This Father’s Day will be the second without my father following his passing last May. Like most children who have lost a parent, I think of him frequently.
My dad was always full of life and ready for adventure. He loved to travel and, with my mom, went all over the world. His favorite picture of his travels was taken while jogging in Egypt with the pyramids and camels in the background. As you can see, he also loved being active, but most of all, he loved life.
Unfortunately, late in his life he suffered from many ailments. Spinal surgery, multiple heart bypasses, and prostate cancer only slowed him temporarily. But when he developed Parkinson’s Disease, it grew to become debilitating.
Dad started needing part-time home care about 8 or 9 years before the end of his life when the Parkinson’s began surfacting. Watching such an active man become increasingly unable to physically function was, of course, extremely difficult. Deciding to get him care in home was also a hard one. The care started out as just a couple of hours a day for a few days each week, but over the course of several years, increased to the point where he needed round-the-clock live-in help.
During his final year, my dad needed to switch from a female caregiver to a male one due to his weakened state and lack of mobility. Godwin, a wonderful young man from Ghana, was incredibly patient and caring for my dad, and became very attached to him. Between Godwin’s work with my dad and my own caregiver who helps me, a paraplegic, I became keenly sensitive to the critical role caregivers play in our society. At the same time, I became frustrated with how little appreciation they receive. By the end of my dad’s life, Godwin had become a member of the family.
These experiences inspired me to create an improved way for caregivers to find better paying work. One of the most satisfying things about starting LeanOnWe was the ability to help Godwin find a good, new work situation after my dad passed. He is presently in another live-in caregiving job and is once again appreciated as a member of another family.
I am very aware that the anguish I felt upon watching my father’s decline and ultimate passing is not unique to me. Families endure similar difficulties everywhere. Some of those families are fortunate to find an experienced, caring, and skilled caregiver, but most are not and don’t know how to do so. Through LeanOnWe, a network of carefully vetted caregivers who work privately and directly for a family, we are determined to help guide families like mine who seek to find a highly recommended caregiver who is the right fit for the parent they love so dearly. Likewise, I am proud to help so many caregivers who are committed to helping families and I wish a very Happy Father’s Day to all of the families at LeanOnWe and all of the caregivers who are fathers themselves.