are required of staff? Is there a registered nurse or other medical professional available at all times? What happens if I run out of money? Do you participate in Medicare, Medicaid, VA Aid and Assistance, long-term care insurance or any other payment program? What circumstances would force a resident to move out of the facility? If I require a higher level of care in the future, is that available at this community? If I have a long-term stay in a hospital or rehabilitation facility, do you hold my residence? And so forth.

Nestor: Yeah. And I think that goes back into leading into asking those critical questions because, you’ll still end up going to, to, to meet the team to meet the people, and you, and I think, at the end of the day, it’s, it’s not the structure that we’re looking. It might be beautiful, gorgeous a community, but it’s who is in there, who is taking care of them, the interactions they hear, the, the, the laughing, the ambiance. I can tell you multiple times, and I’m sure a lot of executive directors and operators will agree when they hear someone leaving and said, I don’t know about your community, but I, I have that feeling that it’s I don’t know what I felt, but it’s, it’s, it’s a feeling that everybody cares. And when you hear things like that, you’re like, wow, it’s, it’s the synergy that we’re giving so people can feel comfortable coming to our community and again, I’ve, there’s different operators running different, their communities. Some communities, if an operator’s having a bad day or something’s going on within the community, changes in management, you can feel it. You can feel this team either feeling down or, or not feeling 100%. So that those energy moments, residents feel them, our residents start feeling like, okay, something’s going on. Administrators gone or this person’s gone. And so they start feeling a little bit like now I’m nervous. it’s their home and things are changing and so those are going to be what makes differentiate a lot of us.

Hanh Brown: What do you see you see as synergy between the loved ones? Are they getting out of their room to engage with the staff and are the families coming to see them? Over the 28 years, what trend do you see?

Nestor: Yeah. I, in my early years, I would hardly see family, to be honest, when I was working as a caregiver, I, I wouldn’t see a lot of families visiting when I’m there. And I’m talking, I’m mid nineties and here’s the other reason why most of my residents were still active enough to get in their car and drive and visit their children. So we’re seeing a different, again as this is a different, more higher acuity, that’s being needed now in our community. So, the interactions now we do, I do see a lot of families visiting, grandchildren, kids from college visiting their grandparents, a lot of intergenerational, families, a great grandkids visiting from college. So it’s, it’s neat to see those things because, at a previous community, that was the moment that w the, the resident wanted to introduce us to everyone. So the grandkids that’s in town and they’re like, you’ve got to meet my granddaughter nester. She graduated from the university of so-and-so. And, and she’s thinking of going in geriatric care and can, can she spent some time with you and you tell her. And I’m like, Oh my God, I would love to. So [inaudible] they showcasing their family to us and, and then I would turn around and say, have you, how do you like your, your grandparents’ home? And they were like, wow, it’s great. It has a pool, has a walking area. The dining is awesome. I mean, I can imagine having this at the door or at college dorm. So it’s good to see those, those interactions. You are absolutely right. There’s always, probably a daughter that’s more involved, in the process of their loved one living in the community. So there’s a lot of connection with it. I’ve, I don’t know how many, families I’m still connected with to this date that I no longer at the community, but they’re, they can reach out to me if they have a question or, or if they have a concern or if they have an update for me and say, Hey, guess what mom is here now. And, it’s, it’s neat to see that and to build that relationship with them as well.

Hanh Brown: Yes, my siblings come daily to feed, bathe and spend time a few hours a day with my mom. We stay and enjoy her company and often we leave crying.

Nestor: And, and I see that a lot. There’s definitely daily family visits. There’s definitely a daughter visiting or a son in the afternoon after work visiting. I, I see that a lot. And, and the other key thing is that we’re also interacting with them. How are you doing? How are you feeling? And we tend to forget that we’re all in caring for, for our resident. But in reality, we’re caring for the whole family. So I don’t know how many times I’ve taken out a sun out and when I can see in his face, he’s mom can recognize him anymore and he’s having a hard time. And I’ll be like, Hey, what are you doing after? when you, when you’re finished here, let’s go, let’s go have dinner. Let’s go talk. And I’ve done that a couple of times and, and it benefits me because I can share my story of what is going on with my mom and then we should share stories and we have to be able to also lift the children up and the grandkids and everybody, we have to be able to do that. And not imagine that, OK, it’s only the resident, but the whole resident and the resident’s family that we’re taking care of.

Hanh Brown: What standards do you hold when hiring your staff?

Nestor: So we, we one particular community I, and we allow them before, to be interviewed by group interview, which would be the managers. So we would do group interviews together. I’ll ask key questions and components about caregiving, caregiving and burnout or the reason of joining this industry. Tap into the purpose of, of what they’re here for. I’ve had, [inaudible] candidates tell me I need a paycheck. When people tell me that, I normally tend to say, well, now there’s other options, but not here. You have to have some compassion and some willingness. I, I, I’ve heard people in the industry say, well, I’m only going to hire people that have done this, field for three years. Well, I tell them good luck because you’re not going to find them. They’re either still working at their communities. So we have to give people an opportunity to get in our field and we got to educate them. So I’m a bit proponent in going to the universities and going to colleges and high schools at the early stages and talking to two kids that are going in the workforce about all the opportunities that they’re in, in a community, from dietary to housekeeping, to front desk, to driver to activities director. There’s so many different opportunities. And so making it a more of a, Oh, that’s pretty, pretty interesting career versus it’s a job. So we do group interviews. We also allow them when we do feel, Hey, this, this particular candidate, set some key things that are, that are based on our, our core values or principles of service, or belief of, of what our mission is in the company. We allow them to come maybe for an hour or two hours to observe our care staff or to observe the dietary or to observe depending on the department. So they can actually see how it actually functions. I can tell you that it’s better to do that then, then get them started, go through the process of fingerprint, is it gold TB tests and then their onboarding and then them exiting quicker back into the field because they don’t think they can handle it. It’s better to just show them this is what we do on a daily basis. There’s wonderful days and then there’s days that we need to all put together and work as a team. And so, that, that makes the difference when we’re doing that.

Hanh Brown: Is there a need for more senior living and if yes, what would you like to see incorporated?

Nestor: Yeah, there’s, I’ve always said that even in the, in, in my Dale’s as a, in my days as a sales and marketing, I would always say there’s, there’s, there’s not enough places, although in, in city areas, you see, you cross the street, there’s another, assisted living. And I, and I hate using the word competitors cause we’re, we’re all, we can all work in union. We can probably fill our communities, a little bit better, but there’s definitely a big need. There’s definitely a need more for, dementia neighborhoods and memory care. I think in the early, late nineties and early two thousands of opera for developers started seeing that need and started developing those, the wings, the units or the neighborhoods on, 20 beds, 30 beds, some communities took it further and made the whole entire community, early stage to later stage dementia. And so they did let, did that, the lady Greg system. So it, and, and now we’re discovered that dementia is an umbrella of different things that are going on. And this is just not Alzheimer’s or Lewy body or Parkinson’s. You have TBIs, traumatic brain injuries, you have other things that are going on, depression. So there’s, there’s a huge need, for, for those, memory care neighborhoods for sure. I would love to see incorporated is the different generation that’s coming in. So we talk about the baby boomer generation. And so, and I, and I, before I was an executive director, I would hear my directors tell me, well, the baby boomer generation is around the corner. Well, that was like 10 years ago. I kept hearing that, listen, the, the, that generation will come in, but it’s the, the bingo is not going to keep them here.

The sing along is, is not going to be the key thing for them. The, the, the dining might need to be different. I know of a developer, that created something out of state that I was totally in. I was like, that’s so cool. He created a, a microbrewery, with a, like a bar, style at his community. And he looked at the, found the locals, that crew, that brewers in the area. And so he invited a lot of, of the, residents to participate in this. And I think I’m 90% of his, residents that move in at the community. We’re all, because they were locals. So they, they love to having a glass of beer or a glass of wine. And so creating that environment, there’s a lot of operators that are, are doing a little more modernization of it.Pizza break ovens in the middle of the dining room where you can have that fragrance of a, of a restaurant. Those are, those are key. Those are going to bring a different type of resident in the community that might be a little more active, but this looking at the future in case they need assisted care. So those are, those are, that’s the way we’re going. Independent living, it looks like independent living is going to be independent living. I see operators of separating themselves from AOL or in memory care and focusing on, more of a hospitality hotel type setting. And that’s key too. There’s people that are going to be looking for that kind of environment. Instead of the bingo night. It’s going to be comedy night at, the Bray improv or, or having comedians coming in,or talk on different topics versus healthcare. It might be more of a, we’re going to talk about the JPL. I’ve had JPL come to a few of my communities and talk about things that they’re doing, in outer space. So more fun, more, more creative. Marketing is going to be key.

Hanh Brown: I really, really enjoy our conversation. A key component to be successful in this profession, you must have a heart to serve the seniors and their families. And I see why you’re very good at what you do. So congrats.

Nestor: I appreciate that. I appreciate it. And I thank you for allowing me to speak and share a little bit about my passion, and shedding light on it as well, to developers. I think there’s some great developers out there. There’s some great operators. And I think it’s, there’s some great associations out there in the East coast and here in Southern California and the West area. So coming together I think is it’s good. So thank you.

Hanh Brown: Thanks you so much Nestor, look forward to having you back again and meeting up with you when I am in California !

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