The Business of Elderly Care with Annalee Rae Kruger, Care Right Inc.

May 10, 2023

For the sake of your relationship with your parents, their and your quality of life, and the well-being of your business, make sure that you are planning ahead when it comes to elderly care. According to research, 30% of family caregivers miss career opportunities or have to leave their businesses, 63% are paying for care in some way, and 42% have to reduce their own contributions to their portfolios or retirement plans. In this episode, Annalee Rae Kruger explains how you can proactively deal with the inevitable fact of aging!

About Annalee Rae Kruger:

For over 28 years, Annalee Rae Kruger has helped families navigate through aging, family caregiving, dementia progression, and care options. Everything Annalee does is with the mission of improving quality of life by helping families and their relatives age as successfully as possible. Her company, Care Right Inc., is a virtual, nationwide consultancy serving families across the US in developing customized Aging Strategies.

In her book, “The Invisible Patient,” Annalee draws upon her extensive expertise to shed light on the often overlooked aspect of self-care for caregivers. Emphasizing the significance of implementing an Aging Plan, she guides readers in alleviating financial burdens and preventing burnout. This invaluable resource equips caregivers with the tools and knowledge needed to prioritize their own well-being while ensuring the best possible care for their loved ones.

Episode highlights:

  • Starting and running a business is a time-consuming endeavor, so if you want to become an entrepreneur, ensure that you are passionate about the work you are going to be immersing yourself in. Annalee always felt a connection with elderly people, and prior to founding Care Right Inc., she worked for many years in the corporate senior care space.  (02:59)
  • Don’t only take action when a crisis occurs in your business. Be proactive and put plans in place so that you don’t have to scramble when things take a wrong turn. 92% of families come to Care Right during a crisis, but if they came ahead of time, they would spend less, ensure better quality care for their elderly loved ones, and decrease their own levels of stress. (08:15)
  • A big part of Annalee’s job is to educate families about the aging process, what to expect, and how to plan for it. Education is a vital part of any business. Educating your customers about the pain points that your business is solving will help to build trust and subsequently convert them into paying clients. (16:23)

Annalee’s best advice for entrepreneurs:

“Just like we put a business plan in place as a business owner or entrepreneur, we need to put a plan in place for our parents too, with our parents’ input preferably, before they are in that crisis mode.” (25:17)

Resources Mentioned:

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Affiliate Disclaimer: Please note that this episode contains affiliate links, and if you make a purchase through those links, we may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.


[00:01:41] A.J. Lawrence: Annalee has this great background that I really like because she was in social services and then kind of saw that it wasn’t quite where she wanted to go and created a company. Having dabbled in not-for-profit work in my own past, I always love talking with people who have had that early experience and then kind of created for-profit entrepreneurial efforts because it’s not that not-for-profit is not good, it’s just sometimes it gets very stilted. And when someone can create a for-profit capability that services that, I always find it very interesting. So, hey, why don’t we just go talk with Annalee.

[00:02:20] Hello Annalee. How are you today?

[00:02:23] Annalee Rae Kruger: I’m great, thanks A.J. I think that’s the best intro I’ve ever had and I do a lot of podcasts.

[00:02:31] A.J. Lawrence: Well cool. We’re experimenting with it because I think it’s kind of cool sometimes to just riff out of a little bit into like that transition that got you to being an entrepreneur. Why don’t we just talk quickly about that. What made you go from the corporate world in social services, which having talked of other people who done corporate social services. I know it can sometimes be a little frustrating.

[00:02:58] Annalee Rae Kruger: That’s an easy question. So I’ve always worked in that senior care space, like literally my whole life cuz my grandparents lived with us when we were children. I was a candy striper back when that was still a thing.

[00:03:13] A.J. Lawrence: Yep.

[00:03:13] Annalee Rae Kruger: It’s always been long-term care though, like nursing homes and Alzheimer’s units. So like as a child always worked with the elderly cuz that’s just like my group of people that I really click with. Once I got my social work degree, I worked in long-term care, continuing care retirement communities that have all of the different levels of care, like independent, all the way down to skilled nursing.

[00:03:35] And part of my job as a social worker, and keep in mind this is 30 years ago, so three decades ago.

[00:03:41] A.J. Lawrence: Mm-hmm.

[00:03:41] Annalee Rae Kruger: One person was responsible for like multiple roles. Now it’s very different, one person is assigned to each level of care. But back then it wasn’t that way at all. But part of my job was always doing tours, so stressed out adult kids would come in because mom’s in the hospital. She’s got a broken hip, she’s the caregiver to dad with dementia. Now the kids are freaked out because they’re like, Oh, the hospital said they’re discharging mom tomorrow and they gave us this whole list of nursing homes and rehab centers that we’re supposed to tour and find one for mom to go into.

[00:04:16] The tour would only take about an hour but I was spending two and three hours at a time with each family because the kids had no idea what questions to ask during the tour, what to look for. When I would ask them if they were the power of attorney or does your mom have a living will? Does she have long-term care insurance? The questions or the answers were always I don’t know.

[00:04:39] Our family doesn’t talk about stuff like this. And so there was this teeny tiny percent of adult kids who would say, yeah, I saw the writing on the wall that mom wasn’t doing well. But when I tried to talk to her about what’s going on, she gave me so much pushback that I quit trying.

[00:04:56] So 18 years of the same dilemma, right? Adult kids getting thrust into the decision making responsibility for aging parents, and they have no idea about what their parents have in order. They don’t have any of these documents, like the power of attorney, at their fingertips. They don’t know what Medicare will pay for. They don’t know anything about long-term care. They don’t understand dementia. They don’t understand aging, any of that stuff. So that’s why I spent so much time with them.

[00:05:25] So when you ask why I left being an employee with a regular paycheck to start my own company, it’s because I spent too much time with the families and I kept getting written up by my boss. And so I was literally on the verge of getting fired because I was spending much time with them. Right?

[00:05:43] So that’s the long-winded answer of why did I leave corporate America. Because I was frustrated, because these families, I mean, it’s shameful and despicable that the healthcare system allows families and seniors to fall through the cracks. And no one talks about putting an aging plan in place, and that’s why they all fail.

[00:06:02] That’s why family relationships nose dive. You would hope that the aging process brings families together and that they would work as a team and that they would have the same goals in mind for their parents. But that’s just simply not how it goes when you don’t have an aging plan and your family hasn’t had these types of conversations about the what when’s of aging.

[00:06:23] So that’s why I left corporate America. I wanted to be able to spend the time with my families that I know that they need and I wanted them to be able to make informed decisions. And if you’ve ever had a hospital experience with your parents, that social worker or that case manager, they have like five minutes to assess and then figure out what they’re going to do to discharge your loved one. There’s no thorough background, like how are you doing at home? There’s nothing thorough to make sure that these families, once they leave the hospital, that they’re gonna be continually successful.

[00:06:57] That’s why I started my own company, is to give these families the time and the attention and the dignity and the respect that they deserve, so that they can make informed decisions.

[00:07:07] A.J. Lawrence: Well, you transitioned, I’m gonna say more than 10+ years ago. Let’s talk a little bit about the type of families you’re working with.

[00:07:15] Who are your typical type of customers because you know here on the show, the audience it’s like us you know entrepreneurs sort of on this journey. And it would be kind of interesting, I think, for the audience to hear some of the people that you work with, and then let’s kinda transition into what you do and maybe talk about some specifics that entrepreneurs could look for around this.

[00:07:40] Annalee Rae Kruger: So two things. Number one, I built the business with the mindset and the mission to help these families plan ahead, and let’s start talking about the what ones proactively versus in crisis mode. Because my entire career before that was all crisis management with these families. When I built my business, it was with a clearly very romantic idea that I would be able to change the world and somehow get the attention of adult kids while their parents are still doing relatively well. So that we could put a proper aging plan in place.

[00:08:15] But the reality is 92% of my families come to me in crisis where there’s been a hospitalization or a fall, or a mom died and she’s the caregiver to dad with dementia. We don’t know what to do. Or the family relationships are so strained and damaged that I’m doing family mediation with them so that then we can figure out what to do with mom and dad.

[00:08:37] So my ideal clients would be those that are starting to see the warning signs that their parents are not doing well at home, and who obviously have the means financially to pay for the services that we offer.

[00:08:52] A.J. Lawrence: Just to quickly kind of jump into that, given that so many are more of like, Oops, which being reactionary unfortunately is pretty common. That’s one of the things we talk about, getting a little bit ahead and being a little bit more deliberate. Let’s talk about sort of that difference between even a little bit earlier planning versus caught in the moment. What is the differences of outcome? Effort? What are we looking at here?

[00:09:17] Annalee Rae Kruger: Yeah. Families, because we facilitate the family meetings, we have a whole process that we use to, okay, where are things at with this? What do your parents have for finances? Who’s the financial power of attorney? What do they have in place? Do they have long-term care insurance? Is your dad a vet? All that kind of stuff.

[00:09:34] So we have a whole system that we use. And so when we’re meeting with families who are proactive, those family meetings, there’s laughter, there’s joy, there’s joking back and forth. Family meetings with those families that are in crisis or are burned out family caregivers, there’s arguing, there’s fighting, there’s name calling, there’s swearing, there’s tears. There’s people that sometimes get so angry that they hang up on Zoom and then they come back in in 10 minutes when they cool down.

[00:10:05] So just from an energy perspective, the tone in the family meetings is much more upbeat and positive in a proactive stance. From a financial perspective, it’s obviously a lot more expensive when people choose to wait until they’re in crisis mode, and then their emotions are high. Quality options are very limited for their parents, and we’re doing it on nights and weekends and holidays because they chose to wait. Right?

[00:10:32] And then, so the fee is double. Just like if you ignore the signs that your air conditioner is making noise, when is it gonna go out? It’s gonna go out over the 4th of July weekend when it’s the hottest. And it’s gonna be expensive to fix that on a weekend because they chose to ignore the signs of the air conditioner not working properly.

[00:10:52] From a health perspective, from a quality care perspective, you can’t expect to get good quality care options when you choose to wait until you’re in crisis mode. So for example, we’ll just start with an example of a hospital stay. If your dad has a stroke, for example, and he’s the caregiver to your mom with dementia, now you’ve got two aging parents in crisis. Right?

[00:11:18] Because dad needs to be at the hospital cuz he just had a major stroke. And the doctor is gonna ask you, so who’s the power of attorney? What are we supposed to do with your dad because he can’t respond. But you also now realize that mom is really demented. And maybe the kids didn’t know that because they just assumed that things are going okay with mom and dad at home.

[00:11:37] But now that dad’s in the hospital and the kids fly to wherever mom and dad live, and they’re like, holy cow. We didn’t know that Mom was so demented. She’s not taking her pills. She’s wandering out of the house. She doesn’t recognize who we are. She’s not bathing. She’s getting feisty in the afternoon. And so that is a typical example of a crisis.

[00:11:58] How it works when there’s a crisis is, the type of care you get depends on where there’s an open bed. So with Dad having a major stroke, he’s gonna have to be in the hospital and get stabilized, but then he’s gonna end up in whatever facility has an open bed that accepts his insurance. That doesn’t mean that it’s gonna provide quality care, right?

[00:12:19] When the kids realize how demented mom is, when you’re looking at dementia care, mom clearly can’t stay at home by herself. And if you’re a business owner or you’re an employee, it’s not like you can just take unlimited time off before it affects your energy, your relationships, and your finances and your business, right?

[00:12:41] So now mom can’t stay by herself. She’s going to have to go into a memory care unit that she financially can qualify to get into. Physically qualify and cognitively qualify and behaviorally qualify. So what I mean by that is they have to be pre-assessed before they move into a care facility. You can’t just move into whichever one you want to because it’s close by.

[00:13:06] You actually have to be evaluated and pass that evaluation. So a lot of families don’t realize that they have to have a certain amount of money to be able to qualify to get into these facilities. You have to look at the state surveys to see what kind of care do they provide? Are they doing a good job or are they abusing their residents? Do they have an open bed?

[00:13:27] And what’s the bigger picture if mom needs memory care unit and dad needs a nursing home because now he’s so debilitated from the stroke? Now you are at the risk of having mom in one facility and dad in a totally different facility. How are they gonna see each other?

[00:13:43] A.J. Lawrence: Yeah, the later stages, just themselves. That’s a huge, huge transition. And this is probably not even close to the main important, but if you spend the time ahead planning for this, working with you, does that mean that not that you would have a care center already or would you have one on standby? What does that even mean? Like, okay, we’re planning, we’re ahead of time. We don know if something’s gonna happen with dad. Oh, we have an understanding there may be some stuff going with mom. If this happens, is it like insurance or what are we looking at here?

[00:14:16] Annalee Rae Kruger: So when we talk about an aging plan, and we have a variety of different packages of planning. Depending on how much money people wanna spend, put a plan in place, or if they feel like they have a quasi plan in place, then they wouldn’t need the whole comprehensive one. But, I’m here to tell you that I’ve yet to work with a family, since 2011 when I started my company, that actually has things in order and in order properly.

[00:14:42] So when we talk about an aging plan, it’s facilitating those family meetings so that people are on the same page with understanding aging. Because kids don’t understand why one doctor’s appointment can take all day. Well, because dad is [in] pain, he has shortness of breath, one doctor’s appointment can take all day. So you’d might as well just step away from your business for that whole day, right?

[00:15:06] So we educate our families about aging, about dementia, because they don’t understand dementia. They’re still trying to argue with their parent that has memory impairment. They don’t understand why dad has his days and nights mixed up or why he’s grabbing your wife’s bottom. They don’t understand the sexual behaviors that are frequent that occur with dementia.

[00:15:29] They also don’t understand Medicare, Medicaid, and how to pay for care. They use Medicare and Medicaid synonymously as if it’s the same program and it’s not. We also teach them what they need to know about, just preventative hospitalizations. Like urinary tract infections, what to look for, how to know that there’s a urinary tract infection brewing. Because that is the number one cause of ER visits with elderly people.

[00:15:57] A.J. Lawrence: Yeah.

[00:15:57] Annalee Rae Kruger: Right? Urinary tract infections and dehydration. So the more that we can educate the family, the better outcomes they’re going to have. We also educate the families about what are the differences in levels of care. Like what’s the difference between independent living and what’s the difference between assisted living, secured memory care vs alarmed memory care, palliative care, nursing homes, hospice.

[00:16:23] So it’s just like as a business owner, the more educated we are, the better outcomes we’ll have. We also educate our clients about what questions to ask and what to look for during a tour of a care community. Cause again, that’s one of the reasons I started my business, but also how to convince mom and dad that they need to have home care especially when we know that mom and dad’s goals are almost always the same.

[00:16:49] They wanna age in place at home, and they don’t wanna be a burden on their kids. Well, the kids’ goals are almost always the same responses the whole, my entire 30 year career, is we want mom and dad to be happy. We want them to be safe. We want them to have the best quality of life and the best quality of care possible.

[00:17:08] The only way to marry those two sets of goals, mom and dad’s goals, and the adult kids goals is to have an aging plan and start talking about the what when’s of aging.

[00:17:18] A.J. Lawrence: Yeah, the balancing points.

[00:17:20] Annalee Rae Kruger: The balancing, and then we plan for what kind of care they need now and what is their future care. Because no one calls me when things are going well, right? They don’t call me and say, Hey, I heard you on this podcast and things are going really great with my parents. No, like, bad things are already happening. They’re seeing either the red flags of their aging parents or they’re in full-blown crisis mode.

[00:17:42] And so we do all of the market research. We talk about where does it make sense for mom and dad to live. So for example, if mom and dad live in Tucson, Arizona, but their four kids live in four different states, who’s going to keep missing work?

[00:17:58] A.J. Lawrence: Yeah.

[00:17:59] Annalee Rae Kruger: Or who’s gonna keep stepping away from their business for two or three weeks at a time, every time there’s a problem?

[00:18:04] So would it maybe make more sense to relocate mom and dad closer to whomever has the most capacity to become an advocate and go with them to their doctor’s appointments? And so that’s a big piece of what kind of care do we need now? What do you wanna take off your caregiver plate? But what’s that big picture look like so that when aging in place at home isn’t feasible or safe or affordable, they’re already on the waiting list of two or three different care facilities.

[00:18:34] And that’s what we do with our families is we do all of the market research on which care facilities have what levels of care, how much money do you have to have to be able to move into it. There’s some facilities that you have to have a minimum of 10 million just to get in the front door, and then you still have the monthly cost of care.

[00:18:55] So we educate the families about how expensive care is and what to expect. So for example, I have clients that are paying 20 and $25,000 a month in home care because they wanna stay at home. Well, we’ll use my mom and dad for an example. My dad is 6’4". So when he had his stroke, thankfully he didn’t have any kind of long lingering effects by it because I was with him and I got him care immediately.

[00:19:23] But if he would need home care, he’s a tall guy, he would need two caregivers because he is too tall. These caregivers are short, little thing, dainty. They’re dainty.

[00:19:33] A.J. Lawrence: Usually, yeah.

[00:19:34] Annalee Rae Kruger: You don’t get two for the price of one, right? You don’t get two caregivers for the price of one. And so we educate families about just how much you can expect care to cost. And if there’s only this much money, say your parents only have like $500,000 for an example and there’s two of them and they’re in their seventies and they have a lifespan yet, we need to figure out, okay, what kind of care makes sense for them and where should they get the care?

[00:20:03] If they spend their nest egg on trying to stay at home with home care at 25 grand a month, that’s just for companions.

[00:20:10] A.J. Lawrence: Yeah.

[00:20:10] Annalee Rae Kruger: Then you still have to have the nurse come in and check on them and set up their medications and that’s usually $150-$200 an hour as well. So we educate our families about what to expect through that aging journey and how to pay for care, what the cost of care is going to be so that families can make informed decisions. And if they’re comfortable with spending all of their money on home care and work through all the money until it’s gone and then try to get into a facility, they’re going to find that they’re going to end up in a really terrible care facility and they won’t be able to stay together if they have two aging parents.

[00:20:49] The likelihood of a nursing home having two openings for two people on Medicaid is like zero. So we educate families about the here and the now, what to expect for care, and put that plan in place. We teach them how to do the tours. The whole point is just in case staying at home is no longer feasible or affordable, or they can’t find reliable workers, which is why people can’t stay at home forever. You can’t find reliable workers, so they end up in a care facility.

[00:21:23] A.J. Lawrence: With Care Right, is it just sort of an open consulting? Hey, let’s figure out what you need and do it. Or do you have different programs? What does this look like?

[00:21:32] Annalee Rae Kruger: We start with a consult over Zoom. When I built Care Right in 2011, by then, the profile of the family had already changed. Where 30 years ago kids lived down the street from their aging parents.

[00:21:44] A.J. Lawrence: Yeah.

[00:21:44] Annalee Rae Kruger: And I could just easily go to their house, right? But the profile of families isn’t like that anymore. So I went virtual right away. And so the first step is booking the consult call to say, okay, what’s keeping you up at night? What are you worried about? What kind of conversations have you had as a family about the what when’s? And then based on what the family talks about in that consult call, then we have different packages based on what they talk about.

[00:22:11] For example, some people, their family relationships are so strained that they just want family mediation. They want us to facilitate the family meetings. And then some families want us to just do that care matrix where we get the camera policy, the waiting list, how much money do you have to have to be able to move in there? We look at the state surveys, you know, we get all of the information together that families need to have so that they can then schedule the tours and make decisions. So it just depends on where they are in that journey.

[00:22:43] And then we also just have hourly consulting, an hourly consulting rate where it’s not planning, it’s just consulting. And then we also have the grab and go binder, which is an actual binder where it gets their important documents in order. So there’s 11 tabs in it. So like all things insurance, all these legal documents, what accounts and passwords, cause if you name that power of attorney for finances and you don’t know what accounts your parents have, and if you don’t know that they have long-term care insurance or VA benefits, if you don’t have all this penciled out and at your fingertips proactively, you’re gonna be doing all of this at the hospital bedside or at the graveside, and that’s not the best time to do all of this.

[00:23:23] A.J. Lawrence: All right. So someone comes to you, can’t control the health outcomes to a degree, feels more like what we’re talking about doing is putting a plan in place to the stress of the moment or the reaction in the moment doesn’t cause a worse situation.

[00:23:40] Even in just listening to this, besides being more and more worried about my own parents, it does remind me of situations in business where you’re not planning and you have to handle something. And one off situations usually you can handle but when things all happen at once, it becomes very difficult to have a good outcome.

[00:24:03] But it’s that same situation. If everything is happening at once, you’re not going to handle it well.

[00:24:10] Annalee Rae Kruger: You’re not. Because you’re gonna be scared and you’re gonna be overwhelmed, right? So think about it this way. So if anybody who’s listening to this podcast think about, if you got that phone call that dad had a stroke, how prepared are you? What conversations have you had as a family about the what when’s? Who’s gonna drop what they’re doing to go to the hospital and be his advocate? What care options are even available? Like what do your parents qualify for? What is the availability of care where they live?

[00:24:40] So for example, if they live in rural Iowa, there’s not a lot of care options there. What if your dad needs specialty stroke care and it’s not available in this area? So that’s why we talk about, let’s put that plan in place now and save yourselves the time, money, and the stress and the angst and the relationship resentment that happens when there’s ongoing crisis problems that families are in denial about. And then they’re trying to figure out what options are available to their family or their parents at the 11th hour, and they’re not going to have good quality care outcomes. Right?

[00:25:17] Just like we put a business plan in place as a business owner, as an entrepreneur, we need to put a plan in place for our parents too, with our parents’ input preferably before they’re in that crisis mode. And maybe dad can’t put any input into his aging plan cuz he had a major stroke or mom’s dementia progressed to the point where he can’t communicate.

[00:25:39] When you think about like, we’ll just use my family as an example. So I’m in Florida, my parents come down and stay with me in the winter instead of staying up north, right?

[00:25:48] So two weeks after my mom and dad got here, my mom fell, her leg buckled, and she fell against the washing machine and broke her shoulder. She has dementia, okay. My dad has been her primary caregiver. So long story short, she ends up in the hospital for two and a half weeks. Because the care in these hospitals and in the care facilities is pretty terrible, somebody has to be there all of the time to be an advocate.

[00:26:17] A.J. Lawrence: Yeah.

[00:26:17] Annalee Rae Kruger: We teach families how to be an advocate. Because you have to. Sixty-four percent of nursing home workers admitted to abusing and neglecting their residents in 2020.

[00:26:25] A.J. Lawrence: Yeah, the stats coming out are horrible right now.

[00:26:26] Annalee Rae Kruger: So we do in-person and virtual advocacy, and then we teach families how to be an advocate too. So anyway, the night that my mom is being discharged from the hospital into a skilled rehab because she needs rehab from being in the hospital bed for two and a half weeks. I’m getting her unpacked and I look over at my dad. He’s not communicating back to me when I’m like, Hey dad, we need to pick this up for mom’s room cuz she’s gonna be here over Christmas and stuff.

[00:26:54] And he’s not responding to me. So I look over it at him. He was having a stroke. He was unresponsive. So it’s just me down here by myself, right? My two siblings are up north. So all of this stuff happened and it was awful. It was awful for my parents. It was awful for me. But the value of having an aging plan for your parents is I already had all their living will, their power of attorney. I know what they already have in order. I already had a copy of their insurance cards. Cause the hospital needs that stuff. So as adult kids, you have to have all of this information because at some point you will get that call. So what happens then when someone’s in the hospital and they’re elderly?

[00:27:35] Especially when there’s a stroke or a broken bone, then you have the orthopedic appointments. You have a whole slew. They each had 18 follow up appointments that I needed to get them to and they’re all times two.

[00:27:47] A.J. Lawrence: Yeah.

[00:27:47] Annalee Rae Kruger: Right? And it’s just me. So I basically had to step away from my business for about three months because you go to the doctor appointment and then they wanna see you again in two weeks, and then this one wants to see you again in a month. By the time I made it through the whole cycle of doctor’s appointments for both of them, I stepped away from my business for three months. And then Covid hit.

[00:28:09] Now, I’m in a position where I could step away from my business because I have employees, I have systems in place, and I work virtually so I could even do work from the hospital and stuff like that when my parents were in the hospital.

[00:28:24] But my point is if we wouldn’t have had an aging plan, and those types of things happen all the time where both parents take ill or one’s in the hospital and then just gets out and then one goes back in.

[00:28:38] Or if I was married and had in-laws and then they had medical issues, you don’t know where to be. You don’t know how to spend your time because now you have up to four aging parents in and outta hospitals and needing your help and your attention. And even though parents don’t wanna rely on their kids, who does step in and help with it? It’s us. Right?

[00:28:59] And so my point in sharing my personal story is, this is the stuff that happens to families all of the time. Mom or dad or both have a medical crisis at the same time. A lot of the kids that call me, cause it’s the adult kids who call me for an aging plan cuz they’re like, I can’t keep missing work. I keep having to spend my own money on my parents. When you get that crisis call, airfare isn’t $69, that’s like $1200 one way.

[00:29:26] So all of this stuff is bound to happen, you might as well be prepared for it, right? Like we spend our whole life preparing for all sorts of things – what school we want our kids to go to, who we’re gonna marry, if we have a degree in something, we planned ahead for what college we need to get to and all that kinda stuff. So why would we be willy-nilly about the wellbeing of our own parents, but as a family in in general as well? And our energy, we have to safeguard our energy.

[00:29:53] A.J. Lawrence: It’s definitely over the past few years, the concepts of death doulas, aging place, palliative care. These are things that I think have been around but are becoming more part of the conversation. And just even thinking of learning how to become an advocate in the past I’ve invested in companies that focus purely on end of life advocacy programs, mostly from terminal care and the results were always great.

[00:30:21] There was more issues with operational structure in those businesses, so they didn’t go. But like the benefits to the patients were always so huge and you see this almost with any type of skilled advocacy. And I think we have this thing, well, it just happens. People get old and there’s a bad period at the end. And that’s not necessarily the case, but it does have that kind of common feeling.

[00:30:46] So as I’m listening to you break these things down, they’re like, okay, bad is gonna happen. Just is. But with the right type of understanding, advocacy, it reduces the sharp edge. It smooths out potential.

[00:30:59] Annalee Rae Kruger: Mm-hmm.

[00:31:00] A.J. Lawrence: It brings a little bit more breath into the process so you’re not as overwhelmed. And I’m sitting here literally, and my parents are generally okay, and I’m feeling right now very overwhelmed just talking about this. I could just imagine if something was happening, how difficult that really would be? Because I’m not even handling it well and all I’m doing is listening to you describe the situation. Interesting thing to learn right now.

[00:31:31] Annalee Rae Kruger: Well, there’s red flags that pretty much every single family seems to ignore, and because they don’t know what they don’t know, right? So red flags that your parents are not doing well are weight loss, that they’re not taking their medication. Like what system do they have in place to make sure that they’re taking their medication properly?

[00:31:51] How are they getting to their doctor’s appointments? What are they actually eating? Like when’s the last time you visited your parents and opened up the refrigerator to see what are they actually eating? Are they getting to the point where they’re not taking good care of themselves in their house? Do they have body odor? Does the house look unkempt?

[00:32:11] Those are all red flags that things are not going very well. That’s when you want to be proactive and say, you know, I love you guys, but we don’t know what we don’t know. We’re an uncharted territory here. We need to figure out a solution cause I want you to be safe and happy and have the best quality of life possible.

[00:32:33] I don’t know how to do that, but Care Right, that is what they do and let’s schedule a 30 minute consult and just see what they have to offer. You know? But too many people ignore the red flags or they ignore the red flags that mom, who’s the primary caregiver, they ignore the red flags that she’s burning out.

[00:32:51] We know that the primary caregiver has a 65% higher mortality rate because of the emotional and physical burden of taking care of their loved one. One thing people say, they’re like, oh, I’m so overwhelmed. Or like, this is like a depressing podcast, but it’s really not. It’s about if you wanna have your parents have the best quality outcomes and you wanna have the best type of relationship with your parents as they age, then let’s be proactive and let’s take the initiative and say, you know what? Let’s just lay out a plan so that when things go south, we know which home care company we’re gonna use.

[00:33:28] We know where mom and dad are gonna go for care. Our family has talked about this type of stuff. Switch the mindset from like, oh my gosh, this is overwhelming and depressing to like, if you wanna have the best quality of life, the best quality of care, and the best type of relationship with your family through the aging years, you have to have these conversations now. And you need to be putting a plan in place sooner rather than later. None of us come through this aging process unscathed, I promise you that.

[00:33:57] A.J. Lawrence: And it’s a one way road, at least for now.

[00:34:00] Annalee Rae Kruger: It’s a one way road. Yeah.

[00:34:01] A.J. Lawrence: But you know what is very interesting? All the other things that happen along with the complexities and the difficulties and the pain of what we’re discussing here, there’s also the actual physical care, the medical care going on at the same time.

[00:34:17] There’s the financial environment. So both end of life. I’m not so stuck into having school kids that my whole life is about a year. But by having this ability to help your parents or even just plan for yourself for that type of transition, for those types of situations, it opens up the door to end of life discussion, end of life planning, death, financial planning, all the other things that are involved that also are incredibly difficult.

[00:34:48] We’re not talking about Care Right, and what you do is really great, that’s sort of like the wound. But everything around it that’s also happening.

[00:34:56] Annalee Rae Kruger: Mm-hmm.

[00:34:57] A.J. Lawrence: If you’re not able to handle the core of the issue, you’re not gonna be able to handle all the other moving parts, or the degree of difficulty will increase. So I really like your approach and what you do to help people because all you’re doing is making a little bit, little, little, little, which greatly increases quality of life. Just those last bits of pieces, if they’re handled better, so much more.

[00:35:23] I do think of like grandparents I know that had well-planned situations and a grandmother who didn’t, and very much from financial reasons. My grandfather, yes, had a very hard last year, but almost to his very last day was there predominantly. And like literally spent the morning before he died with my son when he was just a little kid, when my son was just a couple of years old, and just how everyone was like, oh, that was so cool, so amazing.

[00:35:55] Where unfortunately on my maternal grandmother, no real financial resources. We were taking care of everything we could and all that, but it was very Ad hoc. Her last days were very, very painful. And just in thinking about there was financial, but there’s also just I think the planning that was done and just the consideration of the value of the planning is very different from just two sides of my own family.

[00:36:24] So thinking about that and thinking about being able to work with Care Right, I can see that just like, look, you buy insurance. You don’t expect to have it, but you know, something is gonna happen. So this is that kind of that same direction.

[00:36:37] Annalee Rae Kruger: Mm-hmm.

[00:36:38] A.J. Lawrence: Sorry, I’m trying to constantly put this in my own head cause it is very much the thing where you don’t wanna touch it, but just the improvement in outcome is so visibly strong. That advocacy, that ability to help is just such a strong benefit.

[00:36:53] Annalee Rae Kruger: Yeah. I can tell you that in 30 years of working with families, I’ve never, ever, ever had a family come back to me and say, gosh, Annalee, I feel so confident about decisions that we had to make on our own during the midst of a medical crisis. When emotions are high and time is limited, and you’re just like, holy cow, this is so foreign to me. I don’t know what to do. It’s not a good feeling. It’s very uncomfortable.

[00:37:20] And when we talk about like from a time commitment, the typical family caregiver is spending a minimum of 24 hours a week with just one aging parent. And it can become a full-time job if you don’t have enough supports in place and you don’t have a plan in place.

[00:37:37] So how long can you bear stepping away from your own business? How long comfortably can you step away? And eventually without a plan, family relationships will fall apart.

[00:37:48] And we know from a financial perspective, cuz I’ve worked with literally thousands of families in my career and they’ve all said, we love mom and dad. We just don’t know how to best help them through this aging journey. So I wrote a book called The Invisible Patient: The Emotional, Financial, and Physical Toll on Family Caregivers. And just to give your listeners a little bit of like statistical perspective, 46% of family caregivers have to work fewer hours.

[00:38:19] This is a study that was done in 2020 by Genworth. Thirty percent of family caregivers missed career opportunities or had to step away from their business, 63% of family caregivers are paying for their loved ones’ care needs in some way, whether it’s partial paying the home care companies or paying them for, their lifeline button, their fall button. They’re financially supporting their parents in some way, and 42% of family caregivers adult kids, had to reduce their own contributions to their portfolio for their own retirement plan because the cost of their parents care and all these emergency air flights and all of that got really expensive really quick.

[00:39:02] That’s great if you have the money to do that, but is that how you wanna spend your money? And also is your spouse on board with spending a fair of a big chunk of change on all things aging, simply because you don’t have a plan put together?

[00:39:18] A.J. Lawrence: Oh.

[00:39:20] Annalee Rae Kruger: Don’t look so tired. This is good.

[00:39:22] A.J. Lawrence: No, I mean this is. And I really do apologize to you also in interviewing you because I mean what you’re talking about is really smart and really cool. I’m just going through all the things, for my parents in-laws, et cetera. And like going ok, there’s a lot. So besides going and buying the book, how can people go find you and start a conversation with you?

[00:39:48] Annalee Rae Kruger: Yep, so they can actually go to my website, carerightinc.com. They can take a look and I’m actually in the midst of doing some updates to the website. I’m gonna add a few videos and stuff like that. But there’s a Contact us button and that’s where people can go and schedule their consult call with someone on my team. If they wanna work with me directly, I have my own separate calendar. But they can at least start by going to the Care Right, Inc. website and booking their 30 minute consult.

[00:40:23] You can also Google me, Annalee Kruger, Care Right Incorporated. I’m all over the internet in a good way because I do a lot of 8-10, 15 speaking engagements a month plus podcast plus direct consulting with a certain tier of clients. A lot of my clients are just very successful business owners, executives, celebrities, politicians, professional athletes, that’s kind of the tier of people that work directly with me because my rates are higher than working with my team.

[00:40:56] But we have packages and plans for pretty much any budget. And the book, the book itself is $20. So that could be a good starting point to say, oh my goodness. Let’s get prepared. We have solutions for any budget.

[00:41:10] I also have a free family caregiver private Facebook page, but it’s all about Care solutions. It’s not one of those caregiver pages where you just go and complain. It’s you have a problem? Let’s find a solution.

[00:41:25] A.J. Lawrence: We’ll make sure we put [that] in the show notes, in the email announcing it and our social. We’ll definitely put the thing in. If you are out listening to this and you are thinking about it, the concept of concierge senior care planning, and just being able to try to manage your own medical needs versus a concierge service. The consideration of that difference, I think, is really just very valuable. So go check out Care Right, and have a conversation with Annalee. I think it’s definitely worthwhile.

[00:41:56] Annalee Rae Kruger: Yeah.

[00:41:56] A.J. Lawrence: Annalee, thank you so much for coming on today. I really do appreciate it. Usually, I’m more animated, much more positive. It’s not that I’m not positive about what you’re doing, I am just feeling a little overwhelmed about the responsibility towards my parents. So thank you for kind of bringing that in.

[00:42:15] Annalee Rae Kruger: Yeah. Well, hopefully, the takeaway is schedule that complimentary consult. You’re only out half an hour. It’s free to do, it’s not free to us cause it’s our time, but if there’s one takeaway, don’t wait until you’re in crisis mode. But if you find that you’re in crisis mode, that’s the bulk of our clients that come to us. But I’d really love to be able to reach families proactively when things are still going relatively well, so that you can have the best possible family outcomes and business outcomes for your own selves too.

[00:42:47] A.J. Lawrence: Thank you so much for coming on the show.

[00:42:49] Annalee Rae Kruger: Thank you, A.J. I appreciate being on the podcast.

[00:42:52] A.J. Lawrence: This was very educational and very thought provoking so thank you, Annalee. Everyone, besides going off right now, go directly to Care Right and check it out and start giving some deep thought. Go to the website and sign up for our newsletter, beyond8figures.com, in that way when Annalee or other great people like Annalee come on the show, you’ll be the first person to know.

[00:43:15] Alright everyone. I hope you wonderful week. I’ll talk again with everyone soon. Goodbye everyone.

[00:43:26] This episode of Beyond 8 Figures is over, but your journey as an entrepreneur continues. So if we can help you with anything, please just let us know. And if you liked this episode, please share it with someone who might learn from it. Until next time, keep growing and find the joy in your journey. This is A.J., and I’ll be talking to you soon. Bye-bye.

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