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Care for Others, Care for Yourself

Today I had the privilege of delivering the keynote address at Beloved Foundation’s REACH Oncology Symposium at the University of California Riverside. Attendees were from oncology-related organizations, including healthcare providers and advocacy groups, with professional backgrounds in nursing, social work, and patient advocacy.

Regardless of organization or official role, it was apparent that each person in attendance is passionate about helping cancer patients. Most (if not all) have a personal connection to cancer that prompted them to do this work. While the Symposium didn’t include patients, I could easily see the commitment these good people have to providing relief and assistance to patients and their families.

As a bit of an experiment, I asked attendees to turn to the “neighbor” sitting next to them and describe the work role that prompted them to attend today’s meeting. After a minute of discussion amongst themselves, I invited the entire group – by show of hands – to share if the “neighbor” talked about their role in terms of others or in terms of themselves. Every single attendee spoke of what they do in terms of other people.

I wasn’t surprised by the show of hands. People who enter caring professions usually have altruistic motivations and find intrinsic satisfaction in service to others.

Often these most admirable qualities are also what lead caregivers to prioritize the needs of others over their own personal needs. An unfortunate and unintended consequence can be compassion fatigue – a state of physical, emotional, and/or spiritual depletion associated with caring for others.

In the ensuing discussion, we talked about the importance of not only caring for others but also caring for yourself. It’s not selfish to acknowledge you have needs. Caregivers are always more effective if they nurture body, mind, and spirit, recharging their personal batteries and developing the resilience to carry on for those who depend on them.

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How to Start an Eldercare Business

elder care worker
As a society, it is extremely important that we take good care of those in the older generations. Senior citizens decline in their ability to care for themselves as they age, and it is the responsibility of those in younger generations to make sure the seniors have everything they need for a comfortable and fulfilling lifestyle. If you’d like to make a career out of caring for those in their retirement years, you may find the ideas in this article to be helpful.

It Starts with Services

In order to be successful in this market – or any market, for that matter – the first thing you need to think about is what services you will offer. What do seniors need, and how can you provide it to them for a reasonable cost? The exact list of services you select will be up to you, but some basic ideas include doing household chores, spending time talking with the individual for companionship, taking pets for a walk, running errands, and more. If you take a few minutes to make a list of the things seniors are likely to need help accomplishing, you should wind up with plenty of ideas to get things started.

Some Characteristics

Your success with an eldercare business will be based on a variety of factors. You need to pick the right services to offer, as mentioned above, and you need to price those services correctly. You’ll also need to find the right market and advertise in a way that is going to win you clients. In addition to those points, it’s also important that you demonstrate the right characteristics to build a business that thrives for years to come. Some key characteristics include the following –

• Highly organized to avoid missing appointments
• Compassionate, valuing the feelings and satisfaction of your clients
• Understanding of the challenges that come along with caring for seniors
• Personable enough to develop relationships and earn referrals

While you can certainly learn some of the skills and traits you need to demonstrate to run this kind of business, it probably won’t work if the list above is a huge departure from your normal personality. Think carefully about your personal traits and whether they would be a good match for this type of operation.

Trust, Trust, Trust

To be invited in to care for someone, that individual needs to trust you. Whether it is the senior choosing to hire you, or one of their loved ones, you need to find a way to establish trust right from the start. The best way to do that is through referrals. Find a way to earn one or two initial clients – perhaps family friends or some other connection – and do a great job. From there, ask for referrals frequently and you should be able to pick up clients on the strength of being recommended by those you have already served. With any luck, the cycle of referrals will continue into the future and you can build a thriving business as a result.

At Caregiving Kinetics, we are pleased to offer a variety of services to help those in the senior care industry. If you would like to find out more about our eldercare business coaching, contact us today!

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Caregiving Kinetics: What’s in a Name?

When Dr. Aaron Blight founded Caregiving Kinetics, he knew that the name of the business had to not only be special, but also be relatable to clients.

You may notice that our company’s name – Caregiving Kinetics – rolls right off your tongue.  It sounds really cool.  It’s fun to say. Despite the euphony of our name, there’s actually a deeper reason we chose to be called Caregiving Kinetics.

Kinetics is a phenomenon of natural science.  In physics, kinetics is the study of forces on bodies in motion.  In chemistry, kinetics is the study of chemical reaction rates. In both chemistry and physics, the term kinetics touches upon motion or the transfer of energy.

The name Caregiving Kinetics references a concept of physical science to symbolically explain a social phenomenon.  Caregiving can be viewed as a kinetic process between a caregiver and a care receiver. Caregiving is not static.  In both the physical and relational aspects of caregiving, dynamics between a caregiver and care receiver change over time as a caregiver reacts to the evolving needs of a care receiver.

Lessons from kinetics offer profound insights into the phenomenon of caregiving. Hence, we call our company Caregiving Kinetics.  We hope you remember our name.  But more importantly, we hope you think about caregiving a little differently because you’ve heard these words together.

If you feel that you or your organization could benefit from our expertise, contact us today. Having been in your position before, we are determined to help you navigate through change and accomplish your objectives through our extensive list of services.

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Four Benefits of Hiring Healthcare Consultants

healthcare consulting

Anytime you choose to add an expense to your budget – such as hiring a healthcare consultant – you need to make sure there are plenty of benefits to justify that cost. Fortunately, as far as retaining the use of a consultant is concerned, you are likely to see a long list of benefits that result directly from your decision. With this article, we would like to highlight four of the many benefits that may come your way once you team up with the right consultant for your needs.

Find Necessary Skills

Even a talented staff is not going to have every single skill needed to run a healthcare business. There is simply too much that goes into the healthcare field to expect your team to be able to cover everything that comes up. Hiring a caregiving workforce consultant is a great way to add a certain skill to your team on a temporary basis. You get to avoid the expense of hiring another full-time employee, yet you can add important skills which will help you finish a project and move your business forward. Rather than wasting time trying to have your existing staff learn a skill with which they are not familiar, simply turn to a consultant and keep everything on track.

Add Experience

There is only one way in which experience can be earned – one day at a time. If your team does not have as much experience as you would like in one particular area, consider using a consultant to immediately have access to years of experience that can help you make smart choices. It’s impossible to fake the wisdom and knowledge that comes with experience, so you shouldn’t expect your teams to try. Instead, you can obtain true experience by hiring a proven consultant to help you with any number of different tasks.

Make an Adjustment

There is a certain amount of momentum that exists within the day to day operation of any business. Once your employees know how the business operates and how things are done each day, it can be hard to encourage them to make changes. This is another way a consultant can be helpful. By having a consultant come in and work toward making alterations to the business, you may be able to enact change where it would have been difficult to spark otherwise.

A Fresh Look

Speaking of change, another roadblock to change when you don’t have a consultant is the fact that everyone in your practice has been seeing things the same way, over and over again, for years. It’s hard to imagine things working any other way, so you wind up just continuing to do what you do. One of the biggest benefits of a consultant is the outsider perspective they can bring to the office. Without the preconceived notions that you and your team can’t escape, the consultant will be able to take a neutral look at everything in order to make valuable recommendations.

Caregiving Kinetics is an internationally-oriented firm offering caregiving consulting services to organizations and groups all over the world. Our clients include organizations that employ caregivers; groups serving families who care for aging loved ones; healthcare providers interested in caregiving; and researchers focused on paid or unpaid caregivers. 

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The Best Time to Hire a Healthcare Consultant

health care consulting
Without a doubt, healthcare is one of the most difficult fields in which to do business. It can be incredibly rewarding, of course, when you are able to provide care that improves – or even saves – someone’s life. However, healthcare is incredibly complex from top to bottom, so there is plenty of work to be done in order to keep any kind of healthcare business on track.

In many cases, one of the best ways to keep a healthcare business moving forward is through the use of a consultant. There are healthcare consultants available in many different areas, allowing your business to gain access to experience and expertise that you may not necessarily have available in-house. So, when should you make the decision to turn to a healthcare consultant? Let’s take a closer look.

Avoid Falling Behind

If you can feel your practice falling behind in a certain area of the business, bringing in a consultant can help you to catch back up and stay on track. With so much to do and most of your staff being spread so thin, it shouldn’t be surprising when you fall behind a bit. That’s nothing to be ashamed of, but you do need to take care of the situation before it gets out of control. For example, if you have started a specific project – like maybe a software upgrade – but haven’t had the time to finish it, problems may arise while you are waiting. Retaining the services of a consultant who can help to get the job done and checked off the list will be a big relief.

Looking to the Future

Your practice doesn’t have to be in a state of flux in order to consider hiring a consultant. In fact, one of the best times to bring in help is when things are going well at the moment. If your current business is rolling along nicely, think about bringing in a consultant to help you look toward the future. What can you do moving forward to keep your business on the right track? Do you have ambitions to make big gains down the line, or are you simply hoping to maintain your current status for years to come? An experienced consultant can help you chart an ambitious, yet realistic, path to follow as time moves along.

Your Team Needs Help

Even if you hire the best available people in your segment of the healthcare field, those individuals are still going to have areas where they need assistance. Properly training your staff is critical, but you might not have the time or knowledge to do the training yourself. This is again where a consultant can pay big dividends. Bring in a talented consultant who is knowledgeable in the relevant area and can help bring your staff up to speed. This is an investment which is likely to keep paying off for years to come, as even a one-time training event can make a powerful impact on your team’s ability to get the job done.

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Aaron’s Transformative Learning Experiences

Conference Speaker

This week I had the opportunity to speak at the International Transformative Learning Conference at Columbia University in New York City. The event prompted me to think about transformative learning experiences that have occurred at various stages of my life.

Caregiving for my mother-in-law at a relatively young age presented a disorienting dilemma to our family that was totally unanticipated. Nobody imagines getting a brain tumor, so when one appears, it’s an existential shock to you and those who love you. Our family rallied around Mom, giving her as much support as possible as she invited a surgeon, skilled as he may be, to cut open her skull, remove the unwelcome mass, and staple her cranium back together. We did not know if she would survive the surgery, or if she survived, how long she would live afterwards. We didn’t know how our lives would be affected in the future. All we knew is that Mom needed help; she needed it now; and we had to be there for her. So she moved into our home.

As I reflect upon the ensuing five years of care that our family provided to my mother-in-law, I see this as the transformational pivot of my professional life. My career is punctuated by a defining transition of work “before” and “after” caregiving, even though the care for Mom was a personal family matter. Before Mom got sick, I had been working as a human resources professional and a healthcare policy wonk. After taking care of Mom, I became the owner of a home care company and a caregiving scholar.

When we were enveloped in the day-to-day care of Mom, we had no sense of perspective on what was happening to our family. We faced one day at a time. Only through subsequent experiences working with families in similar caregiving situations, employing professional caregivers who know how to transition through end-of-life stages, and exposing myself to rich insights born from research have I come to truly understand the quiet strain and heroic service that caregiving exacts from individuals, families, and society.

Now through Caregiving Kinetics, I have the privilege of helping organizations to raise awareness of the caregiving process and develop ways to effectively support those who care. When I was younger, I never envisioned myself involved in such work, but today I cannot see myself doing anything else.

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The Benefits of Business Coaching

caregiving business advisement


Generally speaking, confidence is a good thing in business. You need to be confident in your ideas, and you need to believe in your abilities. However, as is the case with most things, too much confidence can be a problem. Sometimes, the best thing you can do is ask for help, or at least invite in another opinion to point you in the right direction. For many business professionals, especially in the caregiving and healthcare industries, that means turning to business coaching.

Some professionals turn away from business coaching because they think they already know the answers, they are afraid to hear the truth, or they simply don’t want to spend the money. Unfortunately, that means they miss out on the many benefits that are associated with quality business coaching, such as those listed below.


Hear the Honest Truth

It’s hard to get honest opinions in the business world, when only talking to those who work for or with you. That’s unfortunate, but it’s the truth. In the workplace, many people are hesitant to say what they really think, as that means going out on a limb with their ideas and perspective. More frequently, employees will just toe the line, agreeing with what those above them have said.

When you decide to bring in some business coaching, you can put these worries to the side. A business coach is paid specifically to provide honest feedback and perspective, so that is exactly what he or she will do. Without having to think about long-term career implications like someone who works within the organization, a business coach is free from limitations and will be able to give it to you straight.


Open Up a New Perspective

It can be hard to see your business in new and creative ways when you work inside it day after day. The rhythm that comes along with a business is self-sustaining in many ways, and it’s easy to just ‘go with the flow’ and keep things as they are. But what if sticking with the status quo means missing out on big opportunities? That would be a shame. A business coach can open your mind to new perspectives and perhaps spot opportunities that you and your team have overlooked to this point.


Open Up to Risk

This point goes along with the previous one, but it takes it a step further. Once you see things from a new perspective, you may be encouraged by your business coach to take a risk that you would have otherwise shied away from pursuing. Again, this comes back to the idea of sticking with the status quo. If business is going okay, you might feel like playing it safe and avoiding the risks that need to be taken in order to reach a new level. Unfortunately, most businesses are not able to succeed without taking on some degree of risk. If a business coach can help you to accept and manage the risks that come along with a big opportunity, it’s possible that major growth will lie ahead.

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Great Reasons to Hire a Keynote Speaker

caregiving conference


As you are planning an event, it would be relatively easy to make the decision to skip bringing in a keynote speaker. After all, there is no doubt that this can be a costly inclusion in your event, especially if the person is notable in your industry, such as a healthcare speaker. However, despite the cost, there are plenty of compelling reasons to include a quality, motivational keynote speaker as part of your event.


Deliver Big Value

More than anything else, the best reason to hire a keynote speaker is simply to deliver value to your audience. You want the attendees to leave the event thinking that their time and money were both well spent. A powerful keynote speaker can close the event with a bang and leave everyone feeling fulfilled.

The last thing you want out of your event is for your attendees to feel like they have been sold something that didn’t live up to the billing. Not only is that a disappointing feeling for you as an organizer, it will also put the future of the event in jeopardy. Many attendees will not want to return if they weren’t happy with their experience, and those who were considering coming next year will be turned off by the bad reviews. Simply put, it is better to over-deliver when putting on an event, so you can thrill your audience and leave them excited to return.


Grow the Event

No matter what kind of event you are putting on, there are sure to be people who are on the fence with regard to whether or not they should attend. Some of your target market will sign up immediately, knowing that the event is important for their career or business – regardless of the presence of a keynote speaker. But what about the rest? If you want to put on a hugely successful event, you’ll need something to take those people from ‘maybes’ into attendees.

The great thing about using this strategy is you can also please the people who were going to attend the event anyway. In other words, you’ll grow your numbers thanks to the speaker you bring in, and you’ll also provide a better experience for those who were already planning to attend. It’s a win-win and a big boost for the future of your event.


The Power of a Name

This last point is particularly important for events which are relatively new and still trying to carve out a place in the market. Bringing in a notable keynote speaker is a great way to confer credibility on the event as a whole. When those in an industry, such as healthcare, find out that a particular motivational speaker is going to be at the event, everything about the event is raised to a higher level.

Of course, it should go without saying that perhaps the most important part of picking a speaker is finding someone who is relevant in your industry and has something to add to the event as a whole. Bringing in a big name is not good enough if that person is present only for name recognition – they need to have a message which is on topic, valuable, and interesting to everyone in your audience. Once you find the right speaker, making the decision to hire that individual will be a no-brainer.