“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

My grandparents could do everything, until one day, they couldn’t.

I was used to the weekends when I would play tennis matches and card games with my grandpa and enjoy my grandma’s famous chicken cutlets.

They were so healthy into their 90s that my family never talked about the end of their lives.

Then, we noticed a change. We heard about my grandma’s lost car keys, and we learned of my grandpa’s missed doctor appointments. Their health rapidly declined, and my family scrambled to care for them and search for elder care professionals.

Emotions and expenses ran high, and many of their final good days were spent signing legal and financial documents.

Their passing has given me a new sense of purpose — to ensure that other families avoid a similar experience. I’m starting a company that helps families prepare for aging so that they can spend time on relationships, not on paperwork.

Statistics indicate that my startup is likely to fail. But, if I can help even one family, I know that my grandpa will be looking down and saying, “I’m proud of you, kiddo.”

— Jeff Barkas