Dancing With Wings: Visiting Angels Helps Others in NeedMar 30, 2011 07:23PM ● By Gloria Taylor-Brown
Sheri Malvestuto, owner of Visiting Angels, never planned on a career in the senior care industry, nor did she anticipate watching her husband suffer from a slow, debilitating disease that mimicked Alzheimer’s. She also never thought that she would become a widow at such an early age.
Until 2008, Malvestuto’s husband Bobby worked in Italy as the vice president of global operations for Hewlett-Packard. He was a handsome man with intelligence and charm, who loved to go dancing until he was stricken with a rare form of dementia that began robbing him of his memory, speech, dignity and finally, his life.
During the early stages of her husband’s illness, Malvestuto was able to continue her own high-powered career as a successful businesswoman. However, as Bobby’s health deteriorated, more of her time was dedicated to providing home care or locating qualified home-health caregivers. When she returned from a two-week business trip and found Bobby tied to a chair, doped and incoherent, with a gash on his forehead from a fall, she was furious that his caregivers were elsewhere. Frustrated with the poor care her husband received at the dedicated memory-care nursing facility, Malvestuto began searching for a better way to provide assistance for Bobby and others like him. “Even though people are sick or elderly, they should be able to remain at home for as long as possible, if they want to,” she says.
Dealing with caregivers that didn’t show up on time or were not trained to handle memory-care issues motivated Malvestuto to found Bobby’s Way, in honor of her husband, and to open Visiting Angels, a nationwide franchise program created by Jeffrey Johnson in 1998. The program not only offers support, but also provides seniors and others in need with top-quality bonded, licensed and insured in-home caregivers. Malvestuto now has nearly 100 employees who offer quality care to elderly clients throughout the eastern San Diego County area, providing hygiene assistance, meal preparation/diet monitoring, light housekeeping, errand-running and shopping, and respite for family caregivers.
By doing a background check, including an elder abuse check, on every employee, Malvestuto was able to develop a business that provides non-medical home care for individuals who want to remain independent but need more care than they or their families can provide. “Whether the family lives in the same house, or across the continent, they can feel confident that their loved one is receiving the proper care and assistance,” advises Malvestuto.
Now a regular co-host on wsRadio, with a monthly show, Malvestuto reaches out to provide support to others who are experiencing similar issues. She still personally interviews each employee and meets with clients on a daily basis to make sure that their needs are being met. With her own life once more on track, she also goes salsa dancing at least five nights a week. “Dancing keeps me in shape,” notes Malvestuto, who is certain that Bobby is still enjoying salsa moves, dancing with wings.
Location: 1679 E. Main St., #201, El Cajon 92021. Call 619-401-2040 or visit VisitingAngels.com.