Anita Gödiker is founder and managing director of Satellite Office. Her main office is usually in Berlin, but most of the time she is on the road in one of the eleven locations. That suddenly came to an end more than nine weeks ago. Now she mainly sits in her “guest room” in Emsland and takes care of her 94-year-old mother, who suffers from dementia and whose “day care” has been closed – and additionally steers the company safely and superiorly through the crisis.
“Dementia in the immediate family, hundreds of miles away, and a business that needs close guidance right now. How do you cope with that, Anita Gödiker?
Sometimes I don’t know that either. It is already an enormous challenge, goes to the reserves. In my “one room suite” – my “guest room” in my mother’s house by the way- with limited internet – rural area – I often have to be inventive, but that’s me, that’s the smallest problem. I think it’s much worse that family caregivers of dementia patients have no voice in this society. My mother is usually placed in a day care facility and is very happy there. However, the day cares had to be closed at the beginning of the lockdown. For us relatives, this means taking over this part completely. There is no outside support whatsoever. For people with dementia, a familiar environment provides a high level of security and stability, so it is not possible to quickly find another option. So at the moment I am a nurse and a manager in one. I often read about overburdened families in relation to children, but nothing at all about overburdened daughters or sons with parents suffering from dementia. I don’t think that officially exists. Right now I’m maxed out, like many others in my situation. And yet, fortunately, I experience many beautiful moments of connection with my mother, who is otherwise quite spry. This makes me feel positive again every day. Very stressful is indeed the distance of over 1000 km and the agreement of two “worlds” at the same time. This is mentally and also physically demanding. There is no end in sight because family caregivers are simply not the focus. Old and very old people are unfortunately only seen in the context of retirement and nursing homes. That is bitter.
By the way, the picture above shows Anita Gödiker on a business trip to Düsseldorf, at the very beginning of the Corona crisis, therefore still without masks. NRW was considered very dangerous at that time. Since the entrepreneur did not have a care option for her mother, but building inspections had to take place at Satellite Office in Düsseldorf, she unceremoniously packed the senior citizen into the car and took her with her.
Pass it on if you read this. Awareness needs to be raised here so that this part of society also enters the political arena. The entire Satellite Office team has been an enormous support during this time, giving me the freedom to master both major challenges in an incredibly united team effort. Thanks for that. Chapeau!