The Dignity of Caregiving

Griz logo horizontalYears ago, the concept of caregiving was not one I was very familiar with or thought about as a business, or on a personal level.

That changed in 2011 when my sister Barbara, who lived in Florida, was in a serious car accident. She subsequently had brain surgery and physically was never the same. Her ability to walk diminished and she needed care, at first occasionally, and then later around the clock. My sister’s caregiver was Barb Gottshaw, a person whose skill and compassion were unbelievable. Barb Gottshaw became more than a caregiver. My sister and Barb Gottshaw became friends and during the 5 years together, they developed a bond, and that bond extended to my younger sister, Laurie, and me.

My sister Barbara passed away on January 31, 2016 and Barb was there with me at the hospital when my sister passed. I lost a member of my family, but so did Barb. She grieved as I grieved. I understood care-giving like I never did before.

Ironically on a professional level at the same time I began doing marketing consulting work for a new Strum Consulting client, Griswold Home Care, the oldest non-medical care-giving franchise organization in the U.S. Founded 35 years ago in suburban Philadelphia in 1982 by the late Jean Griswold, the company has now expanded across the U.S. into 32 states. Today Griswold Home Care is a market leader delivering the highest level of compassionate care in the industry. I feel there is a personal reason I am now working with Griswold, beyond commerce. Whereas earlier in my career I probably would not have really understood the category, now I appreciate and understand the care-giving industry in a far far more personal way.

I admire those who give care, whether for a family member or as a professional. Caregivers truly have a heart of gold. I respect the compassion and empathy caregivers provide, and now more deeply understand the Dignity of Caregiving.

Today, Barb Gottshaw is a Griswold Home Care caregiver in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale area, and just last week Barb Gottshaw came up from Florida to attend my nephew Paul’s wedding. There was sadness that my sister Barbara would not be at a joyous family occasion, yet we were thrilled our newer family member, Barb Gottshaw, came up from Florida to join us.

Griz cg awardCaregivers become family. And Griswold caregivers like Barb Gottshaw are second to none. At the annual Griswold conference this week Allegra Chaney, a 35-year caregiver, was honored with a special Lifetime Caregiver Achievement Award. That’s the kind of commitment Griswold caregivers have. No doubt Allegra Chaney has joined many families throughout her years of delivering compassionate care.

On a personal level, I feel fortunate to have met Barb Gottshaw and Allegra Chaney, and doubly fortunate to use my business and marketing skills in such a meaningful category for a wonderful company. Never would have guessed my career would have taken taken this turn earlier in life.

You stick around long enough then hey, you never know.

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