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

Posted on


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

Fresh Insight On Self-Care From The Entrepreneur Caregiver

          Ann Zuccardy

Caregiving experts—including me—are constantly encouraging busy working caregivers to practice better self-care.  Ann Zuccardy, a two-time Tedx Speaker, author and humorist has been a caregiver while growing her business.  Here’s what she has to say about self-care:

“I’ve learned that self-care is not selfish.  Self-care is about more than getting a pedicure or a massage – it’s about daily routines of meditation, prayer, physical movement, setting boundaries, creating unstructured quiet time for myself, and learning to say no more.  Increased self-care in this way leads to better physical health and stamina – which I need to be a good caregiver. “

Growing a business while caregiving is an enormous undertaking.  As Ann says, don’t make it about the occasional spa appointment—make it a daily intention.  What daily self-care strategy can you commit to today to keep your strength up for both caregiving and business?

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.

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

Posted on


Three Ways The Caregiver Entrepreneur Gets Ahead and Stays Sane

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

Throughout Cruising Through Caregiving: Reducing The Stress of Caring For Your Loved One, I repeatedly emphasize the need to take care of yourself and establish a caregiving crew of people who will help you and your loved one.  This week’s blog features two female business owner caregivers who share their experiences on maintaining a business while taking care of yourself and allowing others to help you.

      Elaine Pasqua

Elaine Pasqua, CSP (Certified Speaking Professional) is the author of #Mom I Got This: Building Your Legacy In College and Beyond.  She speaks professionally to colleges, high schools and pro sports teams about high-risk drinking and sexual assault prevention.  She has also been a caregiver many times to loved ones including her parents, her aunt and a cousin.  Here’s her advice on how to build a business while caregiving:

“Don’t be afraid to ask for help; it’s almost impossible to do it alone! Be creative, you have come up with a plan that works for everyone. You should never give up your goals, dreams, and years of hard work. You might have to adjust expectations and make modifications to satisfy the dual roles of caregiver and business person. Family and commitment to care should be valued above everything else in life. However, you also have to make a commitment to care for YOU, the caregiver. Take time to nurture yourself along the way; you will need it so you can continue to have the stamina and emotional reserves to juggle both.”

           Nora A. Burns

Speaker Nora A. Burns, owner of HR Undercover, a human resources consulting firm concurs.

“I think it’s important to allow yourself some grace and recognize that perhaps the years when you are caregiving are not likely to be your most profitable years and that’s okay.  I would give anything for one more day with my mom, even if it meant losing my dream gig in order to make that happen.”

While taking care of her Mom and sister-in-law who were ill, Nora often had to fly from her home in Colorado to Wisconsin. “While in Wisconsin, friends would periodically lend me their vehicles so I wouldn’t have the expense of renting a car for that 1-3 week period – how awesome is that?”  Further, friends back in Colorado were kind enough to watch her dog Bella so she did not have to pay anyone to do that.    

What can business owners who are caregiving learn from Nora and Elaine?

  1. Temper your expectations for business growth while you are in the eye of the caregiving storm.
  2. Consider creative ways your friends and family can support your efforts to be a good caregiver and business owner.  Ask for their help.
  3. Remember that while business and work are important, people you love should still be your priority.

Join us next week for our final article in this series about successful business owners who are also 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.

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

Posted on


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.

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

Posted on


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


Meet Valerie Grubb, MBA, the owner of Valerie Grubb & Associates. She founded her human resources consulting and training firm after many years in the corporate world. In addition to running her business, Valerie is also the founder of the blog “Travel with Aging Parents” https://travelwithagingparents.com which eventually led to the publication of her book, Planes, Canes, and Automobiles: Connecting With Your Aging Parents Through Travel. This book was inspired by her love of traveling with her older Mom Dorothy.

As Dorothy has aged, Valerie has taken on more of a caregiver role. As a working caregiver, Valerie views being her own boss as an advantage. “Mom’s situation was actually a big driver for me to leave corporate America and go out on my own as I needed more flexibility in my schedule to manage Mom’s life. I don’t know of any company today that would allow me to take time off to go to Mom’s for a week every month and a half. Not sure that exists. So, going out on my own has allowed me to work, yet on my schedule.”

While many employees at larger organizations enjoy the benefits of a Human Resources Department like FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act) and other paid time off, many entrepreneurs like Valerie do have the luxury of working from anywhere. Since that is the case for Valerie, she had her mother’s home “wired up” so she could work more efficiently when she’s providing hands-on care for Dorothy.

In what ways does Valerie’s story inspire you? How can you turn being a business owner into a plus while you are a working caregiver?

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.

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

Posted on


This article is the first in a five-part series about successful entrepreneurs who are crushing it in their businesses but also managing the tremendous additional challenge of caring for a loved one.

4 Ways To Balance Business And Caregiving From A Savvy Female Entrepreneur

Leadership and motivational speaker Pegine Echevarria, CSP, MSW (www.pegine.com), an entrepreneur, found herself caregiving for her mother over the last several years. Here’s what working caregivers—particularly business owners—can learn from Pegine’s experience:

  1. Look for windows of “downtime.” Pegine takes advantage of the fact that social media posts can be done anywhere. Pegine’s social media efforts often lead to media interviews. While much of caregiving is hands-on and must be done with your full attention, there are periods of “downtime” as a caregiver. Social media posts can be done while in the waiting room of a doctor’s office or when you are on hold with an insurance company. Consider where your “downtime” as a caregiver is and try to be productive during that window.
  2. Work smarter, not harder. Pegine decided to focus more strategically on working with fewer, better-paying clients. In what way can you as a business owner work smarter instead of harder? Do you need to set better boundaries with your staff or customers? Do you need to charge more so you can work less?
  3. Invest in some quality paid caregiving help. Just as business owners rely on staff and contractors, working caregivers need to outsource too! Pegine recommends communicating regularly and honestly with those paid helpers. Of the assisted living staff who now take care of her mother, she says, “I think of them as part of the team.”
  4. Limit activities not absolutely essential to building your business, providing good care to your loved one, or taking care of yourself. Several years ago, Pegine made the difficult decision to resign from the National Speakers Association (NSA) National Board of Directors. “Hard, really hard decision and the right one,” she says about this choice. Sometimes as successful business owners who are also working caregivers we need to make hard choices to put some activities on hold. What do you need to let go from your schedule?

Check back next week for another article about an inspirational business owner who is also a working caregiver!

 

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.