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From Consultant to Client: ‘Lifespark Saved My Life’ – Jim Shares His Story

  • Nov 17, 2022
  • Cathy Gasiorowicz
  • 5-min Read

Jim Lynn was just seven years old when his father died, leaving his mother to raise six children on her own. Three months later, in July 1949, he was in a car crash that left his family alive but sprawled unconscious on a lawn. “With no father, and my mother in the hospital, I was free to roam the streets of Scranton [Pennsylvania],” Jim said, “but I was raised to value independence and self-reliance—and I was scrappy.”

A few years later, the family moved to New Jersey.  Wanting to play golf but having no money, Jim got a job as a caddy, bought himself a set of clubs, and soon became known as the ‘golf doctor.’  He failed freshman year of college, spent a year on the railroad, broke his leg in a motorcycle accident, and decided to go back to school.

Two days after graduation, Jim was “recruited” by the U.S. Army. He volunteered for Infantry Officer Candidate School, but instead of becoming an Infantry Officer, he was transferred to Military Intelligence and sent to the Defense Language Institute in California, where he met the love of his life, Anita. A year after returning from Vietnam, Jim and Anita were married. She died in 2016. 

Consultant and CEO Whisperer

In 1979, with an Ed.D. in counseling psychology, Jim decided to launch his own management consulting firm “and I’ve been my own boss ever since,” he said. Among his clients were Fortune 100 companies, so when a small home care company reached out for consulting help, he turned them down.   

Fortunately, the young owners refused to take ‘no’ for an answer. “After about six or seven pleas, I finally agreed to have lunch with them, and before dessert arrived, I was sold,” Jim said. “During the next 18 years, I helped them as they grew their business from $200K to $120M with branches across the country.” 

That partnership was fortunate for another reason. “It’s where I met Joel Theisen [Lifespark Founder and CEO] who joined the company and quickly moved into the leadership side of home care,” Jim said. “I saw his genius, his energy, and his potential and started to mentor him.”

Knowing Whom to Call

Both men moved on, but in 2004, when Joel was launching Lifespark, then called AgeWell Home Care, he hired Jim to design and implement a two-year leadership development program. Jim and Joel maintained their friendship, meeting for breakfast periodically to talk about life and work. They also talked about Lifespark’s nontraditional ideas about complete senior health. Which is why, when Jim suddenly needed an alternative to ‘usual care,’ he knew exactly whom to call.

“It was October 17, 2020. I was getting a coffee at Starbuck’s when I tripped on some loose carpeting and hit the floor,” Jim said. “I was taken to a small rural hospital where the docs took one look at me and said, ‘You need more help than we can give you.’” He was transported to North Memorial Health, a Level 1 trauma center, diagnosed with multiple rib fractures, two compression fractures, a fractured clavicle, and a broken finger. He spent the next 13 days in the ICU, hooked up to oxygen and a chest tube to remove blood from around his lungs.

Not certain Jim would make it, the doctors asked him what he wanted. “I told them to put me into palliative care and not to intubate me, no matter what,” he said. “Once I was stable, they wanted to send me to a rehab facility, but this being the height of the COVID pandemic with no vaccine in sight, I said, ‘No way.’ I knew there was another option that would be much safer, healthier, and better for me, so I called Lifespark.”

In His Own Words, Jim Shares’s His Story: Watch Now

Full Team Support

Between his Nurse Practitioner with Lifespark COMPLETETM, his Occupational Therapist and Podiatrist with Skilled Home Health, and Don, his live-in Lifespark caregiver with Community Home Care, Jim was able to recover at home. After two months of around-the-clock care, he was doing well enough to manage on his own with occasional help from an in-home aide.

But then, at the end of January 2021, he started having trouble breathing. A trip to the ER landed him back in the ICU to remove two liters of blood from around his lungs, and three months later, a third hospitalization to remove fluid from his chest cavity. 

It’s been a little over two years since the fall that nearly ended his life, and Jim, now 80, is back in full form. “If you had asked me where would I be without Lifespark today, I really wonder if I’d even be alive,” said Jim Lynn. “In many ways, Lifespark really helped save my life.”

“Nobody ever said that life was going to be easy or fair, but I have a fantastic Lifespark team, I work as much or as little as I want, and I have great support and love from my family and neighbors,” he said. “I’ve always been resilient, something I probably owe to little seven-year-old Jimmy who had to figure out how to fend for himself.”

To learn how Lifespark can support your desire for a fuller, more independent life—wherever you call home—visit Lifespark COMPLETE or call 952-345-8770.

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