People are living longer and, ideally, they’d be living longer at home. Pragmatically, this means that they and their primary caretaker(s) would need support not just for medical care, but for errands and companionship, as well. Enter Rona Goodman and her small business, Bubbymobile.com.
“Bubbymobile.com is a senior concierge service that offers a multitude of non-medical services to families. They include companionship, lunch, errand running, grocery shopping, accompanying to medical appointments and check-ups, transportation, walks and more,” Goodman told the Jewish Independent.
Goodman thought of the concept for Bubbymobile.com a few years ago but waited until the pandemic subsided and it was safe to launch.
“I would say it’s been around a year since I started, and it is going very well,” she said. “It’s growing organically and that’s the way I wanted it. Mostly word of mouth and recommendations, and that’s the best advertising you can get. I would love to meet more families in the community.
“The concept came to fruition when I was visiting my friend’s mom who was in a seniors home. I would take her for walks and be her companion. I met several people in the facility who didn’t have anyone visit them or assist with their non-medical needs. After researching, I thought this service would be a great resource to complement what is already out there.”
Goodman named her business after her maternal grandmother.
“My bubby was the best and the matriarch of our family,” said Goodman. “I’m from Montreal and grew up with a close family because of my bubby and zadie. Every Friday night since I can remember, we would have dinner at their house with my family, aunts, uncles and cousins. We all grew up together and I wanted to honour my bubby with the name.”
Goodman said she had two wonderful grandmothers, but “my dad’s was my grandmother…. Both were lovely but I did spend more time with my bubby cause of Friday night dinners. But we (me, my brother and sister) did visit my grandmother and would take her out for drives and lunches/dinners and had lovely visits. She made the best coleslaw…. Both of my grandfathers passed when I was pretty young. Everyone has had a bubby or grandmother or grandfather, so it’s really in honour of them all!”
For Goodman, two of the best things about being Jewish are family and giving back. “You take care of the ones you love and give back to others who may not be as fortunate,” she said. “There was always an extra plate for dinner at Bubby’s house for drop-ins and friends. You also must be compassionate, patient, a good listener, understanding, kind and giving to do this kind of work. That’s how I walk through this world and this service is a natural fit for me. I also do volunteer work for VCDS (Vancouver Cancer Drivers Society), a wonderful organization that involves transportation.”
In addition to Bubbymobile.com, Goodman is a musician and a public-relations professional.
“My professional life has always been about passion, creativity and being of service,” she said about the common threads that tie her diverse endeavours together. “I’ve worked in the music industry for over 25 years in many areas of the business. From record labels, musician, songwriter to sales, marketing and publicity. As a PR person, I’ve learned a lot about communication, understanding people’s needs, listening to their stories and reaching out and engaging community – I think it brings out the kid in me and keeps me vibrant and young. These qualities are important when working with seniors, as it’s parallel in many ways.
“As a composer, songwriter and producer, I tell stories through music, lyrics and composition,” she added. “Music is a healer and there is nothing better to lift the soul. To be a composer, you need to write about life’s experiences and adventures. That’s why I love hearing the stories shared by my seniors. What a gift to be in their presence really. I would happily pick up my guitar and sit and play some music for someone that I’m working with. It’s fun and I’m grateful that I can give that little extra service to my clients. There is nothing better than to share the love of music.”
Ultimately, Goodman would like to be able to offer Bubbymobile’s services in every community in the province.
“In the long term,” she said, “I would like to build the business so it can develop into a franchise opportunity across Canada. The more I talk with people, the more excited they are that I’m doing this and how much it is needed. As we grow older, we are living longer, and I find it does provide some relief for families looking for that extra support. I’ve talked with families who may not be living in Vancouver who need extra assistance for their loved ones. Many are also too busy with work and raising families to visit during the week. That’s why I’m here – for that extra support.”