Today is the first day of the rest of my life. Well, not exactly today, but at the end of this week, one of my main jobs for the last eight years is ending. And today, I have a conflict for a regular meeting that I have attended for eight solid years, a leadership meeting with the global technology company that I have worked for in addition to my own care at home marketing company. I still have a podcast to record and publish, and that will also end (for me) four years of my Help Choose Home podcast series that is targeting the consumer and educating on the industry, so when people have a need for care they consider home care. COVID has changed the care at home industry. Once the redheaded stepchild of the health care continuum, care at home is now coming of age. We see that in policy at the national level as well as in local decisions made as to where care is best provided. Part of that feels successful. The current caregiver shortage, however, makes it feel less like a win.
Have my contributions to the industry made a difference? Since 1981 (40 years now, if your math is failing you) I have been involved in either providing care at home, marketing those services to others, or working on creating a better technology solution to make care at home easier for the recipient and the provider. So, what is next? That is the question I am getting constantly now, as I close in on the actual date of almost full retirement, November 20, 2021. Time will tell.
My current focus is more localized as both my partner and I are getting older by the day, and our care needs are evolving. I will say that one decision I have made is to build a smaller, handicapped-accessible home that requires less maintenance. When I renovated this home in Asheville, NC, I thought I was being clever in creating a space on the lower level for someone to live and take care of us as we needed care. You would think that 40 years of experience would have lent itself to making the proper design choices. However, what I now find is that I need another bedroom on the same floor as the main bedroom. Having three floors with space for another on the bottom and top does not make for easy caregiving when there is only one bedroom on the main floor. A poor choice, and one that is a deal-breaker. I always recommended that people have at lest two bedrooms so there was room for a care provider to have some private space, but I did not realize that a close bedroom to where the person needing care is essential. We used to use baby monitors to know when care was needed, so the care provider could monitor the person needing care and come when needed. However, that prevents the care provider from sleeping. Why did I not think of that earlier? Also, bathroom/bedroom placement. Which SIDE of the bed the person needing care sleeps on should be closer to the bathroom. Duh. Again, you would think that decades in the industry would have made that simple fact prominent in my house planning. Next time, my friends. This next house that I plan is going to be very well thought out and planned for aging in place, or living in place as a better phrase, since we are all aging, daily.
So what is next for me? A planner by nature, I usually have a plan for almost everything, and slowly execute those plans. My favorite activity is the planning. I enjoy the execution, but can almost say that when executing I am thinking of the future and the next plan. Right now, I do have an opportunity that excites me, but I have put that off until January to commit totally. Right now, today, I just want to clean the slate and have nothing on my to-do list except activities with the grandchildren, my children, my partner, and my new puppy. Stay tuned as I try to figure out how I can best contribute while creating a better place to make daily living a little easier.