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Caroline's Story From The Book "42 Rules For Effective Communications"

Sometimes, the cruelest twists of fate turn into the catalyst for a chrysalis and birth of better things when handled with empathy and caring. 


After 18 years in Corporate America, I was totally caught off guard and devastated when my world changed overnight - a few times over.  My journey "From Living in the Future to Living in the Now with Empathy" began on June 6th of 2006, when I was laid off from my high level executive job.  In one month I lost my position with the company I felt married to, then my sister and I learned my mother had severe dementia and that we needed to bring our parents into our homes.  So I went from a Corporate Executive to a Caregiver to my 84 year old Father.  I realized I could not go back and work in Corporate America because I would be trading my salary to his Caregiver.  What did the words "caregiver" even mean? Executive to Caregiver?   Respite Care in lieu of vacation?  Dementia? It was overwhelming.


I was crushed; I had been working and saving towards my retirement since I was 21.  I had plans and was right on target at 50 to live my dream.  I thought Mom and Dad had their act together - they ran a successful business, had life insurance, a healthy retirement account and their house was paid for.  Did I have to worry about them when I was climbing the corporate ladder to fulfill my dreams? As it turns out, yes, even if we don't realize it.


I began to help my Father, while struggling through my new reality.  I found many challenges to knowing which options we have to help our parents.  The challenges were tangible - learning how to gain VA benefits, which environment was best for him - living at home or assisted living- and then how to prepare for the chosen environment.  Then there's the emotional aspect - the struggle of wanting to be there for him, but of also having duties to work, to a spouse, to grown up children and grandchildren.  All these considerations are daunting, and taken on at once, as is often the case, quite overwhelming.  What I have learned is all of these and many more decisions need to be made with empathy, years before  you get the call "Mom has fallen- What do we do now?"


What I originally thought was a burden is now the greatest gift I have been given. To be able to care for my Daddy and have that time with him to learn who I really am is a true blessing.  I have connected with my Father; and through my empathy, am also launching a business to educate others on how to Create an Aging Plan.


My business, Preparing for Care, LLC, provides much needed education, support and guidance to adult children about to or now caring for their senior parents.  We are an informational portal, helping people learn (without getting burned) how to choose a place for their parents plus much more.  We are a resource center - for those needing to find reliable, vetted specialized services for their parents.  But most of all, we are a safe haven for one of the most trying and emotionally charged situations anyone can face - one for which most of us are simply not prepared.  We help others through this frightening ordeal or help them prepare prior to it, with high class, top notch, caring, empathetic friends on their side (and on their parent's side) in and before the time of need.

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