PHOTS BY JODIE BRIM CREATIVE
Transitioning a loved one to senior living is never easy. Emotions are high and questions are many – but knowledge is power! Having experts available to lead you through an overwhelming sea of options can be life-changing, and there’s no better choice than CarePatrol of Winston-Salem.
Founded in 1993, CarePatrol employs 150 senior care advisors around the country, offering the best, most caring and realistic advice when your family conversations are turning to assisted living, independent living, memory care, skilled nursing care, or in-home care.
Gina Gordon and her husband purchased the Winston-Salem CarePatrol franchise in May of 2022, and opened for business in October. Coming from a 30-year career in healthcare, Gina was looking for an opportunity to serve the aging population, and circling back to a love of direct patient care. When she and her husband began the journey to business ownership, she found the established principles of CarePatrol a perfect fit.
It’s also a personal mission for Gina, who has been navigating – along with her mother and brother – her own father’s dementia diagnosis for several years.
“Talk about perspective,” she says. “There isn’t a day when I don’t experience an emotion or connection as I work with families. As a business owner and as a daughter, I have an opportunity to positively influence the narrative around aging and senior living, while advocating for our moms, dads, grandparents, friends, and neighbors.”
North Carolina is fortunate to have a strong CarePatrol presence, and the Winston-Salem team works closely with neighboring colleagues in Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill, Burlington/Greensboro, and Charlotte to stay up-to-date on senior living opportunities. With its 20-plus year reputation, the company’s mantra centers around a steadfast commitment to finding the most appropriate place for seniors to call home. Considering care needs, finances, and personal wishes, CarePatrol provides a more thoughtful and intentional transition.
“The decision to move a loved one to independent living, assisted living, or memory care comes with many emotions and questions,” Gina explains. “Families experience both fear and guilt, which can be difficult to overcome. They fear the unknown, based on stories of a friend’s family experience in the dreaded nursing home, and they feel guilt because a parent said years ago they never wanted to leave or sell their home.”
Once the CarePatrol team receives a referral for a new client, they personally meet with the senior and family members to determine the right living option. The most positive results always come when an individual’s personal needs and care needs are both met, instead of decisions based on location or appearance.
“An important part of my job is to know the history of all senior living options, and I take the responsibility of recommending a community very seriously,” says Gina. “I must be able to confidently say I would recommend a place for my own mom or dad before recommending it to someone else.”
Another vital component of transitioning to senior living is finances, and while not a popular topic of conversation, pre-planning will pay off. “Most communities are either private pay only or require a defined time period of private pay before accepting special assistance through Medicaid.,” Gina explains. “And Medicare does not pay anything for assisted living or memory care, which is shocking to most families.”
CarePatrol helps families understand the costs they face, and advises them with budget options. “My advice to anyone reading this article is to have the conversation now with loved ones about the costs associated with aging,” adds Gina. “Once I meet with a family, I can help identify living options that meet both care needs and budget. Much like purchasing a house, I schedule a tour with families to ensure they see and experience the community before making any decisions. I educate, coordinate, and guide families through the process, but it’s ultimately their personal decision. I also work closely with the community to ensure a smooth move-in process, and follow-up with families as well, to monitor their experience and progress.”
As the senior living industry continues to evolve, there is no “one size fits all” choice, which is why services like CarePatrol prove so valuable. Gina and the CarePatrol staff encourage families to stay open-minded and consider all options!
“There is a term used in the industry called ‘aging in place,’ with the goal at any phase in life being to thrive and live safely,” adds Gina. “As we age, the concept of aging in place begins with the question of ‘How long can I live at home and thrive with a high quality of life and live safely?’ When home is no longer a safe option, senior living communities in this area are committed to helping residents maintain as much independence as possible and advancing care services and resources, within a time frame most appropriate for each individual.”
You can reach Gina and CarePatrol of Winston-Salem at 844-218-2273, or online at CarePatrol.com. The staff serves Forsyth, Stokes, Surry, and Yadkin counties, and Gina’s services are free to families.