Entrepreneurs share taking care of an aging parent
Principal Consultant of GoDavidGG
Being an entrepreneur and running several businesses is challenging, even more so in Covid times, when you have teams working remotely and also in the office – so you need to carefully manage your time. My mother lives in Spain, and I have recently relocated to Florida to be with my partner.
I used to visit once a month, when I was living in London, but the distance has made this a lot harder. I have not been able to see her since March 2020 due to Covid and the current international travel restrictions.
However, we bridge that gap by having video conference chats most days, and playing games and also by watching the same TV shows and movies so that we can talk about them.
It’s never easy seeing your parents age, but I am thankful my mum is healthy and we have a great relationship. She knows that I will be coming to her as soon as possible and we will make the most of lost times. I am looking forward to giving her a huge hug.
Sharon van Donkelaar
CMO of Expandi
Taking care of an aging parent can be extremely draining, especially when you also have a running business that you’re trying to keep afloat. Your parents need you, and you might find yourself surrounded by medical appointments and bills, while also having responsibilities over your business, partners, employees, and customers.
Even though it is extremely hard to balance out both things, one needs to establish priorities, and hire help. I personally had to make difficult decisions, like moving my business closer to where my parents lived and hiring more people to take care of specific tasks at my business because I just didn’t have the time.
During this experience, you need to confront the fact that you cannot take care of everything, especially if you are an only child like me, you will hire some sort of help; for your business or for your parents. You shouldn’t be ashamed of hiring a nurse or an assistant, your time is now precious, and you need as many people helping as you can.
Also, one of the best things you can do is arrange legal things up beforehand. The last thing you want is to not have permission to make decisions when your parents are not able to consent.
CEO of Caffeinated Face
Being a successful entrepreneur for the last 5 years and taking care of my aging mom has shown me that there can be some common rewards and pitfalls to the whole scenario. You can expect to gain an increased appreciation for your work, are more aware of the importance of planning as a means to minimize stress, will have a personal understanding of how strong we humans can be in times of need, must prioritize and time management skills improve when coupled with empathy through listening to our loved one’s wishes were they able to articulate them (not always). All these aspects of taking care of an aging parent will strengthen your skillset and lead to becoming highly effective at what you do and over the past 5 years, this is exactly what has resulted in my caregiving responsibilities. Having this improved skillset, continues to strengthen my entrepreneurial journey and will most likely lead to better and bigger opportunities. Caffeinated Face
Founder of Steadily
First off, let me say, it is difficult. I am lucky enough that my parents are not terminally ill or in need of constant supervision, however, I have still faced my challenge. In some sense, I’d say being an entrepreneur is more efficient in this situation than working full-time, as you’re the boss of your own schedule and you’re far more flexible. On the other hand, the job tends to be far more demanding and you can rarely just “switch-off.” My biggest tip would be to hire a caretaker for the days you cannot be present and schedule out trips to see your parents as if they were as important as business appointments – because they are. Secondly, accustom your parents’ home so that they can work most efficiently and it is most satisfying for their health – for example if they have knee issues or struggle to walk otherwise and have numerous stairs, purchase a stairs lift. Another tip would be to provide them with a constant contact line in case they need anything, whether it be you or their caretaker or a friend, but beware that because of the flexible schedule and travelling, you may not always be able to pick up when they need it. And lastly, call often. This one might be obvious but your parents’ health also depends on their mental state – and their child calling them and talking about their adventures can bring a sense of happiness and calmness that nothing else can. Having ageing parents is always difficult, but it is so far more when you’re an entrepreneur as you may have to be on the road or may have to deal with unexpected issues at an unprecedented time – but, it is doable. Steadily
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About the Community
On the podcast, Sean talks with entrepreneurs about the reality of their struggle to succeed, as well as answering questions from the community, and sharing nuggets of wisdom from his own life.
Discover through these amazing episodes the courage to open your mind, heart, and soul to the world so you can be the best entrepreneur possible, respect the people you work with, and improve the world with your company while not hurting others or yourself in the process.
Sean is an entrepreneur, investor, and advisor based in SE Asia for over 12 years. He is passionate about Psychology and helping others improve themselves.