Main and Mulberry Podcast – Katie Kirkpatrick and Herbie Krisle, Page Robbins

Page Robbins Adult Day Center is a place where every day is better than the last. Hear from the organization’s Executive Director Herbie Krisle and its Development and Communications Director Katie Kirkpatrick who share just some of their experience managing an adult day center during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Transcript:

Anna Bell:
Hello and welcome to another episode of Main and Mulberry. I’m Anna Bell, and today I’m really excited to have with us two very special guests from Page Robin’s Adult Day Center in Collierville Tennessee. We have with us, the Executive Director, Herbie Krisle.

Herbie Krisle:
Hi, how are you, Anna? We’re so excited about being here.

AB:
Oh yes. So happy to have you, Ms. Herbie, and we also have the Development and Communications Director, Katie Kirkpatrick.

Katie Kirkpatrick:
Hey, we’re so glad to be here.

AB:
Wonderful. Ladies, thank you so much for taking the time to be with us today. We’re really excited to have you on. So Ms. Herbie, I’d love to start with you. Maybe you can help us better understand the Page Robbins organization. You are a nonprofit 501c3 in Collierville Tennessee, but you’re a little bit different than a assisted living facility or a nursing home. Can you kind of briefly tell us a little background on why Page Robins was founded and its mission today?

HK:
Sure. I’m happy to do that. Page Robbins was established in 1995 from a support group that was held at Collierville Methodist Church. And they realized from this caregiver support group that they needed an adult day program in our community. They already had six or eight people that needed the day program. And so they set about doing that, no nonprofit experience, and I think as Nancy Truett would say, they were too dumb to know that it wasn’t supposed to happen in just a few months, but it did. It happened very quickly, and they were able to do a remarkable thing. We serve individuals primarily with memory loss that really can’t stay at home alone by themselves, or would find themselves isolated or maybe at risk of falling while their loved ones are at work. So we are kind of the step in between home and a residential program. And it’s an amazing program. The things that we do are just amazing for the clients. The, you know, we sing and dance and do art. We have wonderful meals, they develop friendships. It’s just, it’s just grand for them. And our mission really is for them to have the best day ever, every day. And also for their caregivers, we want them to have the best day ever too. So it’s a, it’s a fun place to work.

AB:
Oh, I love hearing that, the best day ever. And these days we really need that encouragement. I love hearing that. That’s great. So Katie, you are the Development and Communications Director for Page Robbins. I’d love to know how this year, with the COVID-19 pandemic, you’ve had to really think outside the box in terms of, you know, effectively and safely communicating how Page Robbins is pivoted during this time. So how have you stayed connected with your volunteers?

KK:
Yeah, so the population that we serve are very vulnerable in this pandemic. So we’re doing everything that we can to make sure that they stay safe and healthy. So unfortunately, one of those things is that we aren’t allowing any volunteers or guests at the center right now, and we love our volunteers and miss them so, so much, we just, we want to see them. But for right now, we’re connecting virtually with our volunteers. So we’re doing things like hosting a virtual music hour. We have our friend Tony that does an acoustic guitar session. He does that about once a week. We have Veronica that plays the keyboard for us. She does like some really nice background music and our clients will do puzzles and games and things during that time. We have someone that does presentations like on a certain topic. And it’s just been really great to see them in that way. And we just think it’s super cool that we have the ability to connect with them in that way, because like I said, we miss them so much.

AB:
Oh, that’s so true. It’s so nice that we’re using technology to still stay connected with one another. That’s wonderful thing. A silver lining in all of this, isn’t it?

KK:
Yes, definitely.

AB:
So Ms. Herbie kind of back to you, Katie was talking about how this is a very sensitive time, you know, especially for our senior citizens, our elderly, we all understand the need to be hypersensitive to their needs of being safe. You know, I can relate with my grandmother, who’s been having a hard time not socializing with, with her friends and family members as she did, you know, prior to the pandemic. Maybe you can share with us a little bit how at Page Robbins, you guys are keeping your participants, their spirits lifted during these last few months.

HK:
Happy to do that. I’m going to sing Katie’s department’s, her, she and her coworkers’ praises. Before we reopened, we were actually sending daily messages about things that the end of the families could do at home as well. Virtual zoo tours or whatever it might be. So we were really communicating all those fun things, all while we were closed. But yes, we are having the happiest mask contest, trying to keep people in their masks, because as you might imagine, they can’t remember that there’s a reason that they need to wear that. And so we’re trying to do that. And our staff is very engaging and encouraging. We’ve changed and tightened up a few protocols that we had. We’ve always been really strong with cleaning and doing all of that, but we’ve maintained the social aspect of dining and allowing two people to dine at the same table where many of our colleagues across the country are having one person sit at the table alone and meals or social times. And so we had C & D Plastics here in Collierville create some sneeze guards for us, large to place in between the two people, so they can see and communicate. But if there were a sneeze or a cough or something of that nature, there would not be a contamination. So it all, I think, I think it falls back on all of our staff members who are diligent in providing this exceptional care and try to keep the energy level up. I was just answering another question. It asks about how I quantify the success. And I said, well, one way is the level of laughter that we hear in the, in the building. And I know there’s no way for us to really quantify that, but that’s what happens here. And I think many people perceived that this would be a sad and dreary place and we are not as sad and dreary place.

AB:
So great. That’s wonderful to hear. I love the idea of walking through the halls and hearing the laughter. That’s a good thing. That’s what we’re all looking for right now, a little bit of sunshine. And Katie speaking to, to that and keeping spirits lifted, what message have you been trying to communicate with your participants and your families during the last few months?

KK:
Well, one of our guiding principles at Page Robbins all the time is that we embrace joy in the moment, focusing, not on what has been lost, but focusing on what we still have and what we can still celebrate. And we do that all the time, but we think that…

AB:
That’s a beautiful message Katie. Say that again for us because that’s really sweet.

KK:
Yes, and we think that’s more important now than ever. So we’re doing everything we can. We may be wearing masks. We may be having to be really careful, but there are smiles behind the mask. Like Herbie said, there’s still joy here. We’re still having really great days. Because we’re always gonna embrace joy in the moment, no matter how terrible this situation may seem. So yeah, we’re still, we’re still a happy place, still having great days here.

AB:
That’s absolutely applicable to all of us, you know, enjoying being in the present. And I think if that’s one thing we keep hearing over and over again, is how we’ve been forced to kind of slow down a little bit. And so that, that is a wonderful thing. Katie, I would like to ask you too, in your opinion, how important has it been that socialization aspect for the elderly members in our community, you know, for our senior citizens to socialize with one another, how important is that in your opinion?

KK:
That’s so important for them. If we think about, so if I think about for the time that we were closed, and I was at home by myself, I was either working or on my off time, maybe sitting there watching TV alone. It wasn’t great for my mental health. It wasn’t great for my physical health. And that’s so much more the case for our seniors, for adults with memory loss. And that really affects them. And they do so much better when they’re around other people. And when they’re around people that are the same as them too. It just, it boosts their confidence. It helps keep them at the same level physically and mentally, and they just blossom. That’s one of the words that we use a lot here. So socialization is so very important for seniors and adults with memory loss.

AB:
I appreciate you sharing that with us. Thank you so much. Herbie, as we wrap things up for our listeners who might want to do something for special for your participants at Page Robbins, do you have an idea or two you might could share with us for them to show you some, some support?

HK:
Sure. As you mentioned at the beginning, we are a nonprofit agency and so we, we charge less than half of what it costs us to operate the facility. So we have to raise a lot of money. And so fundraising is very important to us. We also have wish list items on our website. I’ve been here 15 years and I’ve never purchased a roll of bathroom tissue. It has all come in through donations. So people could check our wish list for items that we need. And then I think you mentioned it if school groups or Scout groups want to make cards or something of that nature, we can’t have people in, but we can certainly take those kinds of cards and pass them around to our participants. We would need probably 35 would cover a day. So, and we’re celebrating, you may have done the math earlier, but we’re celebrating our 25th anniversary in September.

AB:
25! That’s a big number. That’s a big one.

HK:
It is. So what I encourage people to watch our social media to see some of the things that we’re going to be doing to celebrate that milestone.

AB:
Thank you so much for sharing that Herbie. That’s a, that’s a big birthday coming up. That’s good. Katie, you know, talking about events like that, are there plans to continue with the Page Robin’s Golf Classic event that a lot of people in Collierville know about it? Are there plans to continue with that event this fall?

KK:
Yes, we will be continuing with that event. We are working very closely with Windyke Country Club. And we’re working to make sure that that event, that we keep everyone socially distanced and safe, but we also have a great day of golf. So there are opportunities for hole sponsorships, and there are also opportunities for people to come play. It’s the first Thursday in October. So that’s October 8th and it’ll be at Windyke Country Club. And teams will be playing 12 minutes apart, have separate tee times. So that keeps everyone separate. But we’ll still be having a really great day of golf. That information is on our website. So you can go on there and sign up for a tee time and we would love to see you there.

AB:
Wonderful Katie. And tell us again, the website, just in case, so someone can jot it down really quickly.

KK:
It’s pagerobbins.org. You can also find us on Facebook and Instagram. We’re always posting funny things on there too.

AB:
Wonderful. Thank you, Katie Herbie, Katie, thank you so much for your time today. We sincerely appreciate your insight into the Page Robin’s Adult Day Center. So thank you so much. We wish you guys all the best.

HK:
Thank you. It’s been wonderful. And we’ll be glad when you can come and tour personally.

AB:
That’s right. Wonderful.

KK:
Yes. Thank you so much. We really, really appreciate this opportunity to be able to share. Yeah, it’s been great.

AB:
Awesome. Thank you ladies. We appreciate it. And for all of our listeners, we hope you’ve enjoyed this episode of Main and Mulberry until next time, I’m Anna Bell.

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