In 2013, my Dad gave me a piece of paper with “the names you’ll need when something happens to me.”
It was a significant moment that really “woke me up” to the fact that my parents were getting older (faster than I thought – were they 70 now???) . Why did I need the name of his doctors, lawyers, financial advisor….and his neighbor in case of an emergency?
In 2014, I took my Mom and Dad to see the Wimbledon tennis tournament.
This was something that would have never happened if I hadn’t been “woken up” to the fact that they were getting older quicker than I realized. And might I add this is hands down my best memory ever with my parents and we still talk about it multiple times a year even five years later. Being with my parents24/7again, 30 years later, also really opened my eyes to what they were now going through at this stage of their life – from getting up stairs, to medicines taken at the right times, to their energy levels, it really opened my eyes that I needed to better understand what they were going through at this stage of their lives.
In 2015, I started a company called WonderDads.
My own kids were 7 and 8, and I was looking for ways to be a better Dad. While spending so much time obsessing over this, I realized I was neglecting my own parents in the interim, and struggling on both fronts, and that there must be other “adult kids” like me struggling with balancing being a parent themselves while still trying to be a good son/daughter to their own parents (something incredibly hard at this stage of life when trying to raise your own kids).
In 2016, I had 8 friends who were all going through issues with one of their parents.
I knew it was time to do something professionally that was “more meaningful” and that had the potential to help my friends, and maybe millions others. So I started doing my own research and testing on what would be the best resources for our generation to support our parents as they got older. I also flew to see my parents in Florida this year. I set up an Alexa in their home, helped fix their computer, set them up with an online password app so they could throw away the pieces of paper with passwords on them – simple things, but meaningful things.
Over the course of 2017-2018, we released the first version of ParentFile.
It was pretty basic, but I knew we were onto something as it was already helping me and my friends with some of our unique “hacks” we came up with. And the best part was that although some of the resources were geared towards “medical stuff” and “emergencies,” just as many were focused on preserving family history and bringing up fun topics of conversation such as how our family ended up in America, grandma’s mysterious “orange cookie” recipe, and why our family shortened our last name from “Aspatorian” to “Aspatore” – something I would have never, ever found out if it wasn’t for ParentFile!
In 2019, we added more staff to our company and moved our headquarters to Marin County, California.
We also released ParentFile 2.0, an updated version we are all incredibly proud of that has new features such as our “Parent Clubs” that we think our subscribers will love! It’s also been three years since I’ve seen my own parents, something that makes me feel like not the greatest son (my sister sees them all the time). Yet when I see them in July, all is forgotten, they are in fact my parents, and being with them makes me realize it’s never too late to “step up” and be there for them. And I will. And I hope that ParentFile can make it just a little bit easier for you to be there for your parents as well.
Here’s to being there for our parents and making the most of every year we have left together.
– Jonathan Aspatore, Founder & CEO