By Siew Mei Chew
Seniora is an on-demand senior assistance service based in Taiping, Perak which aims to provide physical and mental support to seniors citizens wanting to retire at home.
The idea came about when I was on a working holiday in New Zealand. I witnessed how my beloved landlady had to leave her quality, independent and self-sustained life behind after she suffered a serious ankle sprain.
Her children could gave her a choice between a nursing home or living with her children in another city. This meant that she would be losing both her freedom and independence.
Surprisingly, her wish to live at home was granted. The New Zealand government promised to send a caregiver to assist her daily life. This is something unheard of in Malaysia.
As to why I started this in Taiping, it is because that’s where I am from.
I always hear from my parents and neighbours about someone who is need of help. And of course, I did help them with their MySejahtera apps, escorting them to vaccination centers, and getting groceries. These day to day tasks gave me an affirmation that this service has a demand.
Thus, I started my one-man show at home right after I came back from New Zealand. I have never started a business and I have no connection with any entrepreneurs or businessmen whom I can consult.
I learnt everything online on my own, from branding, marketing, setting up a website to servicing. It’s never been easy especially when there’s no one for you to discuss things.
From time to time, I constantly would doubt myself. Is my service valuable to the seniors and their adult children? Are they willing to spend money on it since this is a new concept in Taiping.
However, all these doubts slowly cleared off when I received supportive and motivating feedback from my clients. I remember the first testimonial made me excited.
My background in pharmacy has definitely helped me in providing comprehensive information to the caretakers about their parents’ health and in handling their medication.
Seniora is still in a very early stage. Currently, it is working towards building a solid customer base. To achieve that, I’m focusing on acquiring the community’s trust instead of making a profit.
The pandemic has restricted us from connecting face to face with the community but it also present an opportunity to build trust. I still have to figure out alternative approach to reach the seniors out, who are tech-illiterate.
Yes, the struggle is real and it will always be there!
But I guess that’s what makes the journey fruitful and unforgettable.
About the Author: Siew Mei Chew is the founder of Seniora which started this May.
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