Our good friend, Dr. Rick Rigsby, is the President and CEO of Rick Rigsby Communications. The former award-winning journalist followed a television career with graduate school—and two decades as a college professor, most of those years at Texas A&M University. He also served as character coach and chaplain for the Aggies football team. His graduation speech at the Cal Maritime Commencement Ceremony (April 22, 2017) was shown on Youtube and has had more than 200 million views.
In 2006, Rick Rigsby published a book entitled Lessons from a Third Grade Dropout. Referring to his father in the title, the book discusses six different lessons modeled by someone who would be deemed an uneducated man.
Q&A with Dr. Rick Rigsby where he offers his approach to hard questions that families face when deciding the future for an aging loved one.
Q: We are stressed out about what to do with our parents.
A: I think the most important advice I would give is to do everything you can to keep all lines of communication open, and by all, this is what I mean. Every stakeholder should have an opportunity around the table to share their feelings. All of those conversations need to be heard, with the ultimate goal being what is in mom’s best interest.
Q: There is no agreement. What should we do now?
A: I believe that emotions are at an all-time high right now, and people might not be able to move forward. Here’s my suggestion; one person has to take the lead, and one person has to say, “we have to function together–let’s be together in a way that honors our loved one.”
In doing so, you’ll keep moving the conversation forward because somebody has to take the lead. In my family, that person was me. We had to make some very tough decisions, and nobody wanted to do anything. Our emotions were getting the best of us. I thank God we felt the need to continue talking, as painful as it was to do so.
Q: What’s the most important thing when making the right choice for our parents?
A: When considering a community, you should ask, is that community functioning, working, and operating in the best interests of my loved one? I don’t care about the brand name, and I don’t care about all the accouterments. I would want to make sure that they are a good match for my loved one and that my loved one will be well cared for. I would like to make sure that care for my loved one goes to a higher level when I leave. That’s the one thing I would be interested in–more than a fancy name for my loved one.
Just think about the interviews you’ve had and think about the people you’ve talked to when you have visited other communities. You know what you can tell.
I know what I’m getting when I drop off a loved one at a Koelsch community. I’m getting a loving system of supported people all driven by one goal: we are ladies and gentlemen who are serving ladies and gentlemen.
Q: What attracted you to Koelsch Communities?
A: That was easy. When I first met Aaron and Judy Koelsch, I thought of my father. My father was a man of quiet strength–he was a man of dignity, and he was a man that insisted that his children serve other people.
My father wasn’t interested in anything else but making sure that we serve other people, which reminded me of Aaron and Judy. They are, number one, continuing from their parents’ legacy and, number two, making sure they do everything they can to equip their people to provide the most dignified–caring service on the map. That’s what attracted me to Aaron and Judy.