Even though it’s a fact of life, aging can be lonely. Friends and family members may have passed on, moved away, or moved into care facilities. And, caregiving for someone who is older can be hard when the caregivers also have other responsibilities such as families and full-time jobs. This was the need behind a new service called ‘Papa’ which helps provide senior citizens with a little extra attention through what it calls ‘Grandkids On-Demand’.
Papa has a simple premise – to provide college students to help senior citizens. It connects students with the seniors for tasks such as driving, shopping, reading, laundry, pet help, technology help, or even just companionship. It emphasizes a fun was for two generations to connect and frees senior citizens from being confined or left on the margins of life.
Members (the senior citizens) pay a monthly fee of $15 to $30 to belong, plus $15 per hour for visits from the Papa Pals (the college students). The Pals must be enrolled in college or working on a masters degree, social work degree, or nursing or medical degree. Pals must also have a four-door car and pass a background check. Pals are given the company’s personality test which look for people with empathy, patience, and the ability to draw people into conversation. The biggest focus is on curing loneliness; being with a younger person stimulates the seniors – relationships form to help both parties understand the world.
Become a Pal and help Papa.
Group Activities and Discussion Questions:
- Poll students: Do they have family members or friends that fall into this category? How do these people get assistance?
- Review Papa: https://www.joinpapa.com/
- Make sure to show some of the videos available on the Web site to illustrate how the service works: https://www.joinpapa.com/video-gallery/
- Discuss the components of a situation analysis: company, general industry, trends, key competitors, technology, legal, etc.
- Divide students into teams. Have each team use laptops to do general research to analyze the market for Papa. (Ex: overview of industry, size, growth, new technologies, environmental impact, etc.)
- Debrief the exercise by compiling information on the white board.
Source: Bahrampour, T. (20 June 2018). These college kids moonlight as ‘grandkids’ for hire. Washington Post.