Entrepreneurs Who Are Also Family Caregivers Series – By Jennifer L. FitzPatrick

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This article is the third in a series about successful entrepreneurs who are crushing it in their businesses but also managing the challenge of caring for a loved one.

Bob Phibbs has been known as The Retail Doctor (www.retaildoc.com [retaildoc.com]) since 1994 when he started his company.  He helps retail companies like Tommy Bahama, Hunter Douglas and Vera Bradley create extraordinary customer experiences.  He’s also a professional speaker and the author of The Retail Doctor’s Guide To Growing Your Business.  While creating and growing this incredible business, Bob has also been taking care of his partner of thirty years, John, who has a degenerative disorder.

Bob emphasizes how important his friendships have been to his ability to develop a successful business while taking good care of John.  While many caregivers appreciate their friends, Bob’s perspective is unique.  He says, ““Just make sure you’re not updating them daily or you never get a break.” 

While sometimes you want to vent to friends about your caregiving struggles, you may get more relief by letting a friend distract you with a funny story or going bowling, or watching a baseball game.  What can caregivers who are running businesses learn from Bob’s perspective?

  1. Business owners tend to be focused on growing their companies and little else.  Especially when a business owner is caregiving, there is often little time left for friends.  Make time—they can be truly invaluable to keeping you afloat during the tough times.
  2. Know that different friends can offer different types of help.  Some friends are great listeners.  Others may be better at making you laugh.
  3. If you do find yourself venting constantly to friends about the stress of business ownership and caregiving, consider a support group or psychotherapist.

Join us next week for the fourth article in this series about entrepreneurship and caregiving!

Jennifer L. FitzPatrick – MSW, LCSW-C, CSP
The founder of Jenerations Health Education, Inc., Jennifer FitzPatrick has over 20 years’ experience in healthcare and gerontology. The author of Cruising Through Caregiving: Reducing The Stress of Caring For Your Loved One, she is also a gerontology instructor at Johns Hopkins University and an Education Consultant to the Alzheimer’s Association. She helps you reduce stress and increase productivity, morale and revenue. Jennifer and Cruising Through Caregiving have been featured in Forbes, U.S. News & World Report, The Huffington Post, Reader’s Digest, Univision and The Chicago Tribune. She has also appeared on ABC and Sirius XM.

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