Lily Teh is an experienced nurse with over 30 years under her belt. She is also Homage’s Care Specialist. Her typical workday revolves around visiting homes to conduct care assessments for a better understanding of the care needs. She shares her accidental stumble into nursing, home care and how it led her to a lifetime of care.
My stumble into nursing
Growing up, I was like any other child, just a bit more playful and a tad more curious. I had no big aspirations, in fact, my goal then was to escape from studying. At 19, I took up a nursing opportunity on the advice of my sister who told me that I would not need to study hard to become a nurse. It seemed like the perfect escape plan. Little did I know that it was a lie and that this would be a pivotal moment in my life.
From Malaysia to Singapore
Moving from Malaysia to Singapore was a fresh and exciting journey. The first three years of nursing study was the highlight of my youth. We were young and free, always up for some play after nursing school ended.
Then came graduation, and I formally embarked on my nursing journey in Singapore General Hospital (SGH). Being a nurse is like taking a trip down the journey of life. As I cared for patients, I experienced life’s fragility and mortality, in the face of injuries and illnesses. Appreciation and empathy towards others, especially my own family members, grew and became second nature to me.
Through my nursing career, I grew to realise that I love caring for people. Being able to care for the patients, watching their health improve day-by-day and finally, leaving the hospital healthier than before gave me immense satisfaction and joy. Being a nurse also led me to my now-husband and having a happy family of five.
A match made by Google
When I hit my fifties, I took a hard look at my priorities and decided to quit my job. I wanted to pursue my true passion, caring for people, till I retire. As I moved up the nursing career ladder, my focus had shifted from caring to mentoring and managing junior nurses. While this was a fulfilling responsibility, it didn’t fill me with the same level of purpose.
I searched for jobs online and came across Homage who was looking for individuals to care for seniors. I applied and became a Homage Care Pro. Being a Care Pro was great – it rekindled my love for care.
During my free time, I now have an avenue to resume caring for individuals beyond my family. The flexibility in my role as a freelance Homage Care Pro meant that family time was safeguarded. It allowed me to continue my hunt for my dream career, while providing the benefit of an income.
My greatest happiness comes from being able to interact with the seniors and their families. It is truly rewarding to be able to fill the gap and help a family in providing care whenever they need extra support. Being welcomed into their homes, entrusted with the care and life of someone’s loved one, and getting acknowledged for the dedicated care provided – these have all been deeply humbling moments in my life.
This spurred me to take up a full-time role at Homage, as a Care Specialist when the opportunity arose. Not only could I continue to care for seniors directly, but I am now also able to deepen interactions with the family and seniors. It was exactly what I was missing when I was exploring to further my career as a care professional. Simply put, this was what I was looking for.
Providing the right care
As a Care Specialist, my day revolves around visits to the homes of the care recipients. These sessions, which are personalised care assessments, take place before care commences. I play a part in facilitating the discussion of the care needed, addressing the concerns of the senior and the family, advise on the care arrangement, and provide caregiving tips.
Being nurse-trained complements the visits as I can easily assess the senior’s overall health and bodily functions while observing the home surroundings for potential dangers during care.
It is also during these sessions where we have the chance to interact with the families face-to-face. To be able to guide and support them as they navigate through this new chapter of caregiving in their lives is immensely fulfilling to me.
It’s all about the heart
My journey in providing care over the years has taught me a very simple but fundamental value. I’ve learnt that what is important when providing care, is not solely reliant on age or the vast amount of qualifications you have as an individual. A large part of being able to deliver care from the heart is to care with empathy, dedication, and patience. These may seem like three simple items, but they go a long way in touching and transforming the care an individual experience.
I think I have finally found a place to belong at Homage. It is a blessing to be able to work alongside a community of dedicated individuals, each delivering care in their own heartfelt way. Thank you for giving me the chance to care once more.