I am the author of Doris Inc., a Business Approach to Caring for Your Elderly Parents, and a graduate of the Ivey School of Business. I ran my own marketing and consulting firm before becoming a published author and a consumer trend-spotter, and my research and advice were sought by media and large corporations. I was also a Parkinson Society board member from 2006 - 2009.
When my father died suddenly in 2002, I became the primary caregiver for my mother, Doris, a role I held until she died in 2009. I did the best I could for Mom, but I was torn between my conflicting roles. I wanted and needed to spend more time with my mother, but I also wanted to keep my business going and spend more time with my fiance. For a year and a half, I tackled her health and loneliness issues using what I called a solo-firefighter approach to caregiving, focusing only on her crisis of the day. My methodology failed miserably, and left me feeling exhausted and no longer in control of my life.
When my mother was hospitalized after a bad fall, she became totally dependent on me for her care and well-being. At that point, I realized I urgently needed to find a better approach to caregiving. My brother and I instinctively drew upon our extensive business experience and applied business disciplines to caregiving to solve our problem. We found a way to provide top-notch care for our mother while still having busy lives and careers of our own. We affectionately called our venture "Doris Inc."
While caring for my mother, I discovered that our society's crisis-driven approach to caregiving too often results in neglected elders, burnt-out caregivers, and stalled careers. This disturbed me greatly, and inspired me to share the strategies that worked so well for us. My goal in writing Doris Inc. and being a regular contributor to this blog is to help families help themselves, by explaining how to handle the declining years in a prepared, informed and proactive way. In my upcoming posts I will:
Shirley Roberts was the primary caregiver of her mother for seven years and is the author of Doris Inc.: A Business Approach to Caring for Your Elderly Parents