Mary Lynn Pannen at Sound Options talks about the old Answers for Elders care line, in which people were able to speak with a consultant trained in healthcare, social work, or geriatric care management.
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*The following is the output of transcribing from an audio recording. Although the transcription is largely accurate, in some cases it is incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors.
Welcome back to the program everyone. I am here with a very wonderful, incredible mentor of mine, Mary Lynn Pannen, and she is a registered nurse and she’s the CEO and president of Sound Options. Now, Sound Options is a care management and home care company, but they also have a very special service that they offer and guess what, they are part of Answers for Elders, as they do our Answers for Elders care line. Mary Lynn, welcome to the program thank you, Suzanne. It’s really wonderful to be here. You know, I wanted to have a conversation with you because obviously we have commercials running right now that a lot of our listeners have heard about the Answers for Elders care line, and I now this is the this week we’re talking about chains, has changes and transitions and obviously, in talking about this topic, my my envision for the care line is defined a place where where people can call and families can go to and get real answers, and I wanted to talk to you a little bit about, you know, how does the careline work, who is involved, etc. So I guess let’s just start and say you know, what’s what if somebody calls our careline, what happens? Well, they would Um, they would definitely have a professional on the line who could be a registered nurse or a social worker that have expertise in the myriad of issues that older adults and chronically show people things. Hmm. But that person would begin by asking some questions of the caller. Hmm. They would obviously tell them this in secure line and and here’s what our processes and we’re available to you really for the first thirty minutes. It’s complimentary and then the rest is as needed by the family. Absolutely and one of the things that we are excited about providing the services. If you were going to hire a registered nurse or go see a doctor to get some questions answered or anything like that, a family would spend, you know, close to a hundred fifty dollars or something close to that to get an hour of somebody’s time minimum. You’re talking probably, in some cases, you know, a lot more than that. Having this the care line, you’re actually calling into a actual professional, you know, call caller and you know you’re actually talking to a console insulant that actually can help you, that is trained either in healthcare, in social work, or in what’s the third one? Geriatric management? Right, yes, yes, yes, so. So how we like to work with the customer then is to really kind of figure out a little bit about what they’re concerned are immediate concerns and then they may share long range concerns and we all along are listening and thinking and prioritizing in our minds. You know, how do we help these people right now and make some recommendations that by which that they can proceed? Many of the families that call us really don’t know where to go and all of a sudden their face with the crisis, and crisis can take on many forms, but in their mind it’s a crisis. I don’t know what to do with that. He just had a stroke and you know, I’m busy, I’ve got a family and I work forty to fifty hours a week and and so all of a sudden I need help from a professional who can who can give me kind of, not kind of, but the knowledge I need to move share work. And you know, I always talk about you know, we families out there that are taking care of senior parents, whether you’re the you know, the actual primary care give her or a family member. You are making life changing decisions for that parent, whether it’s you know, they’re living situations. Helping Tim to do that and since we’re talking about transitions and changes this week, it’s really about you know, you’re out a crossroads and a lot of the decisions that you make today is going to affect the future of your parent and you don’t want to make a mistake. That is a critical part of your at that cross roads. What we’re here for is to really help you understand the specific factors that you need to consider and making those decisions and obviously the consultants, you know, with sound options, can actually help guide you to making the right decision for your parent. So a good example of that is I had a son called me the other day and he had mom in a nursing home and she was about ready to be discharged. Hmm, and he wanted to know exactly what questions he should ask while they’re in this in this clip care planning session, right for when, for when she used to be discharged. And because he had no idea, he didn’t know the right words to say, he didn’t even know if she should be discharged right. So we will, we will able to give him some tips and ideas on what to ask absolutely what wants us to expect, because that’s another issue, is that, you know, there’s so much about what will Medicare pace? Well, what will it not? How do we go forward? So this care line is a really, really great service to answers for elders and I think more and more people should take advantage of that because it does give at least the start point. Now they can certainly come back and get can have more services by the careline, but even if they would just take that one step and call, I think that the adult children or the family caregiver would be really pleased. The consultant is also trained to be empathetic, and how many people really listen to us about our parents exactly? I mean I’ve had a lot of friends that have given me a lot of time to listen about my my woes about mom and dad. But I think it’s even more important and can kind of cut to the chase, so to speak, if you’re talking to a professional. Right we are talking to Mary Lynn and she’s a registered nurse and the CEO and president of sound options and of course she’s a geriatric care manager as well and working in the community here for how since one thousand nine hundred and eighty nine, your company has been here. Is that correct? That’s correct. We’ve been we’ve been around. You know, that’s amazing. Thank you. But, you know, I gotta say this, Mary Lynn. We have been honored working with families and really well helping people, because this is just a very tough area. I think if anyone you know has a friend or a colleague gets worked with parents, this is this is tough duty, not and it’s very different than parenting because you’re not parenting your parents. Know, they’re owed the the respect and and loyalty of family at a time when they’re really in their last chapter, close to the last chapter, of their lives, and so we feel really honor to work with those with elders and their families, you know, and that’s a real important process. About the careline to is how do I handle the difficult conversations? How many times have I had people, you know, send me a note or, you know, an email and say, you know, we have to we have to talk about my parent giving up driving and they’re refusing to do so, and I just sit back and I go you know, it really starts with understanding the mindset that your parents in and you need you need kind of somebody that can help you get into the mindset of your senior parent to really understand where they’re coming from, because I really believe it isn’t the change that they’re afraid of so much, it’s the fact that they they’re afraid of the unknown, they don’t know the little to do, and so to make that an easy transition, and it’s also not to make it adversarial. So what you’re saying all of a sudden, I cringe when people say to me, Oh, well, you know, it’s time to parent your parent, and I just sit back and say, absolutely not. You will never, ever, ever be the parent of your parent, I don’t care what anybody tells it way and you know that respect. They’re they’re deserve that respect all, you know, all the way until they take their last breath. And you know, that’s the thing that I think that that the careline can help you be a better family member and a better advocate for your parent and as this process goes on in their aging. So I would really encourage people to use that careline, even if it’s just, you know, tips on end of life, and I don’t mean just because all of these issues are are looming, there’s going to an older adult, but it may at least help the child, the adult child, feel at ease with mom and dad, because some of these some of these issues are scary, very and some of the families are fighting because one thinks that mom should have this kind of care and the other child thinks that mom should have another kind of care. And so the consultant can also help with, you know, referring to like a mediator or or giving giving creative solutions to some really complex needs. Some families like to coach with care consultant and we’ve had I’ve had a client for seven years that I never have laid eyes on her until recently. Wow, because she just she just wanted to coach, have a coaching relationship and we would she would I would bounce ideas off of her regarding her dad. So there’s all kinds of ways that people can really get into the services of older for older adults right and I think to you guys have Segue, I know that we have sixty five categories of expertise, son answers for elders and if by chance, you’re in an area, in a region where we do not have an expert, the careline can help point you in the right direction, no matter if you’re here in greater Puget Sound or if your parents live elsewhere. The nice thing about the careline is it is nationally connected across the country so that we can find resources for you no matter where you live. Absolutely and that’s the beauty is that the leg work that we can do for people will just save that customer or call or lots of time and expert keys. So let me give you the number of the careline everyone. It’s eight seven seven two, one hundred and four, eight hundred and six six one. That’s eight seven seven two, one, four, eight hundred and sixty six one, Mary Lynn. Thank you so much for being on the program. You are most welcome. My pleasure.
Suzanne Newman, host of the Answers for Elders radio show and podcast, proclaims often, “Caring for my mom was the hardest thing I ever have done, but it was also my greatest privilege.” Following a career of over 25 years in sales, media, and marketing management, Suzanne embarked on a 6-year-journey caring for her mother. Her trials and tribulations as a family caregiver inspired an impassioned life mission outside of the corporate world to revolutionize the journey that so many other American families also find themselves on. Answers for Elders provides education, help, and support to families, caregivers, and seniors across the country who are experiencing their own unique journey within the complicated world of Eldercare. Each week, Suzanne is joined by vetted professional experts in over 65 categories including health & wellness, life changes, living options, money, law, and more. Suzanne lives in Edmonds, Washington with her husband, Keith, and their two doodle dogs, Whidbey and Skagit.