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Burckhardt Speaks with KMA-AM Listeners about Finding the Right Elder Care Option

Click here to listen to the interview. It was aired in Shenandoah, Iowa on KMA(am) on June 27, 2008.

Below please find the transcript of the radio interview mentioned above.

Announcer: You know a lot of folks are interested in elder care not because it's their favorite topic but because as we age so do our parents and we're delighted to have on the line Katie Burckhart, she's the Senior Vice President of Referral for an organization known as A Place For Mom. Good morning to you Katie.

Katie Burckhart: Good morning.

Announcer: Thanks a lot for joining us here this morning. Give us some background, your title there with A Place For Mom, and a little background on yourself.

Burckhart: Well I have actually been working in senior services and senior housing for seventeen years, and I am with a company called A Place For Mom, and a Place For Mom has been in business for eight years now going into July. And what A Place For Mom does is we provide free elder care service, helping families, or seniors find elder care services, housing, home health, whatever it is that they may want or need throughout the nation. And our service is free to them because we work with several thousands of partners who pay for our service to help the families find a good match.

Announcer: Okay and I think one of the questions is, is finding that right place. How do you find the right elder care facility for a parents needs?

Burckhart: Well, typically we work with the family, that can often times be an adult child. It's easier, in my opinion, to help them find elder care services when they're not in a crisis situation, but what we do is we work with the families and we ask, you know, what it is that they want? What are they looking for? And it can be quite a maze to figure out what do I want? What can meet my needs? Financially how can I afford it? Sometimes people have just a hard time understanding what their needs are and who can serve them. So we want to filter through that and so really asking questions of the senior themselves and working with the family, and then guiding them in the right direction based on what's available. One of the things that can, you know we try and keep people in a preferred location and direct them in the right area, so what's available in a particular location within their health care wants and needs and within their financial wants and needs.

Announcer: Well it's such an emotional time, you know nobody, and I think I can make this statement pretty fairly, I don't think anybody as they look at their retirement years wants to have any one care for them. I mean everybody wants to take care of themselves until, until its time for them to pass on. But obviously that doesn't happen, and in the aging population people living longer, some of these diseases and disorders that we knew very little about, unfortunately we're getting to know a lot about, particularly Alzheimer's and elderly depression, it's a blessing to have facilities to take care of our seniors.

Burckhart: It is a blessing and we have great communities, facilities, retirement homes, assisted living that can help folks. And what you just said is a very common thought, and a very common feeling among a lot of seniors, and what we want to help folks understand is we've often seen cases where if people plan ahead, or do not wait for a crisis situation and can choose an option for themselves they can see their quality of life improve which a lot of people probably don't think about. They probably look at, if I have to make a move I'm going to lose my independence, it's the end of the road, and it doesn't have to be. And so however we can educate people ahead of time. What we find often is typically they have a loss of, seniors can have a loss of a spouse or loss of family that are there to help them and living in their own home can be more dangerous and more isolating, so getting them into an environment where quality of life can still come to them and they can enjoy and it doesn't have to be a horrible experience and a horrible move.

Announcer: And a lot of information that we try to gather when we're doing something like this also comes up when it comes to cost. Can you give us some tips on financing elder care?

Burckhart: Yeah, you know one of the big things that has really helped seniors now is long term care insurance. You know ten-fifteen years ago not a lot of people had it because they hadn't purchased or thought about it, but long term care insurance can be very helpful. Another wonderful thing is if someone is a veteran, or a spouse of a veteran when they need care and move into a community that offers care they may qualify for veteran's benefits that can help pay and offset that cost. You know working with a financial planner and starting to talk about what I'm going to need. Assisted living can cost about $2500 to $3000 a month and then it can go up or it can be down from there just depending on the care needs and the wants.

Announcer: Yeah and the area of the country that you live in makes a big difference here too.

Burckhart: It sure does, it sure does, and so you know starting to talk to either, you know, a family member or a financial planner. The good news is also many seniors own their homes and so the home and the sale of the home can help them pay for some nice options as well.

Announcer: Sure. We're visiting with Katie Burckhart, Senior Vice President of Referral for a company known A Place For Mom, and I guess it's important here to point out your company is really more of a, really takes more of an advocate's role rather than a funding source but you know what a, what a great referral one source, we've lived through this in our family with my father and in going through that with siblings and learning so much more, and you mentioned the, you know the variety of ways to fund this and being a veteran like my dad is there are a lot of hoops to run through and your company can sure help.

Burckhart: Absolutely, we actually provide a service where we can help a family through a veteran's application which can be very complicated, somewhat hard to find, and people just need help. Anytime you're in a situation where you need to make a move or you need to make a change due to whatever reason, as a senior how do you know where to go? And we want to provide those services and we want to help folks say, you know we're going to help you. Let us be the expert. Let's find out what your interests are because there is a lot to know and you know it's important of us at A Place For Mom to hook up with as many resources as the family may ever need and anticipate those needs and just work with them and help them in the right direction because it's overwhelming, not a lot of people have researched senior care just as you said when you started and we just want to help them sort through that. So once we understand what an individual's wants are, what an individual's needs are, we can really, it's important to be a resource for them and that's exactly what we're committed to doing. And there's a lot of other sources out there such as the Alzheimer's Association and a lot of people can work with faith organizations to just help them navigate and understand gee what are my options, what could I do?

Announcer: And Katie give them the web address where they can find a lot of information.

Burckhart: Yes we are at, and anyone, we have a community site that people can click into. There are people talking about aging issues, options, live all-day long,

Announcer: Yeah it's a fantastic site and I hate to cut you off there but we're out of time Katie, thank you so much, have a great day and keep up the super work would you please?

Burckhart: Thank you.

Announcer: You bet. KMA time 8:57.

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