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Serving Fulton, Hancock, Henderson, Henry, Knox, McDonough, Mercer, Schuyler, Rock Island, and Warren Counties.

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I hear many stories while meeting with families. My role is to assess needs and develop care plans that help people stay in their homes, and I’m often asking questions about the person’s life, as well as interesting facts about them and their families. I sometimes think I learn more from them than they do from me. It can be hard for some people to give up their jobs, businesses, and hobbies due to aging. Unfortunately this becomes a reality with the aging process. I think it is important for people to think positively about this new chapter in their life and how their business legacy might live on in different, yet successful, ways.  


I was working with a family not long ago, and they have given me permission to tell their story. The woman had recently sold her business to her 20-year-old grandson. She had founded the business and worked hard growing it. This particular business made Christmas Tree ornaments with cookie dough. It is called Dough Delights.


She explained the anxiety she had over handing off her business as “Founder’s Syndrome”. She saw her grandson doing things differently than her, and this made her worry. She had hand cut each cookie cutter herself and they were very delicate, especially when considering the time and labor involved in making them. She had used craft shows to market her items and would ask people where they worked and used that information to contact businesses about buying special ornaments for their staff. She had always kept regular business hours during the day.    


Her grandson was now designing cookie cutters with a 3-D printer. He could design and cut them within minutes and if one was dropped and broken, a new one could be made in a fraction of the time. He utilized their website to reach organizations to purchase large orders of ornaments at a click of a button. He was able to give wholesale discounts due to the quantity he was selling. He prefers to work in the afternoons so the business was not open in the morning.  


I think of all the aging people this story can apply to. In this area, a lot of farmers are handing off their family business to a younger generation of farmers. Small business owners are selling—in many cases—to younger people, who see and do things in a different way. This raises concerns for older adults. This story shows that new and different ways of doing things does not mean your legacy will be ruined; it will thrive in unique ways. Do not let fears of the things that are different stop you from retiring and enjoying the next chapter of your life.


I also think we need to give more credit to the younger generation that are doing things successfully, but in different ways. This is what they know, and it does not mean they are wrong. Often times, their skill-set can make the business more prosperous.


This younger generation can make really great caregivers too. They are eager to learn from older people and enjoy sharing information about the things they are familiar with. This mentoring relationship is good for them and good for the older person they are caring for.  


If you or someone you know is in need of assistance in their home, please call Western Illinois Home Health Care at 800-228-5993. We are a full service provider dedicated to helping people remain in their homes.   


Amanda Powell, BSW, is a Senior Care Manager at Western Illinois Home Health Care


Back to News & Events

April 2017

by Amanda Powell

Founder’s Syndrome: When handing over is hard to do