Some people identify athletes as their heroes, others gravitate to famous leaders or humanitarians. I would undoubtedly name my mom. She was super-human when it came to caregiving – all aspects of caregiving!
As my mom and stepdad were about to embark on the “glorious” retirement years, my stepdad was diagnosed with cancer. Instead of relaxing vacations, they spent the next five years enduring hospital stays and chemo treatments. I think my stepdad had over 250 blood transfusions!
During this same time, my grandfather came to live with my mom and stepdad. Although sturdy for an 88-year-old, shortly after he moved in, my grandfather fell. This fall changed a lot.
My grandfather and my stepdad were once hardworking, smart, hearty men and now they needed help with most things over about a five-year period. My mom cooked, cleaned, and watched over the medical care. She assisted with toileting and everything that goes with incontinence. If you’ve been there, you know what I am talking about. My mom had just too much on her plate. Sure, others chipped in here or there, but the lion’s share fell on my mom.
My grandfather passed and a year later my stepdad passed. It fell to my mom to close both of their estates. She had a good handle on most of it but there were still a lot of missing pieces. To add to the complexity, my grandfather had a small “camp” in another state, which creates another range of challenges. The pain of losing loved ones is hard enough but the reality is someone still must take care of all the administration associated with it.
During these same years, I was part of a very large senior living organization. I served on the board of directors and as the chief financial officer. I saw the challenges families have in the later stages of life. I saw the uncertainty and lack of confidence between family members. I saw how resentment can build when one sibling does it all. I also had a better appreciation for the significant sacrifices my mom made for my stepdad and my grandfather. Of course, she would say that it was a privilege, but it was clear to me that there must be a better way.
Sometimes in life, you get the opportunity to pull your prior experiences together to build something that matters. Cofounding Kincern feels like that for me.— Jody Holt, CEO & Co-Founder, Kincern
Sometimes in life, you get the opportunity to pull your prior experiences together to build something that matters. Cofounding Kincern feels like that for me. At Kincern, we are focused on helping caregivers with their financial and administrative responsibilities. We are building services and solutions to make this part of caregiving better so families can get more time back – more time for better things than digging through paperwork and trying to figure out the missing pieces.
Taking this on feels like a tribute to my mom and all the caregivers out there that have put their own ambitions aside to love on someone else. These individuals need all the tools and support possible to they can enjoy quality time with aging parents and family members. It’s challenging in so many ways, but critically important.
Like my mom, these people are my heroes.