On Sunday, December 2, 2018, Mel McMahon and Terri Stacy spoke with Diana Beam of Keeping In Touch Solutions about how they can help you stay in touch with your elderly loved ones, the fight against loneliness, and some gift ideas for your loved ones!
Find the original post here: Indianaoriginals.com
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Mel McMahon: Welcome back to the first day on 93 WIBC. I’m Mel McMahon with Indiana Originals. Terri had to step out for a moment. It is great to be back with you. If you’re not familiar with Indiana Originals, we are simplifying your search for local through our app and our website indianaoriginals.com. All of our members, our businesses that are from Indiana, they’re headquartered here. They’re not part of an out-of-state franchise, or a national chain, and they are all locally owned and operated. So if you wanna support local, we’re trying to make it fast and convenient for you.
And we love featuring some of our members, especially ones doing things different, unique, and innovative. That’s who are Indiana Originals members are. And we have one on the phone with us today. Diana Beam of Keeping in Touch Solutions. Thank you so much for joining us this morning.
Diana Beam: Hi, thank you Mel
Mel McMahon: It is so great to have you on here. You have such a unique service. Offering daily phone calls to seniors, medicine reminders, helping them avoid scams. How did all of this get started?
Diana Beam: I grew up in this area. So I grew up with an attitude, you see a need and you fill it. It’s one of the things I noticed in doing the business that I have done in the past, was that nobody knows how to grow old. Aging parents, we don’t know how to get old, and our children don’t know how to handle us once we get old. So that’s why we have started the business we have today. But we don’t have a blueprint. We don’t have a guide to tell us how we’re suppose to behave, how we’re suppose to age. So we kind of have a void there. Change is very difficult for people as they grow old, and it’s also difficult for the children to see their parents grow old.
Mel McMahon: How has things changed over the years?
Diana Beam: Things have changed a great deal. We used to go home for lunch and check on grandma, when she was at home, and start lunch, and maybe do a load of laundry. But we don’t live nearby anymore. We live miles and miles apart. So it’s no longer over the river and through the woods to grandma’s house we go. It’s trains, planes, buses, hours in a car with little ones strapped in their car seat. But as children we worry. We worry about our elderly parents, whether they live 30 miles away or 350 miles away. We worry because they’re living alone. They may be isolated. They may be recuperating from an illness. Or they may be still living on the farm, and isolated and alone.
Mel McMahon: Well we often hear about loneliness and being in the right state of mind can have a huge effect on how well you take care of yourself. Right?
Diana Beam: I don’t know if you know this, but there’s several people out there in this world today who never talk to anybody all day. Loneliness is a real problem today among our senior communities.
Mel McMahon: Being a part of the sandwich generation. I know the guilt of trying to take care of my little one, trying to make sure that my dad is doing okay, especially after losing my mom this past May. And there’s a lot of guilt of not being able to do it all. What services does Keeping in Touch Solutions provide to help relieve some of that?
Diana Beam: We make the daily call for you. We know that you’re very busy, and you don’t have time to call every day, and to keep tabs on family like you would like to. So we make that call for you every day.
Mel McMahon: Okay. This may sound like a silly question, but what do you talk about?
Diana Beam: We make the call to say, “How are you doing? Are you taking your medications?” Because we know that people that are isolated and lonely sound very depressed. And with depression comes a lot of medical issues. So we want to keep in touch with them every day, if possible. And we know you’re too busy to do it. We don’t want you to feel guilty because this frees you up to talk when you can talk and be in a good time frame.
Mel McMahon: Who’s making these phone calls?
Diana Beam: All of our care callers are senior women themselves, or gentlemen. They’ve been trained to call your dad and to talk with him, and to check in on him to see if he’s taking his medications, what’s going on for the day. We keep them thinking forward rather than backward. And that’s a real issue in today’s world, because when we’re alone we tend to think about what happened yesterday rather than what we’re going to do today.
Mel McMahon: What happens to someone who has this phone call coming to them? How does that change things for them?
Diana Beam: It gives them hope. We know we make a difference in lives. I’m going to tell you a brief story. We have one family who had 7 children. And the 7 children could not agree on a day to call mom. Finally, one of the daughters called us and said, “Hey, can you do this?” So we call mom every day. First she was pretty unhappy with us because she thought her kids were pawning us off on her. So. But she eventually became a very good friend of people. She loved us. While she lived out of state, she still invited our care callers over for lunch, to come and see her, and to do things like that. So we become, maybe, their only contact for the day, or their safety net for them. They feel comfortable in talking to our care callers.
Mel McMahon: And I’m assuming all of these care callers are trained as well?
Diana Beam: Our care callers are taught to be respectful. And they are trained. There’s certain things we ask and certain things we don’t ask. But we do know a lot about them. And if there is an issue, or a problem, we let you know, as the daughter or the subscriber.
Mel McMahon: Diana Beam, Keeping in Touch Solutions, our guest right now. We’re gonna talk about scams here in just a little bit. But what are some of the everyday concerns we have for our loved ones that are home all by themselves?
Diana Beam: We’re really concerned about loneliness right now. It’s just a hard time of the year. Holidays are difficult for people who have had changes in their lives, right now. This may be their first holiday alone, without a loved one. Or someone has moved and the family isn’t there right now. Or they may be suffering from an illness that they haven’t had before. So, it’s really time to acknowledge our seniors, but also to appreciate where they are, and to kind of accept them.
Mel McMahon: Speaking of the holidays, what are some of the things that we can do for seniors this holiday season? Maybe it’s … not just a gift, maybe they’ve gotten everything that they could. But how can we make them feel special?
Diana Beam: The thing that seniors like the most is time and attention. And we hear all the time, “No more fruitcakes. No more bathrobes. No after shave lotion. I have a lifetime supply.” The one thing that they do love, any season, is attention and time. I will value time. They value time with their family. They value alone time. One of the things that we see that is very helpful is just saying every week, “I’m going to take you to go grocery shopping.” Or, “Every month I’m going to take you grocery shopping.” Or, “When it’s nice out I’m gonna clean your garage. I’m gonna clean the gutters. I’m gonna change your furnace filters.”
Or a lot of our younger families like to put together CD albums and albums of photos for the family. And some of them do history books on tapes for the family, and those are real precious memories, not only for the senior, but also for the children. So many times we see people do not have a good family history. We don’t know what grandma did or grandpa did. So it connects families when they have that history put together with the kids who’ve taken time to put it together and say, “This is Aunt Mable. This is Uncle Charlie. Uncle Charlie did this. Remember when they did that.” So those are meaningful things that we keep in our cherish bank of memories.
Mel McMahon: We’re speaking with Diana Beam of Keeping in Touch Solutions. Now, Diana, there’s a lot of scams going on, especially targeting seniors. What is a way that we can help educate these loved ones and help try to keep them safe?
Diana Beam: We have a special series, part of our services, it’s called Stop Senior Fraud. And we know that senior fraud is rampant. We have a service, really it’s just a common sense service, where seniors can sign up with us and we send them description dialogs to help them prevent things. People coming to the door or phone scams.
In fact, we started the service because of a lady who said, “Can you help me. My mom has been scammed and she didn’t know it.” She went to visit her mom, and the last day she was there they did the check book to get her mom up to date. And the daughter found there had been several, several withdraws. Large sums of money had been withdrawn, sent to different people. So the first thing we did was we talked to the mom. We said, “You know, here’s what you need to do. You just tell people you don’t handle it or can’t do this anymore, and you give them another number.”
So we serve as a clearing house for those who are real. So we send them a guide, and handbooks, all those little details to help them with phone scams, door-to-door scams, with online scams. Her parents were pretty trusting. They opened everything, and they opened their doors willingly. So we tell them, “The first thing you do is keep your screen doors locked and don’t let anybody in. In fact, don’t even answer the door if you don’t know them.”
So there are things we can do to help them. And that’s one of the services we provide is senior fraud alert.
Mel McMahon: Well Diana, it has been great to learn about everything that you are offering. Not only to the seniors, but to the people that love them and want to take care of them. How do we learn more about your organization and what you provide?
Diana Beam: Call us at 1-800-664-5541, or they can go to our website at keepingintouchsolutions.com.
Mel McMahon: And of course, you can find Keeping in Touch Solutions on indianaoriginals.com. Diana, thank you so much for your time today. I hope that this can help someone out there who is listening.
Diana Beam: I do too.
Mel McMahon: And a very merry Christmas to you.
Diana Beam: Merry Christmas to you and all our seniors out there.
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