Couple staying in touch to protect the elderly
A DESIRE to better protect elderly men and women living alone drives Irene and Ian Manson in their new business.
Both aged in their 60s, the couple left a management rights business to set up CareCallingNow, a web-based enterprise that keeps in constant touch with those needing attention, nine months ago.
Irene said vulnerable people on the call list for the daily "welfare check" could be disabled, elderly or post-operative.
"All the info we need is their name, address and phone number," she said.
"We do one call a day at a pre-determined time.
"It becomes part of the daily routine - basically a 'hi' and push a key, then the call is registered.
"Because it's a third party, it's not so invasive."
If there is no response, CareCallingNow makes another two attempts to make contact before calling in someone who can go into the house and check on the person.
"Whoever's paying the bill will get a call or text, plus an email," Irene said.
"Three or four days is common to be on the floor if they have nothing in place.
"Our service is primarily peace of mind.
"If you just save one person from dying alone and unnoticed, then we've done our job."
The online service is international, covering America, Australia, Canada and New Zealand, and operates from the couple's home at Varsity Lakes on the Gold Coast.
The Mansons are working with in-home care organisations to grow their business.
As that happens, they will employ more semi-retirees.
One of the motivations for starting the business was an experience with Ian's mum, who was living alone.
"We bought her one of those medical alert necklaces, but she refused to wear it," Irene said.
"She had a stroke and, even if she'd been wearing it, she was paralysed and couldn't use it."
Irene says that running a business via the internet allows the flexibility to work when they need to and to prioritise personal commitments such as picking up the grandchildren from school.
Ian is the "tech" wizard in the business, and admits that side of it is challenging.
"I've always had an interest in online," he said.
"Our service is working so far, and so we're happy."
CareCallingNow is offering a free seven-day trial - go to www.carecallingnow.com for details.
Tech-savvy baby boomers are rivalling their younger counterparts as the most ambitious entrepreneur demographic.
Seniors are recording more than double the start-up rate of their Gen Y counterparts, with an estimated 14,000 starting up new businesses in 2016.
The nbn™ Silver Economy report reveals increased connectivity is helping redefine the ways seniors are spending their golden years, with two-thirds (67%) going online to earn an income.
More than half (58%) are using the internet to pursue passion projects from home and more than a third (37%) are going online to connect with their volunteering community.
Dr Alex Maritz, Professor of Entrepreneurship at La Trobe University, says that seniors achieve higher business success rates than their younger counterparts.
"One-in-three are serial entrepreneurs. They are less volatile, their ventures are more profitable, they invest in their start-ups with larger accumulated wealth and use their human capital to produce income for their own needs and benefit the overall economy," he said.
"These entrepreneurs may be pulled or pushed into self-employment; however, their entrepreneurship is often not just an economic phenomenon, with research showing keeping mentally stimulated, staying physically active, contributing to society and lifting self-confidence are all motivating factors contributing to the trend.
"With a lifetime of experience behind them, seniors are more capable of starting a business than their younger peers - having more developed networks, better business experience, superior technical and managerial skills and almost double the industry experience."