Working as a NaviGuide

with Barbara Rose,

NaviGuide, United Church Homes

This week on Ask a NaviGuide, host Michael Hughes welcomes Barbara Rose, one of our NaviGuides at United Church Homes. During the episode, Mike and Barbara discuss what it is like to work as a NaviGuide. The conversation includes topics such as the importance of listening, treating the patient how they want to be treated, tips for building a relationship with patience, what it takes to be a NaviGuide, and more.
Play Video


Highlights from this week’s conversation include:

  • What does a NaviGuide do? (1:19)
  • What does it take to be a NaviGuide? (2:46)
  • The importance of listening (6:00)
  • Tips of building a relationship with those in your care (8:25)
  • Diversity of patients and diversity of beliefs (13:34)
  • Treating people the way they want to be treated (16:07)


Abundant Aging is a podcast series presented by United Church Homes. These shows offer ideas, information, and inspiration on how to improve our lives as we grow older. To learn more and to subscribe to the show, visit


Michael Hughes 00:00
Hi everybody and welcome to Ask a NaviGuide and part of the Abundant Aging Podcast Series. I’m Mike, your host, and on this show we tackle subjects in aging and family caregiving that can be stressful to work through. And we do this with tips and advice from United Church Homes’ NaviGuide team. Our NaviGuides have decades of experience helping families work through these issues. And we hope that what we share on the show will help everyone everywhere age with abundance. Today, we’re lucky to have Barbara with us who will help us understand more about her role as a professional care manager, and more about her role as a NaviGuide. And this is for folks that may aspire to be a NaviGuide, that may be working with residents in senior living, affordable housing, that may be working to support people who are aging at home, either through home visits, or maybe you are phoning them up and checking in. So, hello Barbara

Barbara Rose 01:02
Hello, Michael, pleased to be here.

Michael Hughes 01:06
It’s great to see you again. All right. But before we get started, gotta read the statement. The opinions shared on this podcast are those who are amazing NaviGuide and are not meant to convey or take the place of oh, by the way, NaviGuide and host, not meant to convey nor take the place of clinical legal or other professional advice. So let’s start out. You’re a NaviGuide with United Church Homes. You are primarily involved in supporting two of our communities in Ohio. Can you really explain what you do? I mean, I think there are no typical days. But what are things that you often find yourself doing?

Barbara Rose 01:48
Well, I’ll just act like I’ve got a new resident. I get to know them by asking questions and listening to their answers thoroughly, to see what I can do to help them obtain a great quality of life while aging. And that is through different resources that you know, durable medical equipment, home, delivered meals, setting up appointments, discharging all sorts of things that, you know, I deal with bills also trying to get help to pay, or to set up payments, just numerous things. And I would say to anyone that likes helping people, this would be a great position for them. I love it.

Michael Hughes 02:46
You gotta you gotta be a doctor or a lawyer or, I mean, what does it take to be another guide?

Barbara Rose 02:55
Well, I think mainly it takes just caring about people, and trying to help them have a better life through resources.

Michael Hughes 03:07
So that’s the thing. I mean, I mean, it just seems like it’s just you’re just someone in the community that just your like someone’s like, sort of trusted friend that just knows all the community resources has been through a hospital discharge before. I mean, you know, I know that with me or my wife, or what have you, like, if we are going through a tough time through the first time that we have a loved one in the hospital? You know, we’ll try and find someone that’s been through it before and talk to them and kind of talk us down. So is that you?

Barbara Rose 03:43
Yeah, that would be us. We, we help with everything that we can possibly help to keep someone safe and in their home, and, you know, Medicare, Medicaid, medical equipment, doctor’s discharge, we hadn’t touched on this, Michael, but this is an important aspect of our position also is asking and guiding through getting power of attorney, Dawn, durable power of attorney, guardianship, all of these things. Sometimes one needs a little bit of guidance with that also. And yeah, I’ve got the papers in my office, I’ve helped many community people go through this also. And it’s not a scary process at all, and

Michael Hughes 04:44
will not to you but there’s so many of you who’s going through it the first time, you know, I mean, that can be kind of nerve wracking, but you put people at ease.

Barbara Rose 04:52
Well, that’s what we try to do because we want to take on a lot of these burdens that people don’t Know about that we can just navigate right through them, because we’ve done them we have the experience and the networking is there and, you know, like, worked with Legal Aid had clinics come in to get the power of attorney and that sort of thing done and to understand that if someone gives someone permission legally to be power of attorney that only is in place if they manually cannot do it. Because that’s, that’s an odd stickle. Well, well, when are they going to take over? Are they going to take all of my money? No, not unless you were at a mental capacity that you can no longer do that

Michael Hughes 05:49
Power of attorney also says your rights are what people can do and can’t do. Right?

Barbara Rose 05:56
Correct. Yes. Yeah. So that’s another aspect that we do. And that kind of goes along with the end of life. Things are right. Oh, so Right.

Michael Hughes 06:09
Yeah. You know, one of the things that you said, when you’re talking about the new client, and I think I’m just sort of inferring that this might be a pretty big fundamental skill that, quite frankly, I’m trying to work on, is listening, you said, listen, completely and fully to their responses when you ask them questions about themselves. Why is that so important?

Barbara Rose 06:35
Well, you want to be able to help that person, no one is the same. No one has the same needs or problems. Everyone is a different entity with different problems. And so you can’t. I mean, I can say, oh, yeah, I’ve done this in the past, but it’s never exactly the same. And that’s why it’s so important to listen, because otherwise, you don’t know what you need to do to help this person. So it all

Michael Hughes 07:12
really comes down to I mean, you’ve done these tasks before. But these issues are happening with people in their own way, as they deal with them. And they match it against all their own personal hopes and dreams and desires and things change. And I can’t do this, or I can’t do that. I mean, you’re really getting to know people as people, right?

Barbara Rose 07:37
Yeah, absolutely. That’s why I take it on like an extended family. And simply, and that’s good and bad. Because, yes, do Why worry about my residents after I go home at night? Yes, I do. Is that necessarily really healthy? No. But that’s just me. I get emotionally attached. And I think when a resident or a client knows that you genuinely care about them, that you’re not going to, I mean, mistakes happen, yes, but you’re not going to do anything. But to help them you don’t want to harm them in any way or guide them in the wrong direction.

Michael Hughes 08:28
Wow. So you have to click with them, right? You have to build that trust to you know, because it’s ongoing, it’s not just the first day they meet you and say hi, you want to build a good foundation for this relationship, which will go on for as long as they are in our service, or we have the privilege of serving them. You know, heavy duty stories come to mind. I guess I’ve sorted these continuing relationships.

Barbara Rose 08:58
Well, sure. I mean, it’s really easy to talk about hobbies, activities that they enjoy. I crochet. So for example, ESI me a resident and maybe we have that in common. So we just go off. What made you do this? Do you know how to do this stitch? Or something like that? I am a sports person so I can. I find that’s an easy way to click with males. I mean, I can talk about sports, and, uh, you know, I think my son was a 12 year wrestler in high school. So I mean, I can talk about any sport. My father always had a softball team. He sponsored a softball team. So I like to talk about things like that and if it interests them, there’s all kinds of little icebreakers that you can make, what kind of foods? Do you like it? Do you like to cook? What do I mean? Or what’s your specialty? What’s your favorite dish? What dish do you take to a potluck? You know, I mean, all kinds of things. I just find people so interesting to be done. But

Michael Hughes 10:23
body language plays a role here too, right? I mean, some people don’t want to share and, and so you’re probably picking up on a lot of that too, right?

Barbara Rose 10:31
Absolutely. You can, if you are talking about, well, we just talked about end of life issues, you can kind of tell if someone you know, they close up, or I don’t really want to talk about that, or the anxiety with the uncomfortable questions. But you can skirt around it, you know, maybe that’s something you want to think about. And we’ll readdress that in a couple weeks, or something like that, maybe you need to talk about that with your children, and see what their input is. But I’m not a bashful person. And I try to be respectful. But there’s really not a subject matter that, that I don’t say key pin talked about, if you chip in, in a positive way.

Michael Hughes 11:27
Yeah, you know, and I don’t surprised, I don’t consider myself fashionable, either. But there are actual people out there. And people that may, you know, it may take time to build a relationship with or, you know, even people that may want to engage, but they may be, you know, their hands may be shaking, or whatever they may be, you know, embarrassed to come out of the rooms or or invade? I don’t know. But I mean, when you encounter people in those situations, is it a longer game to build that relationship? I mean, you can’t build relationships right away with everybody.

Barbara Rose 12:06
Absolutely. You’re absolutely correct. I mean, I’ve had a resident that I had, I felt I had very little contact with, and her son passed. And that brought us very close. I mean, I would go up and check on her. Sometimes I would just hold her in my arms and let her cry. Because that’s what was needed at the time. And came to find out she had a stroke about a month ago. And her daughter took over taking care of her mother and moved her out of my facility to take care of her 24/7. But her daughter called me and was giving me the status because I had called her and left a message that I wanted to know how she was doing. And she goes, Mom just wanted me to tell you how much you meant to her when her son passed. And truly, Michael, I spent a minimal amount of time with her. And you just owe what you

Michael Hughes 13:20
thought was minimal, but just really meaningful to her.

Barbara Rose 13:23
Absolutely, and just made my heart swell. And I just thought, wow, that is a wonderful thing. I had no idea what an imprint I had on her just by holding her.

Michael Hughes 13:40
You know, the other thing that comes to mind is, you know, diversity around everything, you know, because people do have, you know, they will come into communities with cultural traditions, religious traditions, I know that we’re taught LGBTQ that, you know, we’re always going to ask someone if they have a partner, how is that person gonna be referred to? Is this your roommate or you tell you things like it’s like on their terms, but it’s almost like, once you know that stuff, you’re kind of like also an advocate for those things to be protected to Right.

Barbara Rose 14:15
Absolutely. Yes. And it comes naturally to me to be so protective of these people. I mean, because, you know, communities sometimes can be mean, and it’s so you do want to protect these people from bad comments and things like that. Of course, you can always do that. But I try my best to and you know, like I say, there is an emotional attachment and believe it’s a good thing. Well, it’s also

Michael Hughes 14:57
things like I mean, I think you mentioned in another podcast As you may have a resident whose religious observations did not include Christmas. Oh, you, would you? Can you tell that story a little bit? Sure.

Barbara Rose 15:09
I had a resident that is a Jehovah Witness. And so I just went up to her. And I just said, Now, I don’t want to be offensive in any way. But do you want me not to include you in the Christmas card list? Yes. And she said, Yes, thank you, and do not put my name on the calendar for my birthday, either, because we do not celebrate birthdays. And just those two little things, because no one else had ever taken the time due respect, what you know, and ask another question. And there, it might, on my part, be kind of uncomfortable, because I didn’t want to pry or put her in the spotlight. But afterward, she thanked me for it.

Michael Hughes 16:12
I know diversity, equity, and inclusion is so important for United Church homes, and we receive such great training on this. And one of the things that sticks in my head is the difference between the golden rule and the platinum rule where the golden rule is, you know, treating me as I would like to be treated, and the platinum rule is treating you how you want to be treated. And that really stuck with me, you know, and, and, and, you know, the stories you shared about, you know, we were doing prep for this around the resident who is the Jehovah’s Witness, and, you know, even leaves me to think about you know, if you see someone it, how do i pronounce your name, you know, like, I I have this bad habit of very quickly, like, like, your name is Barbara, if we get familiar, I might just stole your calling you a BB. But I wouldn’t ask your permission to call you that or ask if that’s okay. Because you know that those little things really matter when it comes to residents, right?

Barbara Rose 17:15
They absolutely do. And a lot of times what I’ll say, and United Church homes trained so on this was, Do you have a nickname? Is there a name that you go by? I got one resident, he goes by Baba. And if you call him by his name, hold that look at you, in God’s sake, what do you do now? Because he gets offended by his real name. Yes. And so everybody calls him Baba, his I, I got him Medicare Advantage plan. And I told the agent, I said, You better be furling Baba, or he’s not going to sign up. I can tell you that right now. And this same insurance agent just sent me a list of different qualifications. And it had this resident, Baba and his last name. And I thought, all right, you loud and clear, and you are taking care of my resident the way he wants to be taken. Gara Thank you.

Michael Hughes 18:28
That’s awesome. Well, I think that’s a great place to end. And I hope those tips are useful for people who are in a position like yours, people who aspire to be because it really just makes all the difference in quality of life for folks that we have the privilege to serve. So Barbara, thank you so much for being a guest on this episode of Ask and navigate and thank you the listener for listening to this episode of Ask and have a guide and it’s part of the abundant agent podcast series brought to you by United Church homes. If you like this show, please share and subscribe. We have a YouTube channel United Church homes is the name of that we have Instagram we have TikTok we have LinkedIn. Connect with us to learn more about these shows, these topics, these other topics, and we want to hear from you. You can hear all of our podcasts on abundant aging You can drop us a comment let us know what you liked. You didn’t like to show ideas, tips, your own thoughts, favorite recipes, we want to hear from you. For more information about United Church homes NaviGuide program. And especially if you want to become an a NaviGuide yourself, please visit For more information about United Church homes, visit If you’re listening to this past July of 2023 Try going to and hopefully our resource center will be up for you and to help family caregivers and anybody everywhere. They want to learn how to age with abundance and even share ideas with us. Certainly want to hear from you. Thanks for listening, and we’ll see you next time!