I am definitely getting to an age where I have a lot of data points to look at. Life has provided many twists and turns, and not infrequently, I find myself asking, “How did I get here”?
I have been pretty fortunate with what my path has yielded. A healthy family, a wonderful partner and husband, and the good fortune to wake up every morning filled with gratitude – even if everything is not exactly going my way.
But I also think about how my experiences have shaped me, and there is no question that observing caregiving at a very young age has had a strong impact on me.
I was about 10 years old, and my mom had just passed her 40th birthday. My dad – my hero – handsome, strong, accomplished and always on the go, was not right. Something was just not right.
It was a rapid and horrible decline from a diagnosis of Multiple Myeloma for a man in his early 50s to his death in May of 1980. There was so little to be done back then. Daddy was in and out of the hospital – and Mom never left his side – constantly shuttling back and forth from our home to the hospital in Manhattan. Her determination to be there for my dad was admirable. She was a most dedicated and loving wife. But I also witnessed how the stress of Dad’s decline was taking a toll on Mom herself. She was exhausted, she was stressed and she was getting run down. I was scared, because I knew cancer was going to take my dad, but I was equally frightened by the pressure on my mom. I saw firsthand that trying to “do it all” was impossible.
As difficult as that time was for us as a family, it shaped a lot of who I became as a person. I witnessed how important it is for someone to have an advocate when they are ailing. Someone to be by their side, someone to ask the right questions and be that “quarterback” in a very fragmented healthcare system. And now we scroll forward almost 40 years. It’s mom’s turn, and she too deserves to have someone by her side – to make sure she is getting to the best doctors, to accompany her to doctor’s visits and translate complicated medical information, to help her with confusing insurance claim forms, to guide her through the complexities of where and how she wants to age, to provide her companionship when she needs it. Navigating all of these challenges can be difficult and overwhelming – and it’s only compounded when you are living some 1500 miles away with a busy career and dependent children …
My frustration with being that long-distance daughter and my passion for building businesses has led me to creating Theia Senior Solutions – a much needed resource for objective, unbiased eldercare navigation. Theia is the Greek Goddess of light and clarity and her vision is so needed in this complex area of eldercare.
I started this blog to share the journey of Theia with you. I would be honored if you would follow the stories of our people, our clients and our care recipients. While our current services are very high touch and individualized we believe that everyone can learn from our experience and the resources we can share. So much of what we do it is to stabilize in crisis but our hope is these stories will help more families to plan and be prepared as their loved one’s age.