Helping The Elderly At Appointments
In 2010, Oretha accompanied her father to Seremban Hospital for one of his scheduled cancer exams.
They sat down and watched the many elderly people get lost, looking confused as they searched the premises for clinics and pharmacies.
The idea of creating a hospital service to help seniors with their appointments germinated in his mind.
When she shared it with her dad he said, “Start now lah. Do you see that uncle who seems blurry? Go ask him where he wants to go.
9 years later, Oretha launched its first commercial ad, calling it Senior Concierge Services.
Similar to GoGet, but for older people
Within a week of sharing about his business online, inquiries poured in from potential customers in KL and overseas.
From the second week, she managed to book her first 2 clients.
In June of this year, the service was renamed Oretha Senior Concierge Services in an effort to make its brand more recognizable.
This service reminded me of GoGet, the gig economy platform that connects strangers to help them get things done for others.
Oretha’s services work a little differently. She hires freelancers which consist of students, retirees and housewives who contact after seeing her ads.
An appointment will then be scheduled with the candidates, which takes place exactly like any other job interview.
She would meet with candidates, get to know them, and brief them on her recurring clients, SOPs and job goals.
On the customer side, they would book Oretha’s service via Whatsapp or email, which can be found on their Facebook page.
Upon receipt of requests, Oretha makes a point of always calling its customers to better understand their needs.
“I think the first point of contact is very important. When customers hear your voice and we make the effort to call them, they know we are genuine, ”she says.
Appointment details such as date, time, hospital, purpose of visit and client’s home address are recorded.
“If I can’t go, I will let clients know in advance that one of the freelancers will assist them,” she added.
This allows him to never refuse the elderly.
Sometimes Oretha even made a preliminary visit to the residences for the elderly to get to know them better and to know their children better.
It tends to help relieve their anxiety before going on dates with a stranger.
Keep it human
Just like any other concierge service, you would expect there to be an app for easy reservations and payment transactions.
But Oretha is keen to stick to its current management system, where appointments are made through personal contacts.
Freelancers are delegated to a task based on Oretha’s availability, and payments are collected online after the completion of each service.
“I recognize that with an app, I am able to manage reporting systems, reservations and online payments. But it also loses the human touch of what my business is, ”she said.
The whole idea of the service is meant to make a personal connection between its clients and their helpers, after all.
An app can also confuse seniors who would otherwise be already independent to make their own reservations by calling Oretha themselves.
And it is also in line with the objectives of the service: to help seniors live their own independent lives.
It’s a slow process, but her clients appreciate the effort.
I never thought of giving up. Yes, physically and mentally it is tiring but I know that every time I visit them they look forward to it. I take the time to listen to them, even though they have told me the same story every week, I look at their needs as if they are my own parents.
Oretha, founder of Oretha Senior Concierge Services
Extend aid to the less fortunate
Oretha works full time on her concierge service.
To support the cost of her living, she sets a goal of helping clients for a total of 100 hours per month.
It also keeps business costs low by caring for the elderly on its own without hiring permanent staff.
The prices of the packages for its services are:
- RM700 for 4 visits in one month;
- RM1 200 for 8 visits in one month.
Each senior will be accompanied by an assistant for 4 hours per visit in the packages.
For non-packages it will cost RM 45 per hour.
The fees include gasoline, parking and toll for those around KL and PJ.
Transportation charges will apply to those outside of this range.
As for what’s next, Oretha intends to contact the B40 senior group and provide their services to them for free.
“I hope the grants or angel investors can see this as a way to reach out to the community,” she said.
“It allows them to have continuous access to appropriate health care and to understand why they are being treated by doctors.”
It might seem like a tall order, but Oretha is optimistic she can make it happen.
- You can read more about Oretha’s senior concierge services here.
- You can read more about other Malaysian startups here.
Featured Image Credit: Oretha, Founder of Oretha Senior Concierge Services
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