Steve Sabins Interview about Assisted Living - part 1

Posted by Kristina Law on Oct 6, 2014

In Steve's Column, Main

Steve Sabins Interview by BelAire on SoundCloud

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PART 2 is also available here

Jared: Hello and welcome to the Jared Law program. My first guest today is Steve Sabins. He’s the owner of Bel Aire Assisted Living, one of Utah’s premiere assisted living locations. This morning, Steve’s going to help us see if we can help Utah families better understand this industry and their options; since baby boomer’s need for assisted living and even nursing home care increases with each passing year. From assisted living to his knowledge of other areas of his industry including: independent living, nursing homes, as well as Home Health Care options. Steve Sabins isn’t just a successful industry veteran with an expanding business, but he’s also the current president of the Utah Assisted Living Association (UALA) and he serves as the vice chair of the Utah Health Facility Committee. Steve also sat on the Provo City Board of Adjustment for 17 years and the rest of his resume is too long to bother with so just know that he really knows his stuff. Let’s give a big warm welcome to Steve Sabins at Bel Aire Assisted Living. How are you doing this morning?

Steve: Great Jared, it’s good to be with you.

Jared: Well thank you. Steve, let’s just get started by seeing if we can help our listeners get to know you a little better. Why don’t you just tell us a little bit about your business as well as your work with the Utah Assisted Living Association?

Steve: In 1997, I became interested in housing for seniors and decided on assisted living and purchased my first property in Orem and by 1998 built our first facility, a small facility, and then went on to larger facilities like the one we have in American Fork now. I’ve been doing this for almost 16 years and I’ve seen a lot of people come through our system and hopefully have helped many of them and even more so, the families that end up being caregivers to our senior population throughout our communities. As far as the Assisted Living Association goes, it is actually an all volunteer organization. It is voted on by the assisted living members and it’s made up of a board of 15 members.

Jared: And by assisted living members, you’re speaking of the business owners who run these assisted living centers?

Steve: Or even some of their higher end employees: administrators, executive directors. People like that are commonly on the assisted living board of directors. I served as president in 2005-2006 and have been on the board since 2003 more or less, I think I took a year off somewhere in there. But went back as a member of the board a few years ago, and last year was elected to be president again for one more time. That is good for a year, so this 2014-2015 I will lead the board of directors for the association.

Jared: Sounds good. Well you’re definitely an expert and you’re going to definitely be able to help us with our goal here, to help Utahans understand your industry a little bit better. Now tell us the difference between assisted living, home health care, independent living, and nursing homes.

Steve: Okay, well let me do that in order. Let’s start with entry level, if you will. That’s the independent living sector and that’s made up of usually fairly large, very nice, apartment type buildings. Independent living is pretty much that. They have common dining, where there is a dining room and people will have meals and they’ll have an activities program, but other than that it’s fairly independent living. They pretty much are autonomous in their own apartments. And the facility itself does not have a care component to it. Moving on to the next level of care now, or the first level of care would be in assisted living, as far as an in-home group living environment. Assisted living has a care component to it. In Utah, we have two types of assisted living: type 1 and type 2 levels. Type 1 or the less acute needs where people are quite independent in their activities of daily living and they do need to be ambulatory on their own volition getting up, even using a walker, cane, or wheelchair, whatever device they want, but that they can do that on their own. When you cannot do that and you need a 1-person assist, then you most likely will be a type 2 resident. Those people usually have a more acute need for help with their activities of daily living. Assisted living also offers activities programs, a lot of good social involvement, and certainly meals and snacks throughout the day. Again, care when needed, as needed, as well as medication management.

Jared: Let me just interrupt you really briefly here. You said, “help with their daily living.” But obviously, people outside of the industry, our listeners, aren’t going to necessarily know what that means. So what kinds of things are you talking about them getting help for, so we can help our listeners who may have a parent or grandparent who needs some help maybe match up in their heads which type of living situation would be ideal?

Steve: Fair enough, when I talk about activities of daily living that can be for someone of any age. If you’re a 5 year old, your activities of daily living are you get up in the morning, eat breakfast, go to Kindergarten, come home in the afternoon and then you play. Likewise, when you’re 80 or 90 years old, you also have certain activities of daily living that you do. For some that are again, in that type-1 category, it may be that they just have no social life at home all by themselves or they see a house that needs to be cleaned all of the time, or laundry to do, cooking to do, yard that’s unkempt unlike when it used to be kept so nicely. These are all things that weigh on seniors. Sometimes it’s just for the social or the help in caring for and maintaining the household that they move into assisted living. And then there are some activities of daily living that can be anything from dressing, bathing, needing help in the bathroom, showering, medication management- again taking the right pills at the right time in the right way, those types of things are all what assisted living offers. Not only are there social programs but all types of care whether it’s just laundry, housekeeping, and meals are the main issue with someone and that helps them in some way. And then of course the care component that’s found in assisted living helps with everything from again helping someone ambulate from one point to the next, to all of those activities of the bathing, dressing, and so on.

Jared: Well that really helps people understand. I’ve been around the industry just long enough that I know what you’re talking about. But obviously our listeners, “help with the daily activities of life” that’s a very general description. Thanks for being more specific.

Steve: You also asked me about the two other levels of care, also home health care is a nice help, which is usually paid for through peoples Medicare health insurance, or their other health insurance that they may have. That can be done in their own home or if they do live in an assisted living facility, it can be in that home of theirs. So these medical professionals, physical therapists, can come in and help them with medical needs. Assisted living is not considered a medical type of care. Then you have skilled nursing facilities. In assisted living, we can give someone a 1-person assist so for whatever reason, if they become beyond a 1-person assist then we can’t retain them in this type of environment. Usually that means with ambulation. In other words, if it takes more than 1 person to help someone stand or move from one place to another, than there really more appropriate, or if their bed ridden, more appropriate for a skilled nursing facility.

Jared: Now that’s dictated by state regulations, is it not? It’s not something you have a choice in?

Steve: It is, it’s part of our assisted living rules and regulations. That’s basically stated, when you live in a type 1 facility, type 1 only facility, you must be ambulatory because of the way that the building is built. There aren’t fire protection systems in place in those buildings. They’re a little more residential: hall widths and so on. So you must be ambulatory to live in those facilities for health safety issues in case there is a fire, or need to evacuate. And then you have type 2 buildings that are built with very heavy fire suppression systems. In fact I always like to joke that we drowned in this building before we’d ever burn to death if a fire broke out. Again, type 2 buildings you can have a 1 person assist even in ambulation.

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PART 2 is also available here.