Information that will change your journey
Will you have to choose who gets your time? I had to choose and later found that many people have to choose. Here’s how it happened to me.
I had moved back to the midwest from the west coast to help my parents. I was an internal business consultant working for large high tech and biotech companies solving complicated issues both domestic and international.
After moving back to the midwest, I started a consulting business. Over the course of 10 years, I assembled a small team. We had great relationships with our clients and operated with integrity. Life was good and my company grew at a rate of 30% annually.
For 7 of 14 years, things ran smoothly. My mother was the primary caregiver for my father and I was in a supporting role. Then I got a call saying “your mother is on her way to the emergency room, she’s had a heart attack”. I was hopeful until I arrived at the ER to witness her organs shutting down one by one, she had a massive infection and was at death’s door. She was put on a ventilator and was in intensive care for several weeks. She slowly recovered over many months because she had a very strong heart.
Here’s what I didn’t tell you. My dad needed care and his caregiver was my Mom. I needed to be my Mother’s health advocate now and I needed someone to take care of my dad and both needed to happen immediately. Home Care companies were just becoming popular but still in the early stages.
Now under extreme stress, when we humans are in the worst position to make complicated decisions and learn new things; I had to learn about choosing a home care company while also being my mother’s health care advocate. What questions do I ask, how do I prepare the house and keep my dad safe, when will I have time to do reference checking and the overwhelming concern about having strangers in the house.
I almost forgot I had a business too! My clients were awesome and the first few weeks they gave me a lot of space to take care of my family. However, it took a few months to stabilize my family’s situation and my clients couldn’t put their businesses on hold for me and I didn’t expect that. I had failed to set up my business to run without me and disappointing my clients wasn’t something I could do - You know, that integrity thing. My solution, I took on fewer clients to make sure I could continue to operate with integrity. I didn’t realize then that was the beginning of the end for my business.
It never occurred to me that my parent’s failing health would eventually cost my business, income, health and most of my savings. I learned that what happened to me isn’t unusual, it happens often and if you are a small business owner or entrepreneur the impacts can be devastating.
I learned that many have lost their business when their parents or parent suffers a fall, the flu or an accident and their health declines over a couple of years. The intensity of a few years supporting the transitions and relapses caused the adult children to lose most of their clients and they were starting over in their 40’s and 50’s.
Adult children of aging parents whose parents required assistance for 10-20+ years experienced significant health consequences, lost income, and savings and many lost their businesses. It happens quietly and women-owned businesses and entrepreneurs are most at risk.
No One Should Have to Choose Between Their Business and Caring for Aging Parents. Your parents don’t want this for you.
My elder care journey led me to create www.myeldercarejourney to help small business and soloprenuers stay in business as they take on caring for aging parents and to help them navigate elder care.
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I hope you will share this article with small business owners and entrepreneurs to build awareness of the impact aging parents can have on your business. Building awareness may help save someone’s business, prompt them to make changes and help them keep their business and care for aging parents. You could be someone’s hero.