A new app called ” Papa ” is meant for seniors who need a grandchild. If older people use the app, the service will send a fully screened student to help grandfather or grandmother with whatever they want. Should there be groceries? The backyard trimmed? Does the computer no longer work or do the elderly not understand how FaceTime works? The rented grandchild dissolves it.
Andrew Parker is the founder of Papa and thinks that the impact of the app goes far beyond the elderly who can call for help from a younger person. “We believe that we also contribute to reducing the loneliness of the elderly”, he says to Fast Company . He started the business because his family needed help after his grandfather got Alzheimer’s. Regular home help did not work and then he tried to hire a student. That worked significantly better and that’s how the app was born.
How does Papa work?
Seniors can pay 15 or 30 dollars a month as a service fee, with the 30-dollar variant giving them the opportunity to have specific students. Then they pay $ 15 per hour for the visits. Usually it takes an hour or three, but some let the students come to 10 hours. The students receive about 70 percent of the money that the seniors pay themselves.
The seniors who use the service like that if they need something once but do not want to bother their family, they can still be helped in this way. But the lonely are also happy with it. More than 40 percent of the elderly feel lonely on a regular basis and with this service, the slightly better people can solve a little bit. The students are trained to enable the seniors to broaden their social environment if possible, but it does not go as far as the ‘rental family’ in Japan.
Papa is currently active only in Florida, but the rest of the US is soon to come. It is striking that Medicaid and Medicare, the health insurance policies in the US, will at least partly pay for this kind of aid, so that makes it possible for the service to expand considerably. Whether that would work in the Netherlands? Probably, but our care structure has already been set up to solve many of the things Papa does. The chance that we will see this app here is therefore small.