EPISODE 15 – Serving Seniors with Love – September 15, 2022

It is rare to find a senior living facility which serves in love. After all, without love, a senior community is just real estate without services. Listen to Sherry and Bart talk about senior communities and how special needs trusts can benefit their residents on the latest Vista Points podcast episode of Choose Your Path.


Greetings from our Middle Tennessee studio. Welcome to today’s Vista Points podcast, “Choose Your Path”, where the Vista Points staff are committed to improving the quality of life for people living with a disability.

I’m Bart, your podcast host. My role is to walk with you on this journey of discovering and using special needs trusts. If you’re listening to this podcast online, I want you to make the most of your experience.  We have a feature to help you understand the podcast. You can turn on closed captioning by clicking the C-C in the shadowed box on the video screen.

We address a variety of topics related to special needs trusts. Today, we continue educating you by interviewing business partners who also serve people living with disabilities, chronic illness and who have special needs.

Today, I am glad to welcome Sherry Coss with Goodworks Unlimited. I hear the family of Goodworks Unlimited serves its clients through love. I am intrigued and look forward to today’s conversation.

Bart: Hi Sherry. I’m happy to have you on Vista Points, Choose Your Path, podcast. I’ve heard so many good things about your organization and the good work it does. Let me introduce you to our listeners.

Sherry Coss is the Communication Manager at GoodWorks Unlimited, LLC. Sherry has more than           20-years of experience in the senior market. She has a wealth of knowledge in public relations, marketing, relationship-building, communications and social media. Sherry thrives in an environment which promotes creativity, planning and leadership. Her position gives her the opportunity to share information on the company’s plan, development, design, construction, management and operation of over 27 senior communities. Welcome, Sherry!

Sherry: Hi Bart. I am so happy to be part of Vista Points’ podcast and able to speak with you today. I have to tell you now; this is my first podcast interview I have ever done. So, take it easy on me.

Bart: Sherry, you’re gonna do a great job. Don’t worry about a thing. 

I understand your company is, for the most part, “family-owned and operated”. That’s really something special. I also know, from talking with Darlene Kemp – our Vista Points executive director, that the senior facilities your company has are unique in their resident character, regional and sub-regional culture, their property and staff. Would you enlighten our listeners on how each property is different and unique?

Sherry: I’ll be happy to, Bart. GoodWorks has a management philosophy that really focuses on its core critical attributes – Love and a high level of quality care. You know, our company philosophy states:

Without Love, a senior community is just real estate without services. 

Without Love, the business has no soul. 

Without Love, the staff just have jobs.

Love is really just not an idea of Good Works’ operations, it’s the core business. 

Now, the GoodWorks’ family has an extensive amount of experience in the senior community industry. Devotion and commitment are really what sets us apart from other senior companies. It’s our goal to provide the best possible care for our seniors who reside in our communities. You know, I have to say, we really enjoy what we do, and I hope our passion for the residents is contagious to others. 

Bart: Wow, Sherry! I do see a difference in the vision of your organization compared to other organizations. It must be a great place to work. Will you share a story about one of your company’s residences?

Sherry:  Well, it is truly a blessing to do what I do every day. The senior community is wonderful. You know, they deserve to have the utmost care, including independence, in their senior years. You know, not everyone needs 24-7 care, and we strive to provide programs and services for the residents to keep them active and healthy as they age. I mean, it’s what we all want! I do have a story that I’d like to share with the listeners and a better understanding of the care and love GoodWorks provides. We had a lady move from Wisconsin, as I like to say, to be near her family. She left her network of friends of over 40 years – she was shy – timid – and, just terrified. We asked one of our ambassadors within the community to invite her to lunch and other activities. And after several days I went up to her and I asked her how she was doing. Sorry, I get choked up. She said “I have found my wings here and I am ready to fly”. So that’s life changing to me.

Bart: I understand that your company’s facilities have independent care, assisted living and memory care options. Do all your facilities have each option?

Sherry: Well, we have senior communities in Kentucky and Tennessee. Our communities are kind of like a rainbow – some have continuum of care – some communities are memory care only and others provide independent care and villas. I think what really sets our company apart is the Executive Directors are empowered to make specific decisions for their location – so it’s not a “corporate” driven which is refreshing for our industry, quite frankly.

Bart: So all the decisions don’t have to go through you, necessarily.

Sherry: Absolutely not.

Bart: GoodWorks has so many facilities and so much to be proud of! You may know that Vista Points provides trustee services for people who are living with a physical, mental or intellectual disability. Many of our clients have dementia or Alzheimer’s. It’s nice to know that your facilities offer memory care services.

Sherry:  Absolutely Bart, so, please tell me a little bit more about special needs trusts that could benefit our clients. 

Bart: I’ll be happy to share that information with you, Sherry. When someone is needing to qualify or maintain their government benefits – such as SSI (Supplemental Security Income) and Medicaid, they are required by law to have only and up to $2,000 in assets. Many people know about this as the “spend down” plan.  Spend the money down. A federal law was passed back in 1993 that permits people to establish a special needs trust if they’re living with a disability. Individuals can put their assets in the trust that Vista Points manages, and then be able to qualify and maintain their government benefits. This gives the person, who we call the beneficiary, the ability to live a better quality of life. They have their government benefits, to be used for day-to-day expenses and healthcare. They also have their special needs trust money to be used for supplemental needs that their benefits don’t cover. 

Sherry: That is amazing. Bart, tell me how if one of our residents has Alzheimer’s how can a special needs trust help them?

Bart: Here are some examples, Sherry. The resident’s special needs trust can pay a room-differential each month. This means the person can live in a private room instead of a sharing room with another individual. The bill can be sent directly to Vista Points for consideration of payment each month. The special needs trust can also pay for other items or services the resident may need or want, such as clothing, beauty shop appointments, eye exams, hearing exams, over-the-counter medications and personal items and especially the non-medical care.

Sherry: Now, that’s impressive, Bart. I can definitely see what a benefit a special needs trust can be to our residents. Wow.

Bart: Thanks, Sherry. I bet you have residents and their families who do not know about special needs trusts. That brings me to another thing Vista Points does. We have people who go out and give presentations at various facilities and group meetings and special events. We want to create an awareness about special needs trusts, for families who are caregivers and anyone living with a disability.

Loved ones living with the disabilities who we serve can live anywhere in the United States, including at one of our GoodWorks Unlimited facilities. I have been sharing about special needs trusts, yet Sherry, it’s been so nice to learn about GoodWorks Unlimited and all of the facilities your company has. I also like that you have facilities in various states. I think your company philosophy is inspiring. Now, as we close this podcast, please give our listeners some closing thoughts.

Sherry: Well, I always say that everyone has a story of life. The generation I serve are to be valued – respected and loved. You know, they are a blessing in my life every day, and I am honored to work with a company that does the right thing when no one’s looking. By that I mean it’s from the heart to provide fellowship, friendship and fun in the lives of those that we serve. Thank you so much for asking me to share our story.

Bart: Thank you, Sherry, for your time today and your commitment to all you serve. And thank you to our listeners for tuning in today’s episode of Choose Your Path, the Vista Points podcast. I encourage you to subscribe to our YouTube channel so you can be notified of our latest episodes which go live on the 1st and the 15th of every month. The Vista Points YouTube channel is named Vista Points SNT, that’s S-N-T as in special needs trust.

You can find past episodes on the YouTube channel. You can also find past episodes on the Vista Points website at vistapoints.org along with a transcript of each podcast. That website again is vistapoints-dot-O-R-G.

If you don’t already know, the episode topics are in response to listeners’ questions! If you haven’t asked your question yet, I encourage you to ask or share other concerns online or call us. When you’re online, visit our Facebook page named Vista-Points-Inc, that’s Vista-Points-I-N-C. While you’re there, you can send us a direct message, otherwise known as a D-M, by clicking on the Messenger button which looks like a sideways lightning bolt. For those who are comfortable, ask your questions via Facebook!

Or, voice your concern by calling the Vista Points office at 888-422-4076. That number again is 888-422-4076. Each of the Vista Points team wants to answer your questions and assist you in whatever way they can.

Now, enjoy the day with your loved one. Come back for more or look into past episodes of Choose Your Path. Regardless of where or when you find us, we walk beside you on your path. I look forward to our next steps together and to speaking with you soon.