Beth Montocchio qualified as a nursing sister and mid-wife in her early 20’s, but left nursing soon afterwards to work in the corporate sector where she spent most of her working career. She worked her way up from a secretarial position, into the accounts department and then into IT and project management, eventually becoming a warehouse manager.
However, during her early 40’s disaster struck when she was retrenched from her job. “I thought it was the end of the world, and did not know what to do. I took a gap year and pondered what I could do. All I knew was that I wanted to have the best of both worlds, being able to spend time with my children and work,” says Beth.
Soon after, Beth met up with an old acquaintance that was looking after the elderly. It was then that Beth realised that she wanted to go back to her nursing roots and put them to good use in serving the elderly. “Many old people’s family members are overseas, making it impossible for them to take care of their ageing parents. The elderly are still human and need to be treated with dignity and care. I realised that there is a demand for people who can take the time to care for, and spend time with, the elderly and I wanted to do this rewarding work,” says Beth.
One year ago Beth launched Twilight Care, a company that focuses on serving and caring for the aged. Beth provides services such as:
- Caring Companionship
- Co-ordinate Home Services
- Doctor’s Visits
- Financial Management
- Live-in Home Care
- Meal planning/Grocery Shopping
- Medication assistance
- Personal Care
- Stimulation and Activities
Initially Beth meets with the elderly client’s siblings or children to discuss what is needed. Then she spends the day with the client assessing what services would be best to serve that person and the number of hours and the kind of activities that would be beneficial. This all depends on the age and ability of the client.
Beth spends most of her time just visiting, talking and listening to her elderly clients. She also does many creative activities with them, including painting, beadwork, chocolate making, soap making, scrapbooking, card making, reading, dancing and singing. “Anything that is simple, easy and enjoyable for them to do,” explains Beth.
Beth also oversees all other aspects of the clients care such as medical care and home help to make sure that everything is taken care of. “I encourage home based care instead of placing the elderly in institutions to care for them. While home based care is usually a more expensive option, it helps the elderly client to feel safe, secure and relaxed in their own home where they are familiar with things,” says Beth.
Beth relies mostly on word of mouth referrals to market her services as she finds that this attracts the right calibre of client that she is looking for, which is especially people with children living overseas who cannot care for them.
“The best thing about my job is the smiles I receive from my clients when I spend quality time with them. I love extending compassion and care to the elderly and seeing their appreciation and enjoyment,” says Beth.
Embarking on any new venture has its challenges and Beth has had to face many as she pursues her dream of caring for the elderly who don’t have others close by to care for them. It has been difficult to identify the right target market and develop a suitable client base. Also, relying on word of mouth marketing is often unreliable and uncertain. Beth also has to deal with family politics in client’s families; working with retirement home nursing sisters who do not treat the elderly with dignity and respect; and working with untrained caregivers who are unqualified to care for the elderly properly.
In giving advice to others who want to start a new venture, Beth advices people to make sure they have the financial backing they will need to tide them over for a few months before starting out. “If you have the passion and are dedicated and work hard at establishing your business, you will be successful!”
“My new venture has enabled me to achieve my dream of having the best of both worlds. I am able to organise my time around my children’s activities so that I can spend quality time with my daughters, while still enjoying the fulfilling and rewarding work that I do to serve the elderly. Being retrenched in my 40s was the best thing that could have happened to me as now I have a career with purpose and fulfilment that I can manage in my own time,” she concludes.