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"Starting a Search for Elder Care" - KONG TV

The following interview with Pamala Temple aired on KONG TV in Seattle, Washington on June 16, 2008.

Starting a Search for Elder Care
Watch the KONG TV interview by A Place for Mom President Pamala Temple.

Brad Goode: You know it is a very difficult question facing hundreds of thousands of families across this country, as mom and dad get older what is the best way to care for them? Joining us this morning is Pamela Temple, founder of the Seattle based A Place For Mom, is a free elder care referral service. Pamela, thanks for being here. This is an issue that so many Americans are having to deal with more and more. So we know many people are dealing with this family issue, tell us about why and how you started A Place For Mom.

Pamela Temple: Absolutely, well I have been in the elder care industry for many years, fifteen years prior to starting it and really just saw that families needed personal professional assistance when making this kind of very important decision for somebody who they've loved all their life. And people were frequently finding elder care through driving by, advertising, and there are so many great options out there that they probably didn't know of and that's why we started the company.

Goode: All right, so you've been in business eight years, I take it business has exploded because it just seems that more and more people need services and don't know where to go.

Temple: It's so true we ah, we're actually one of the fastest growing companies here in Washington and it's really just because so many people need the service and there are so few options out there to talk with folks when you're going through this difficult time. There are a lot of questions that come up and...

Goode: Let's talk about that, because I think that's the core issue for everybody here saying I need help, I have a lot of questions, what are some of the questions that people ask when they're trying to figure out, you know, is it time for elder care, what do I do, what do I look for, what type of elder care do I need?

Temple: All those things come into peoples minds and I think the biggest thing we ask people to look for: Are you seeing any physical changes that could cause a person to be unsafe? Many times a fall can lead to devastating things and even death so you want to make sure that if they're having physical problems to get on that right away, to start asking those questions, maybe have a family meeting to talk about some of the things you're seeing. You're also seeing memory loss. People are very concerned about what does that mean and when might this mean that mom is unsafe at home? Nutritional issues, are people eating right? Are they getting physical activity? Those types of things come to mind.

Goode: You know I want to touch a little bit on the Alzheimer's situation because we know that's a growing issue in this country, I do a lot of work with the Alzheimer's Association here, and many people are confronted with, when do I know it's time to put mom and dad in care because a lot of times, you know, they get backlash from mom and dad saying I can handle myself, I'm fine, I'm just forgetting a few things and there's concern that maybe they can't. How do you help people through that process?

Temple: We do, it's a very difficult thing for the adult child, as we say, because you know frequently and just like with, with my grandmother you know you've heard "I don't want to go into a home", "I don't need that". Well it's something that the adult children really just need to face and understand you have to push your way through and really just communicate with the elderly in terms of let's talk about what's going on. You might get your doctors involved. You might ask them, you know you're in charge of your life mom but what about toying with me, why don't we go out and take a look at these places I've heard they're really nice these days. Because I think the elderly have an idea of what elder care is many, many years ago and there are so many great options out there now that can really make their life so much better if we just give them that chance and really create a bridge.

Goode: What's the best way for that adult child to deal with the guilt that they're putting mom or dad in a home to be cared for?

Temple: It's so hard.

Goode: It's so hard.

Temple: The guilt is there but I would say try to put it aside and put their safety first and understand that feeling the guilt is normal, but that if we let the guilt stop us from making the right choices for them - that could mean a terrible fall, that could mean them not taking their medication correctly, which could lead to bad things. So we just have to kind of plow through that and good communication. Bring in other family members. You know some of the family members might be stronger at this than others.

Goode: True. I think it takes a family effort indeed; no doubt you need the support. I'm sure one of the big questions as well, I want to end with this, is of course the cost of elder care. People see that, they hear that, and they just fear huge numbers. Is there help for people out there with the cost?

Temple: Yeah, there is help. Essentially we do say you know you want to make sure a lot of these options are private pay ranging anywhere from $80 to $150 a day, similar to a hotel but you also get care in that. So the Veterans Aid and Attendance benefit is a great one for veterans. Medicare does cover some things in nursing homes. Medicaid, the Pace program, people are also sometimes cashing in their life insurance policies, there are some things they can do there to help with the finances. Sometimes family members chip in, so lots of different options.

Goode: I know there's a lot of lobbying I was with the Alzheimer's Association down in Olympia to get lawmakers to listen to this need and how it's growing so they are looking at setting more and more money aside for elder care because they realize it's just something, I mean it could become an epidemic in this country and it's got to be handled and there's got to be resources for that for families.

Temple: Absolutely.

Goode: Thank you for coming in to talk about it. It's something we don't want to talk about, and many of us are going to have to face.

Temple: Absolutely, thanks for having me.

Goode: All right. If you'd like to learn some more about A Place For Mom and some of the free resources that they have available we've set up a link on our website, go to king5.com and click on news links and we'll get you some of those answers that perhaps you all need.

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