Along the journey of becoming a caregiver, there are lessons to learn that change the way you see the work. One such lesson is learning to see mom as a person and as a business.
The person is easy. My mom is this human being who needs what we all need…love, food, shelter, kindness, affection, patience, support. For a long time this seemed like the focus of all the work. If I could give more love, then the situation would get better. If I could be more patient, things would get easier. If I could be kinder when things were tense, everything would go smoother.
A new reality hit for me and my brother in the last year. Caring for mom the person is the significant portion of the work, but it’s not the only work. Focusing only on caring for the person we neglect the infrastructure that allows the person to exist. We also have to tend to mom the business.
Mom the business works like other businesses. It starts with a mission, “Keep mom healthy, safe and happy.”
There is an accounting department. We track money in, and money out. We maintain multiple bank accounts. We pay bills. We project expenditures against cash flow. We forecast need. Hard copy files are kept. Electronic files and spreadsheets are uploaded to cloud storage for both users to remotely access and update.
We have a legal department. There are forms to file to comply with Social Security, Health and Human Services, Guardianship, Conservatorship, and Medical Power of Attorney.
The business has a customer service department that attends care meetings, transports to doctor’s appointments, and does all the shopping for clothes and gifts.
This year the business expanded to hire a momsitter, which included vetting different service providers and contracting with one to visit three days each week. After success with one momsitter, the business hired a second momsitter, one of the nursing home staff to come in on two of her days off each week.
The business has conference calls and staff meetings between business partners (my brother, sister-in-law and me.)
Mom the business gets our energy, our focus and our commitment. It creates the system that allows for us to support and care. We clock in to business mode and get the work done, so that when we clock out, we can enjoy the whole reason the business exists, mom the person.