Parents Are Hard To Raise® S03 Episode 112 Transcript
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Announcer [00:00:24] Diane and the crew are back on the road this week in front of a live and excited audience on the Parker campus in Highland, Park New Jersey, in the US.
[00:00:48] Join 180 million monthly subscribers who can now listen to Parents Are Hard To Raise® on Spotify.
[00:00:56] So what do you say folks. Let me hear you shout so loud I'll hear you in London.
Diane Berardi [00:01:13] Welcome to Parents Are Hard To Raise®. Helping families grow older together without losing their minds. I'm elder care expert Diane Berardi.
[00:01:21] And we are at the Parker organization and I just want to say, I'm so excited to be here. There's very few places that I visit that stand out. And I happened to walk into Parker in Monroe Township a few months ago, unannounced. I just I walked in and I asked if I can have a tour and Cindy Marceau came out and she told me all about Parker. We took a tour, and this is a place that shines. And she told me about all the locations you have and I said I want to see more. And so here we are.
[00:02:02] And we're going to be talking to Natalie Macaro who's the director of the adult day program. Welcome Natalie.
Natalie Macaro [00:02:10] Thank you.
[00:02:11] So tell us about what you do at Parker, every day.
[00:02:13] As a director of the Adult Day program I have the privilege and the honor of supporting seniors that live in the community by offering programs that are both medically and socially based, to support seniors living at home, with opportunities to connect to their peers, to participate in engaging activities, all while receiving some much needed health monitoring, connection to therapy services and also just to have a good fun day.
Diane Berardi [00:02:48] That's great. That's what's important. How did the the Adult Day start? Was it social medical or...
Natalie Macaro [00:02:56] Yes. So you have the opportunity to tour Monroe.
Diane Berardi [00:02:59] Yes.
Natalie Macaro [00:03:00] And Parker has been known for a very long time, since 1907, for providing quality residential services. And in the late 2000s we recognized that most seniors do want to live at home.
Diane Berardi [00:03:13] Yes.
[00:03:13] That would be my wish. That would be your wish. And we thought to ourselves, How can we package what we do best by offering it to seniors living in the community on a daily basis?
[00:03:24] So that was the introduction to a day program format. And because we do residential care, well, we started with a medical model program. And that started in 2008. And we quickly learned through that program how much seniors craved, needed and even thrived in our environments, not only from the health support but like I mentioned earlier, that connection to their peers and to other people.
Diane Berardi [00:03:49] Right.
Natalie Macaro [00:03:50] And so we also recognized, a little later, that there are some seniors who are just socially isolated and might not necessarily need all the health monitoring that we offer. So then we later opened a social modeled program in 2010, so we could meet the needs of both types of individuals.
Diane Berardi [00:04:08] So, for our audience who doesn't know the difference, I guess medical is? Is it for people who need medication throughout the day or the medical day care part?
Natalie Macaro [00:04:19] It can be. So you know medical programs like by definition often support seniors who may have a cognitive illness that they're managing, mostly Alzheimer's disease, or another form of dementia, where structure is so important and also safety and security. The other pieces we support in the medical program individuals who may have a functional limitation, people who may have recently had a stroke and their mobility is affected, but they still have and need those opportunities.
[00:04:49] And then the social model is designed really it's just activity based for individuals, who again, socially isolated, could go to their local senior center but really want more. They want more structure.
Diane Berardi [00:05:02] Right.
Natalie Macaro [00:05:02] They want the opportunity to not only have those activities but also have access to some of the amenities that are here on our campus, for example therapy and the fitness center.
Diane Berardi [00:05:12] Right. Right. And how do people get to your day care?
Natalie Macaro [00:05:17] So we do provide transportation.
Diane Berardi [00:05:18] And that's great.
Natalie Macaro [00:05:19] As long as individuals live within our service area. And we do provide that in the morning in the afternoon. We have some families who we've gotten creative with our transportation for those individuals who don't live within our service area we're able to pick those individuals up at their children's place of work.
Diane Berardi [00:05:37] Oh. Wow. That's perfect.
Natalie Macaro [00:05:38] If their work is located in our area we get very creative and we want to not deny somebody because of a lack of access to transportation.
Diane Berardi [00:05:46] Right. Yeah. And you provide... I was in the daycare and there was so much hustle and bustle, I guess a hot lunch for people. I saw artwork that people did. So you provide different activities?
Natalie Macaro [00:06:04] Exactly. So you know it just a little bit that I've shared you know we focused on some of that socialization in the medical piece but the programs do go for the duration of the day. So we offer our programs for example, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. to meet the needs of a working caregiver. So of course we provide a continental breakfast, a hot nutritious lunch and snacks all with the hopefully the expectation that the individuals will not only enjoy the meal but they'll enjoy the social aspects of the meal, eating with other individuals. We connect people throughout the day with other participants who have similar abilities and interests. We introduce, make those connection. And what we get to see as those who work the programs is relationships develop.
Diane Berardi [00:06:50] Right.
Natalie Macaro [00:06:51] You know our participants really looking out for one another. And they even come into us in groups and make recommendations, give us feedback, are involved in the activity planning, because we really want at the end of the day not only for their health needs to be met but for them to go home and be excited about coming again.
Diane Berardi [00:07:11] Yes. Oh my gosh. Do people come five days a week or...?
Natalie Macaro [00:07:18] It really depends. The majority of people I would say in the medical program become three to five days.
[00:07:23] Because they're managing some chronic illnesses at home, there is a little bit of a necessity there. And it's also based on affordability and the schedule of the caregiver. But we are very fortunate we're in Middlesex County. We have access to many grants that are available to individuals 60 years and older so we're able to connect our participants to those grants as well as offer some funding through other sources to make our program affordable.
Diane Berardi [00:07:50] That's perfect. There are so many people who would benefit from an adult day center that you see. One of the biggest things is someone sitting home and they're all alone and they're not eating. And then going to an adult day center and if you see someone even 3, 5 days a week sometimes the staff or other people notice something might be wrong with Mary. Where, maybe she lives alone and no one would ever notice.
Natalie Macaro [00:08:22] That's true.
Diane Berardi [00:08:22] So you watch out for each other.
Natalie Macaro [00:08:24] Exactly. The other nice thing you see is oftentimes you know as any of us when we join something new, we might be a little apprehensive. So some individuals will join maybe two days a week. Their families see the benefit they're receiving, that they have more energy when they get home. They're enthusiastic about the program. And then they start adding more days, because they see the value you get.
[00:08:46] When you said the word benefit, it made me think that, we often say in the day program that when we enroll one person we really enroll two. For the participant that comes those benefits we can see those. But for the family, being a caregiver is very taxing. A lot of support is needed. We do provide support groups one in the afternoon and one in the evening on a monthly basis to meet the needs of both our working caregivers and some of those that may not drive at night. But in addition to that, because support groups are not the right format for everyone, we have a quarterly family engagement programs where we invite all our families to come in and experience some of the activities of the day program with their loved ones, so that we can highlight the strengths that their loved one still has.
Diane Berardi [00:09:30] That's great. Yeah that's wonderful.
Natalie Macaro [00:09:32] And also give them the support in an indirect way. We also reach out to our families on a regular basis to give them updates but also to check in to see how things are going at home. As you mentioned, there are many times we only see individuals three days a week. And as a professional caregiver we often wonder, Well, what goes on the other four days.
Diane Berardi [00:09:52] Right. Exactly.
Natalie Macaro [00:09:52] And so we're able to really partner with the families and show them that we're in this together. There's no judgment. The work that they're doing at home is not always easy. And we hope that they feel comfortable enough to use this as a resource.
Diane Berardi [00:10:07] It's wonderful. I just love seeing the excitement and the people that attend. How many people do you have in the day program on a daily basis,would you say?
Natalie Macaro [00:10:20] So with the medical and the social programs, they are not together. They are... We do not as we would say commingle the groups. You know they have their own structure. So combined we see 60 seniors a day.
Diane Berardi [00:10:33] Wow. That's fantastic.
Natalie Macaro [00:10:35] Yes it is fantastic. And what's nice is that you know we continually get more calls and interest and it just shows that the program is so valuable and that they're hearing about it from other participants and local physicians are also hearing it from their patients. And so therefore we're getting a lot of calls.
Diane Berardi [00:10:56] Oh I'm sure you are. And if someone calls and wants to bring someone, can they come and try it out for the day? Your social program for instance.
Natalie Macaro [00:11:08] Exactly. So we often say to families, you know your loved one right. You're to come in and tour the program with your loved one. But we also recognize that some people want to see it first. And so we you know we will do that either way. And then we do invite them to come in and try a day. And that way the senior still feels like they have control over their own decision. You know and it's, come in, see if you feel comfortable, if you like it. The other part for a senior is a lot of them come in with the fear that is this one step closer to the nursing home.
Diane Berardi [00:11:38] Yeah.
Natalie Macaro [00:11:39] Is my family pulling the wool over my eyes? Is this something that they're not communicating directly to me? And I think once they come in, and to your point, they see the energy and the enthusiasm and they take part in activities and they meet people... And they go home right. They're willing to come back.
[00:11:56] To come back, yeah. And they know, yeah, it's safe.
Natalie Macaro [00:11:59] It's safe. Exactly.
[00:12:00] And I'm going home. Yeah. And you brought a special guest with you.
Natalie Macaro [00:12:04] I did.
[00:12:05] Yes. Leonard it's a pleasure to have you here.
Leonard [00:12:09] Thank you.
Diane Berardi [00:12:10] And you've been attending the day program.
Leonard [00:12:13] Yes, for almost three years now.
Diane Berardi [00:12:16] It's fantastic. How did you come about to come to Parker?
Leonard [00:12:21] I came as the result of a referral from rehab center, because I had recently had surgery and I needed care at home. And there was no one at home to care for me during the day. But it required the simplest task to be performed by me. But I needed the help to do certain things. To do almost everything. And the alternative... Not the alternative. The one step, the next step would be normally into a nursing home.
[00:12:57] And upon evaluation by my doctor and a social worker at the rehab center I was referred to Parker. And I've never regretted the referral.
Diane Berardi [00:13:10] I can tell. We were talking before the show. When you came, when you first came, were you skeptical?
[00:13:17] Mm hmm. Yes. [audience laughing]
Diane Berardi [00:13:19] Well it's different, right? It's something new.
Leonard [00:13:23] This is not a profile... I'm not a profile of everyone who comes the Parker. The man you see today is not the man that I was three years ago, when I weighed to hundred and one hundred and forty some odd pounds. And my hands were shaking. And I was apprehensive about everything. I thought that this was the beginning of the end. I didn't know that there could be a facility whereby you could go into it and spend the day and come home refreshed, and feel that you might be getting better. That what was told to you at an initial interview... Well, was a true or not. And I listened and I came in with an open mind and an open heart.
Diane Berardi [00:14:13] That's great.
Leonard [00:14:14] The receipt of the services at Park that were detailed to me at the initial interview. They were followed through by the staff. And it was the staff that convinced me that this was something needed and I could still remain at home, be picked up in the morning and come back in the afternoon.
[00:14:36] It's wonderful. And we are going to continue talking with Leonard at Parker. But first if you're a woman or there's a woman in your life, there's something you absolutely need to know.
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[00:18:07] Leonard. We were talking about when you first came to Parker and you were telling me that what people told you coming into Parker is exactly what you've been experiencing here. And I hear you're like the "president" of the Parker Day Care Center. [laughing]
Leonard [00:18:31] I'm a former social worker. Having had 30 plus years experience at the top end and at the bottom end, but not at the receiving end sure of a program.
[00:18:45] And when I came into to Parker I heard from the director. And I had a feeling that something would... There was something there for me. The "for me" was that I wouldn't have to be lonely during the day, when everyone was gone, and I'm looking at the four walls and talking to the dog.
[00:19:08] There was an acceptance by Staff, which seemed to be heartfelt, the moment I walked in the door. And that same feeling is there today, three years later. What I like. One of the things I like most about the Parker facility is that there is the opportunity for the recipients to participate in the day-to-day decisions.
[00:19:36] You can express yourself as to whether you like them or you don't like them. That's whether you like the menu or you don't like the menu or you don't like the person sitting next to you or you don't know. And you know that you're not confined forever, that you're there to the day you die.
[00:19:57] Your medical recommendations from your doctor is available and on record at Parker, so that if you have a disability or a diagnosis Parker knows about it the day you walk in. If you have a dietary need whether it's kosher or anything else it can be met. Your family is invited to participate in your care. And at some point if you're dissatisfied with your care, you can present it to the administration or you can tell your loved one. And when that loved one comes here to us it'll be listened to, because the program is directed by the people who attend. And to have that facility available where you, as Natalie said, 60 people are there every day. There's 60 different requirements that they're meeting. It's almost impossible to adhere to 60 needs, but it is being done as much as humanly possible. And is being tweaked each day to meet that person's needs. I'm a representative of it. And I speak for those who are there each day.
[00:21:16] I look forward each day to coming, because I realize that I'm not just the number. I'm an individual that has needs and the direction that I'm going in has lenthened my life. And not saying it's because I'm on your program, now. I preach this each and every day. I want other people to give it a try. There is something for you. It was for me. And this is needed, that there is hope after a certain age and it's not just elderly people. I've met younger people who are below 65, 55, 45 who come and they're very they are very apprehensive as to what's being offered at Parker. But once there, they're absorbed into a bonding effect which brings them in contact with people such as myself and other people who are just like myself. I'm not the exception to the rule. Because seldom in life can you pick your associates who you gonna be in contact with each and every day. Normally you pick friends from other friends or from your mother or your father.
[00:22:35] When you come to Parker, our recipients come from all walks of life. Some have masters and PhD's. Some have no degrees. Some have an understanding of life and some have no understanding of life. You can't. The only way you could get that cross section you'd have to go to a movie or read a book. Yeah you're right. But sitting next to you will always be someone who has a life story to tell you and will explain to you what your expectations are and the extra expectations come with bonding to an institution.
Diane Berardi [00:23:12] That's right.
Leonard [00:23:13] We need this type of interaction for people who hit a certain age and are restricted, for any one of a number of reasons. be them medically or socially. But more importantly, the socialization that takes place between two human bodies is essential for recovery.
Diane Berardi [00:23:33] You're right.
Leonard [00:23:34] It's not just the medicine and the pills you take out of a bottle. You need to talk to someone. Talking to someone makes a difference in your day. It makes a difference in your life.
[00:23:49] I find that there's not enough information out there about Parker programs or similar programs that might have another name. But what's needed is that a loved one can be rehabilitated at home, in loving hands of blood relatives and still come out of a home and be safe and secure. And your loved ones, they have to they will adjust to their loved one being happy. And it's a happy home away from home.
Diane Berardi [00:24:23] That's right. That's great. You've touched Parker and Parker is touched you.
Leonard [00:24:29] Yes indeed. Still does.
Diane Berardi [00:24:30] I can see that in you. I can feel it. And that was the feeling I got the first time I walked into a Parker organization.
[00:24:41] I mean you just you. It feels right. And I look at you and you were saying you know three years ago you were a different part different person, today.
Leonard [00:24:54] Different person. Yes. Yes, yes. And the different person then was the result of years of hard work, and meeting trying to meet every single challenge. Some I met, some I failed at. But I didn't feel when I came into the door of Parker that everything would fail in front of me. I said to myself, give it a chance. I say that to the other recipients such as myself, and they come sometimes for a day or two or a week or six months. You've got to give yourself a chance. You haven't had your relatives haven't had this experience. Your relatives that might have gone to an institution with four brick walls which was cold and somewhat inhuman.
[00:25:42] When you get to Parker is an experience where is a Heartfelt appreciation of you as an individual, not just from staff members but by your co-recipients. I'm one of those co-recipients and I feel it's important to me and to you if you're a co-recipient I'll share with you what my experience has been. And you take it for what it's worth. And if you want to talk to me further, I'm available to you. I'm not a staff member.
Diane Berardi [00:26:11] No. And that's wonderful.
[00:26:13] I'm just like you are.
Diane Berardi [00:26:15] I'm sure, Natalie, you've seen a tremendous change.
Natalie Macaro [00:26:21] I have. Yes. And I think you can see just in hearing Leonard that he's a special guy.
Diane Berardi [00:26:27] Yes he is.
Natalie Macaro [00:26:28] He's not only someone who is taken advantage of all the benefits of the program but he is definitely an advocate for the other people and he's a cheerleader of sorts for many of us. But three years ago when he came he did describe it. I'd say pretty accurately that he was home isolated. His children are at work. And he needed something that he felt worthwhile to do. And he gave it a chance. And I remember touring him and talking about all his possibilities here at Parker. And he embraced every single one of them. And so he says co recipient. He's is a co recipient. He's a friend to many. But he isn't like he mentioned earlier the profile, Always. You know he was open. And we appreciate him for that.
Diane Berardi [00:27:19] Leonard it's been a pleasure. Natalie it's been a pleasure.
[00:27:23] The Parker organization... Your Web site?
[00:27:27] ParkerLife dot org.
[00:27:30] And we're in New Jersey. We have you have several locations in New Jersey?
Natalie Macaro [00:27:34] We do. The day programs are located in both Highland Park and Monroe, New Jersey. And our residential services are not only in Highland Park, Monroe, also Piscataway, New Brunswick and Somerset, New Jersey.
Diane Berardi [00:27:45] Well you're doing a fantastic job. I love being here.
[00:27:50] And I'm here with Laurie Peters the manager for Parker at home adult day. This is a phenomenal program. Tell us all about it.
Laurie Peters [00:27:59] This is a great program. As Natalie had mentioned earlier they had found a need to go out into the community, so they package their adult day program. And currently, we're in four senior community apartments. And we offer a cognitive, a physical and a social program for seniors in order for them to maintain their independence and stay in their homes as long as possible. By offering a four-hour program. And we also offer them a hot lunch.
Diane Berardi [00:28:32] So you bring the day program to them. It's fantastic.
Laurie Peters [00:28:37] Yes. It's wonderful.
Diane Berardi [00:28:37] How did you arrive at that concept? It's fantastic.
Laurie Peters [00:28:43] Well, they found that they had were unable to reach some of the people locally some of the seniors locally they weren't able to come here for various reasons. They were isolated. They weren't either able to use the bus or they were unable to ride the bus. Some of them, they just didn't have the money, they could not afford the adult day program. And when they come to when I come to them it's a little bit different. They don't have to leave. They're able to just come down to the community room, which they love. They absolutely love that. The cost to them is only three dollars a day.
Diane Berardi [00:29:20] Oh my gosh.
Laurie Peters [00:29:21] So that's only an average of twelve dollars.
[00:29:23] Some of the more socially isolated, they were afraid to meet new people. It was a little bit easier for them, there, because they knew some of their neighbors. They may not have known all their neighbors but they were willing to come down with maybe one and then slowly they've met other people and now it's just like a family.
Diane Berardi [00:29:42] Yeah. And for some people it's probably a little easier to make that first step, come downstairs, and you know be in the same building than to maybe travel.
[00:29:53] I know they're our best advocate because now they'll be the spokesperson for Parker at home. And they'll go to others and say you'll have to come down you have to try it. And they'll get people to come down and now it's just grown tremendously through the years. We may have started out with 40 participants and now we're up to like 70, 75.
Diane Berardi [00:30:11] Oh my gosh.
Laurie Peters [00:30:13] It's absolutely wonderful. I've had to put a wait on some of the buildings because you know it's only so many you can handle on one building. But it's turned out good.
Diane Berardi [00:30:22] And different activities?
Laurie Peters [00:30:24] We do a varied activities, we do cooking programs. We do art. We do crafts. We do cognitive games. We do exercise. There's no limit.
[00:30:34] No. And you bring in a hot lunch.
[00:30:36] And a hot lunch. [laughing].
[00:30:39] All for three dollars.
Diane Berardi [00:30:39] Can I come?
Laurie Peters [00:30:41] Yes! [laughing]
Diane Berardi [00:30:41] That has to be great. I bet the time flies for people.
Laurie Peters [00:30:45] It flies. It seems to be their favorite day. Whatever day I go to, they always say, Wednesday is my favorite day. Thursday is my favorite day. It's something that they really look forward to.
Diane Berardi [00:30:55] I would imagine.
Laurie Peters [00:30:56] It's something they say, I can't wait for next week what are we doing? I give them a little sheet. Sometimes they get homework. Sometimes we put on a play and they like that because then they get to practice with their friends so they stay after. The socialization I think is very good, too, because they'll meet with friends. And I noticed afterwards, once I leave, they'll stay behind. They'll play games. They'll play cards. On the weekends maybe they'll go out and they'll have lunch or they'll go to the movies. And they'll even check in on each other, I notice. They'll have a little support group together they'll take phone numbers and if they notice somebody is not out doing their walk, they'll call them. And I know one time one lady wasn't out. One of their residents in the building, she wasn't out taking her walk and she knocked on the door and nobody, the office wasn't around, an unfortunately she had full.
Diane Berardi [00:31:48] Oh my Gosh.
Laurie Peters [00:31:49] And I think if she wasn't checked on, the outcome may have been different. So that was really wonderful.
Diane Berardi [00:31:55] Oh my gosh. Yeah. They form a bond and it may be a bond that wouldn't have happened if he didn't have that program.
Laurie Peters [00:32:02] It's a family. It's wonderful.
[00:32:03] It is fantastic.
Laurie Peters [00:32:05] It's really good.
Diane Berardi [00:32:06] And Danielle Woodruffe you are the communications manager for Parker. And please tell us about the "with-it" movement.
Danielle Woodruffe [00:32:13] Sure. So at Parker one of our goals is we make aging part of life. And you really saw that in Leonard's interview. So along with that we launched a completely separate movement from Parker called, we're leading it of course, "we are with it." The with it movement is really inspired by us. But we want other organizations to join us in this movement. And really what it is, is loving yourself at every age. Whether you're 40 or you're 80 or your 90 and you're doing amazing things like climbing a mountain, or you could be confined, know you could be not as mobile, but you're doing amazing things in your loving yourself at every stage of life. And so we've launched we are with it dot org. We have we're on social media, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. And we're sharing stories about people who are aging and loving every stage. Just like Leonard.
Diane Berardi [00:33:03] It's fantastic. I love it.
[00:33:06] So we really, it's a response to ageism in our society. It's really there. But it's the last ism people think about. You know, it's in the things people say like, I can't believe she's still doing that at 90 years old or he's so cute. And even I'm 63 years young. That's really putting down the aging process. Also a lot of people my age I see you know there's one hundredth day of school and people dress their kids up like one hundred year old. That really is a form of ageism but people don't think about it until they're made aware. So this is a positive way of looking at ages of aging. And we found that there's really disparities in different age groups and how they look at aging.
[00:33:45] Parker does an annual survey each year, the annual survey on aging in America. And we found that there is a huge discrepancy between how Millennials and Gen Xers look at aging compared to baby boomers and silent generation. So we're saying, Okay. How can we bridge that gap and what do what do the older generations know that the younger ones don't? And the way we're doing that is by celebrating aging and highlighting all these wonderful stories of people who are doing great things at every stage of aging.
Diane Berardi [00:34:12] It's fantastic, because society fears aging.
Danielle Woodruffe [00:34:15] It's true. You see it. Yeah. You see it in commercials. You see it in Hallmark cards. no more cards. It's really nothing to fear. Wherever we're all aging.
Diane Berardi [00:34:23] That's right. [laughing]That's right.
[00:34:26] Natalie. Thank you so much for being here and telling our listeners about Parker and I understand it's your birthday. so, Happy birthday!
Natalie Macaro [00:34:36] Thank you. Thank you for the birthday wishes and thank you so much for having me on the show.
[00:34:41] Thank you. Thank Leonard. Thank Laurie. I had a fantastic time. Parker is a great organization. And you know our show is about helping children of aging parents, letting them know what's out there. Letting them know what's good out there, what might not be so good, what to look for. And you guys are doing a fantastic job.
Natalie Macaro [00:35:03] Thank you so much.
Diane Berardi [00:35:05] You're welcome. Thank you. Parents Are Hard To Raise® family... I love getting your e-mails and questions, so please keep sending them. You can reach me at Diane at Parents Are Hard To Raise® dot org. Or just click the green button on our home page.
[00:35:18] Parents Are Hard To Raise® is a CounterThink Media production. The music used in this broadcast is managed by Cosmo Music, New York, New York.
[00:35:25] Our New York producers Joshua Green. Our Broadcast engineer is Well Gambino. And from our London studios, the melodic voice of our announcer, Miss Dolly D.
[00:35:34] We love our parents, but Parents Are Hard To Raise®. Thank you so much for listening. Till next time... May forget everything you don't want to remember and remember everything you don't want to forget.
[00:35:46] See you again next week. .
[00:35:55] Thank you Parker. You've been wonderful.