Beth Lambert was fully enjoying retirement in the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, spending her days hiking, volunteering, painting, and traveling. But few things motivate her like a challenge, and one paired with a singular opportunity prompted Lambert to put that retirement on hold.
Not only did she go back to work, Lambert relocated to Minnesota with her husband, Frank, to do so. Her son wanted to start a home care agency for seniors in the Twin Cities, and it just so happened that Lambert had the ideal capabilities to contribute.
A former licensed clinical social worker with experience in health care administration, Lambert co-founded Mosaic In Home (www.mosaicinhome.com) with her son, Will, in Apple Valley. She assumed responsibility for preparing the agency to comply with all of the rules and regulations governing such businesses.
"It was an opportunity that was a perfect fit, and so I thought, 'We'll just give it a try,'" says Lambert, 70. "You can't measure what a privilege it is to work on a project with an adult child. So this was something I couldn't resist. I also just like a challenge, and boy it's been a challenge."
The mother-son team started the company in fall 2013, with Beth and Frank settling in Apple Valley that October. A history professor at Purdue University, Frank Lambert works halftime and commutes to Lafayette, Indiana, each spring semester.
Beth and Will Lambert aimed to get Mosaic In Home up and running early last year. That put the pressure on for her to complete all of the company's policies and procedures. In addition, she helped Will hire and train staff for the agency, while he also focused on business operations.
The compliance work wasn't easy, especially because the state had many new policies going into effect. It involved numerous stretches of days that often started in the wee hours of the morning. "It was pretty consuming," Lambert recalls.
Having been retired since 2012, Lambert found it a bit of an adjustment to return to work. It helped, though, that she had rich experience in the home health realm. In the mid-1990s, Lambert started a hospice service for a Lafayette hospital, where she later worked as a social worker, and she held management positions for Big Brothers Big Sisters, a visiting nurse agency, and a Louisville seminary.
Lambert also was intimately familiar with the difficulty of finding the right people to care for elderly loved ones, something she did for her aging mother before she died. It drove Lambert's desire to create an agency that treats clients as family and provides them with myriad services that allow them to remain in their homes.
Lambert's life experiences all came together when she co-founded Mosaic In Home. And that personal test she sought? She certainly got it. "I'm putting myself under pressure again to perform in a way that I haven't in a while," she says. "It's not negative, but it was certainly a challenge."
Since the agency is up and running, Lambert now works part-time. This gives her plenty of time for interests old and new, including participating in programs at the Apple Valley Senior Center.
Coming out of retirement has been worth it for Lambert. Not only does she enjoy living near three of her five grandchildren — and being actively involved in their lives — she got to return to her life's work. "My passion really is taking care of people," she says. "That's what I know how to do."
Suzy Frisch is a freelance writer in the Twin Cities.