Career change: Meet restaurateur turned live-in carer – Giovanni Tolu

Giovanni - Carer at Ashridge Home Care

Sixty-five-year-old Giovanni became so disillusioned with the lack of support for his restaurant business during the Covid-19 pandemic that on 9th January 2021 he decided he’d had enough and he would try something new.

After many decades working in the catering industry and supporting a friend running a local pub, he had to shut down his previously successful Italian restaurant in December 2020 and went online in search of a different career path.

At first, he responded to an advert for another care company but soon became dissatisfied with them as they sent him to so many different clients that he drove 10,000 miles in 4 months alone.  They were haphazard in their management style, would call him at short notice and on his days off, so when he took his first break in May and returned to Italy, he decided not to go back to them.

This is when Giovanni sent his CV to Ashridge Home Care and was interviewed by a Care Manager. After a thorough and successful interview process, he undertook online training modules and was placed as a live-in carer with an elderly gentleman who has dementia in Wendover.

Why did you look at a new career late in life?

I was so disappointed with the lack of support for restaurants during the Covid pandemic and the challenges were just too big to surmount. The restaurant business is a people business, and I knew I could use my people skills to help others.

What drew you to the care sector?

My sister had been very ill with cancer back in Italy and I was used to looking after people and making sure their needs are met so they can be happy. I also like the variety care brings and the personal reward in making someone happy.

What do you like about working for Ashridge Home Care?

I like looking after people with problems who are not as lucky as I am. And I know with Ashridge I always have access to support. Ashridge let me get on with my job but they are always at the end of a phone if I need anything.  I also like the fact that they plan in advance and if there is an immediate emergency there is always another carer that can step in and help.

Would you recommend becoming a carer?

Yes, Ashridge is very supportive and gives appropriate training for each individual carer based upon their client’s needs.  You need a solid mind set as it can be demanding work but it’s also very rewarding.  It suits me perfectly as I like the variety.  I work for several weeks at a time for example from August until the end of September, then I’ll have a break and go to Italy.  On average I do a couple of months and then 2 weeks off. I also live very close to my client so I can pop home during my daily break.

What does your day entail?

Having a live-in carer is like being looked after by family. Every day is different. I loved looking after my client in Wendover. We were very well matched and would do exercises together.  I would take him out every day, get up around 8am and get him washed and ready for the day ahead.  We stuck to our routine. He was a proper gentleman so we would look our best and go out for a morning to his local club, meet his friends have a cup of tea and socialise.  I would take him out in his wheelchair for a walk of fresh air and send photos to his family.

Have you ever thought about becoming a live-in carer? We’re always looking for friendly and enthusiastic people to help support older people to live life to the full. Our roles are well paid, flexible and are available across the South East of England.