Placement Problems?

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Elder Law Report: Today our guest is Mike Mannion, a Certified Senior Advisor with Senior Care Authority. Mike talks to us about how to find the right care facility for your loved one. Learn More: 704-259-7040 or mcelderlaw.com.

Greg McIntyre:             Okay. Hi. I’m Greg McIntyre with McIntyre Elder Law, helping seniors protect their assets and legacies. And I’m also here with Brenton Begley, who is an attorney with McIntyre Elder Law. And Brenton, say hello.

Brenton Begley:            Hi. How’s it going?

Greg McIntyre:             Or don’t or whatever. So anyway, I’m a director, producer, and commentator today. So we’re trying out some new technology. I think it’s going to work beautifully, just recording, going back and forth. And I’m lucky to have our special guest here today who I work with a lot, and I wanted to bring him on because what he has is valuable to say and the information that he’s putting out is valuable.

Greg McIntyre:             I just recently did a podcast on Boomers Today, which he helped hook me up with, which is a nationally syndicated podcast with the founder of Senior Care Authority.

Mike Mannion:             Right, Frank.

Greg McIntyre:             Right? Frank Samson.

Mike Mannion:             Samson, yes.

Greg McIntyre:             And I really enjoyed that interview.

Mike Mannion:             Yeah, you guys did good. I listened to it.

Greg McIntyre:             I really liked it. He asked some great questions and you can tell he’s done this a couple of times before.

Mike Mannion:             Yes, he has experience.

Greg McIntyre:             So we do the Elder Law Report. We’ve done the Elder Law Report for a long time, too. And tell us a little bit, tell us who you are and tell us what you do, yeah.

Mike Mannion:             Sure. Mike Mannion, my wife and I, we own Senior Care Authority here in the Carolinas, and what we do is we help families, older adults and their families navigate the challenges and frustrations and stresses of all the elder care options that might be out there. We’ve had the benefit of taking care of both sets of our parents. I’m a retired corporate executive that failed retirement and we chose to get back into doing something worthwhile and we know caring for older adults is our passion. We enjoy it immensely.

Greg McIntyre:             It’s been a long time since I have talked about failing retirement. I had done podcasts and radio shows before about literally second careers for people who retire and they find it’s not for them and they go into something else, right?

Mike Mannion:             That’s exactly what we did.

Greg McIntyre:             I work with Mike on a regular basis. Mike does a great job placing people who need placement at the proper level of care and finding solutions to do that. I can give you great legal advice on how to protect assets, activate benefits. I know the rule systems in and out, but Mike is plugged into, as much as I’m plugged in the legal side, I just imagine him, and this is pretty much true I think, pulling up this database of every assisted living, nursing home facility, independent living facility, every place possible around and knowing exactly what vacancies are there, and you’re able to match up the needs of the client with the proper care facility, right?

Mike Mannion:             We listen a lot, Greg. Once we understand what the client’s needs are and what the family’s desires are and preferably what the client’s backgrounds are so we can match them up effectively with the right communities. We sometimes don’t have all the listings of where vacancies are because things change so quickly, but we do know the tenure of the staff of the different communities and facilities in the area. We know what they offer, what they don’t offer. We know which ones speak different languages, which ones don’t. So we’re able to, once we listen and understand what the client is looking for and needs, we have a high batting average of connecting them with the right solution.

Greg McIntyre:             I believe that. I mean Mike goes after his job with a tenacity that you rarely see and it takes a level of care to do that. And I trust that when I hand a client off to you that you’re going to work with them and it’s going to be seamless. We’re both going to work hard on both of our respective sides.

Mike Mannion:             Correct.

Greg McIntyre:             That works out really well for the family.

Mike Mannion:             Well, it is both. Certainly, we can’t be combating each other. That doesn’t help the family at all. They’re already under a level of duress. So the intent here is to make it as clean and smooth, and de-stress as much as possible, but still be very honest and truthful and give them good counsel. I think it has worked very well between us and it certainly is our goal and our objective without a doubt.

Greg McIntyre:             And what I like is that you’re not scared to roll up your sleeves and and do the tough work.

Mike Mannion:             Yeah, we like it.

Greg McIntyre:             Yeah, yeah.

Mike Mannion:             [Crosstalk 00:04:52], but we like it.

Greg McIntyre:             Well, oddly enough, some people don’t.

Mike Mannion:             No, I know. We are different. We know that, but that’s okay. We lived it with our parents, both sets of parents. We understand the stress and duress, and we understand that the answers aren’t simply out there on the internet. We’re feet on the ground. We’re local. We’re in these communities. We talk to people face to face, and we’re able to discern and provide solutions that make sense, financially, emotionally, environmentally, it just makes sense for the families and for clients.

Greg McIntyre:             Sure. And we’ve worked together not on just benefits cases and placement needs right now, but also in guardianship situations where there might need to be a move or to find another facility with the condition of a case, and we’ve been successful. I think that was one of the toughest cases I’ve had lately and you really helped me immensely.

Mike Mannion:             I don’t know how much I helped you. I know you work very hard on it and I know the family is incredibly pleased with the results, and hats off to you.

Greg McIntyre:             Well, thanks. Brenton, do you have any questions for Mike?

Brenton Begley:            Yeah, yeah, I do. I’m curious, Mike, what are some of the biggest challenges that you guys face in looking for placement for an individual and getting him placed?

Mike Mannion:             Oh, well, Brenton, I will say the biggest challenge is what the clients want and need often doesn’t match their financial capabilities. That’s probably the number one thing comes up as often as not all the time. That’s a big deal. Quite frankly, that’s where we use you guys to help us sort, close that gap and find solutions and protect the assets as well as getting to help the need.

Mike Mannion:             The second thing is family dynamics. When you have a situation whether mom or dad or even a spouse with children, the family dynamics can be challenging and we have to listen. We have to understand and sometimes, we have to be the bad guy at the table with the family and we can say things other family members can’t, but we don’t dare do that until we fully understand it.

Brenton Begley:            Right, right. So in this line of work, you hear a lot of things and you hear a lot … Well, me and Greg like to call it street law, but I guess what you would call the stereotypes about your line of work, right? We have stereotypes about our line of work. You probably have stereotypes about your line of work [crosstalk 00:07:14].

Greg McIntyre:             Yes, street lawyers like [inaudible 00:07:17].

Brenton Begley:            Yeah, street lawyers.

Greg McIntyre:             Practicing criminal law, it’d be like jailhouse lawyers.

Brenton Begley:            Yeah, yeah, exactly.

Greg McIntyre:             People who are always there, they know everything, right?

Brenton Begley:            Right, right.

Greg McIntyre:             And you kind of trust them, but you’re not sure. And it’s like, “Yeah, well, I heard this and this person keeps telling me this.”

Brenton Begley:            Right.

Greg McIntyre:             And sometimes when you listen too much to those people, it can get you in trouble ’cause it can limit what you think your options are and [inaudible 00:07:44] problem, yeah.

Brenton Begley:            Yeah. And I mean those people I feel like are out there with regard to nursing homes, assisted living, that sort of placement, there are stereotypes out there. So can you talk about some of those stereotypes and whether or not they hold any weight?

Mike Mannion:             Sure. The biggest, most obvious one, you probably hear this a lot, is that Medicare will cover the expense. Now Medicare does not cover longterm care and that’s something that-

Greg McIntyre:             You mean Medicare doesn’t pay for longterm care?

Mike Mannion:             Believe it or not, it doesn’t. It is one of those myths.

Brenton Begley:            Right.

Mike Mannion:             It’s broadly accepted and embraced, but it’s not true. The idea of assisted living community is the same as a nursing facility. Not true. But that’s okay. We find that families going through this, they only go through it for the first time so we don’t expect them to know that. We expect to be able to sit down and explain and decipher all that. But we ask a lot of questions to make sure we know where the myths are that they’re latching onto so we don’t have things come up later on in our work with the family that creates a yield or a stop sign.

Mike Mannion:             So two of the biggest one is they think Medicare is going to cover the expense and that there is no difference between assisted living communities and skilled nursing facilities. They think of the old nursing homes, the old retirement homes. That’s largely not a true scenario for most of my clients.

Brenton Begley:            Right. You bring up the differences between the level of care and as I’ve seen, I mean I’ve been in a few nursing homes, assisted livings that there’s just a difference between the facility to facility, right? So what would you say the average quality of care is out there?

Mike Mannion:             Well, that’s a challenging question. Averages are dangerous, right? Overall, you’ve got a lot of well trained people taking care and providing care for the residents in these communities, in these facilities. Averages are just that. I think it is reflective of leadership of the communities and facilities. The leadership sets the tone of how well people perform their functions whether it be in this industry or other industries. So we stay very close to understanding who the leaderships may be, who’s filling those leadership roles in these communities and facilities, which gives us a higher level of confidence in our recommendations and counseling the clients.

Mike Mannion:             We counsel well over a hundred clients a year. And if you met one of my clients, you’ve met one of my clients.

Brenton Begley:            Right.

Mike Mannion:             Each one has unique needs and we love that. We embrace that. So we don’t jump in with assumptions. Every once in a while, I got to catch myself that I think I know the answer, but I just have to make sure I listen long enough and ask enough questions to make sure I’m not setting myself in a bad situation where I’m not the person I say I am.

Brenton Begley:            Right. Yeah, and that’s what I’ve found, too, is in working with people and in working with facilities is that they tend to provide a pretty high level of care and they do a good job. There’s well-trained people, people care. You always have these aberrant situations where you hear stories, right? But I would say that that’s more on the rare side from what I’ve been able to see. But the way to prevent that, right, is to use someone like you to make sure that the placement is right for them and their needs.

Mike Mannion:             Well, I agree and I think we’re seeing that. If we do our job well, the placement will have a much higher likelihood of being a good fit and a good experience for the whole family. But you got to do the homework. You got to understand what the family wants. I’d like to know what the background of the older adult is. Are they spiritual and religious? Do they like gardening? Do they like book clubs and reading?

Mike Mannion:             I had one woman that the challenge was that she was struggling with some dementia and she reverted back to her home language, which was Farsi.

Brenton Begley:            Wow.

Mike Mannion:             Wow. That was tough.

Greg McIntyre:             I don’t know Farsi.

Mike Mannion:             Yeah. So we finally found a community with a lot of work and a lot of research that had a full time nurse’s aid that spoke Farsi. Well, that made that whole connection work well for that family. She had to go a little further away from home than they wanted, but it was well worth the balance. That’s the kind of research that makes a difference.

Greg McIntyre:             They had to go to Farsi.

Mike Mannion:             They had to go Farsi.

Greg McIntyre:             Sorry. So no, but in all seriousness, this is a serious topic, but we need a little levity, right? So I agree that the quality of care is good. There’s a lot of people trying hard in the industry, even among different price ranges for facilities and even if it’s Medicaid versus private sometimes. And to that point, you help place people whether they’re coming out of pocket to pay private pay.

Mike Mannion:             Right.

Greg McIntyre:             Or you can even help if they are low on funds, they need to roll to a Medicaid option and maybe there needs to be placement right away because that’s an issue, right?

Mike Mannion:             Greg, you’re right and we worked on a few. And having that plan, I think that’s where you guys come in in a big way is having that roadmap, that runway so there’s not only just the immediate solution, but what’s it look like three months, six months, a year down the road, I think is pretty critical. If not, it just starts the whole stress and duress all over again, which is not fair to the family and it’s not ideal for the older adult seeking residency in one of these communities. So thinking it out, planning it out, having a plan and a way to get there is pretty critical. That’s the holistic approach we try to get to with help with you guys.

Greg McIntyre:             Yeah. And we talk about from an estate planning and overall perspective the plan ahead. We’d much rather you plan ahead, and I don’t mean five minutes ahead.

Mike Mannion:             Right.

Greg McIntyre:             Maybe years ahead would be great, right? Because sometimes, those who build a plan, plan to fail, which is some old saying that Ben Franklin re-coined in some quote book back in the day, but was originally some kind of … I traced it back to some philosopher or poet that was maybe ancient Greek or something like that. But yeah, planning ahead is best. So if you can do that on the elder law estate planning side, that’s great. If you can do that with longterm care insurance …

Mike Mannion:             That’s an option.

Greg McIntyre:             That’s great. If you could get with someone like you to think about those issues, but I mean couldn’t you give people a lot of insight?

Mike Mannion:             Absolutely.

Greg McIntyre:             You really could.

Mike Mannion:             We can share the stories and give the direction and connect people with the resources that might be useful to them.

Greg McIntyre:             You should do a seminar with me one day. I just made that connection.

Mike Mannion:             Yeah, absolutely.

Greg McIntyre:             I mean they would be great information, people needing that because people don’t understand, I don’t think people realize, families realize, the chances of needing some type of assisted living or nursing home care.

Mike Mannion:             Well, the numbers out there was 70% if you’re 65 and older at this point, roughly 70% of us will be needing some level of assisted care. And by the way, I know the data point I read recently was there were an estimate of 54% of that 70% do not have any plans in place at all.

Greg McIntyre:             Right, or not capable. Because as human beings, we are motivated by fear and pain, they’re our number one motivators. So it’s like right now, it’s happening right now, but to plan ahead is easier and better. So Mike, if someone needs to get in touch with you, how can they get in touch with you? I’m in Charlotte, North Carolina right now. Brenton’s not too far down the road, maybe 45 minutes down the road right now.

Brenton Begley:            That’s right.

Greg McIntyre:             And Mike, you’re also in Charlotte, Charlotte area.

Mike Mannion:             I’m in Charlotte. My office is in Charlotte, in South Park area, but we cover nine counties around that-

Greg McIntyre:             Cover nine counties around that-

Mike Mannion:             We do. Between my wife, myself, a couple care managers, we cover nine counties.

Greg McIntyre:             Sure. And how can people get in touch with your organization, you’re Senior Care Authority in Charlotte?

Mike Mannion:             We are. We’re in Charlotte and you just go to mike@seniorcareauthority.com, all one word.

Greg McIntyre:             So you email Mike there.

Mike Mannion:             That’s the easiest way. And phone number is (704)754-8754, and that number will reach us no matter what. It’ll reach myself or one of our team. It will go right into our voicemail and text, whatever works best for you. And if we for some reason none of us connected to the phone, I assure you you’ll get a response back the same day.

Greg McIntyre:             Absolutely. And we’ll put the number up on the screen so it’ll stay there for awhile and … So even though we’re talking locally today, Senior Care Authority as we said, Frank Samson founded it.

Mike Mannion:             Yeah.

Greg McIntyre:             He’s in California.

Mike Mannion:             He is.

Greg McIntyre:             We did the podcast, he called me from California to do the podcast.

Mike Mannion:             Correct.

Greg McIntyre:             So I have to believe there’s more Senior Care Authorities out there.

Mike Mannion:             There are about 50 of us and we go by a pretty high standard of ethics and integrity and training, and quite frankly, I have folks that are living here, but their children are … Like Seattle, Washington, I had one recently. So we helped that family manage from a distance. We have a placement going right now. A family here is placing a loved one up in Ohio. So we’re able to go across the country and soon [crosstalk 00:17:11] .

Greg McIntyre:             [Crosstalk 00:17:11].

Mike Mannion:             Yeah, absolutely and soon, believe it or not, we might actually be looking at Mexico and Canada before long.

Greg McIntyre:             Really? [Crosstalk 00:17:19].

Mike Mannion:             [Crosstalk 00:17:19]. We’re looking at it. Right now, it’s US.

Greg McIntyre:             Okay, okay. Great, great.

Brenton Begley:            And your licensed in Mexico?

Greg McIntyre:             Yes.

Mike Mannion:             That’s right.

Greg McIntyre:             So we’ll work on that, Brenton. We need to be [crosstalk 00:17:30], too.

Brenton Begley:            I’ll take the Mexican bar exam.

Greg McIntyre:             There you go.

Mike Mannion:             Yeah. What kind of bar would that be?

Greg McIntyre:             I don’t know. But I thank you for being on our show today, the Elder Law Report and Brenton, thanks for being on with us today and-

Brenton Begley:            Yeah. Great talking to you, Mike.

Greg McIntyre:             Yeah. And if you have any questions, call Mike at 704-754-8754, and he can help you whether you’re in the local Charlotte, North Carolina, South Carolina area.

Mike Mannion:             Right.

Greg McIntyre:             Or beyond, okay. And you could always I’m sure Google Senior Care Authority, okay, and get someone in your locale, but Mike can direct you. He can be a good resource for you to get to the right person and the right area in your state. So have a great day out there and we’ll keep bringing you great content every week with the Elder Law Report. See you, Brenton.

Mike Mannion:             Thank you.

Greg McIntyre:             All right. Play us out.


If you have any questions or want to learn more you may contact McIntyre Elder Law at: 704-749-9244 or online at mcelderlaw.com.

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