4 on-demand apps caring for the ageing population

Jessica-Belle Greer

Jessica-Belle Greer

Ageing populations are one of the biggest challenges facing modern societies. Research and innovation are supporting a gig economy for grandparents, to ensure they get the help they need, when they need.

According to the United Nations, population ageing is poised to become one of the most significant social transformations of the twenty-first century, with implications for nearly all sectors of society. In New Zealand, statisticians predict up to 27 per cent of Kiwis will be over 65 by 2050, compared to 15 per cent in 2016. According to Loneliness NZ, over 65s living alone are more likely to feel disconnected and lonely.

The pressure is on the sandwich generation – that is people caring for their children as well as parents – stuck in the middle. While caring for others has a feel-good factor, a recent study by the Public Trust acknowledged financial and emotional pressures. Seventy-seven per cent of respondents said they were stressed, and 38 per cent said they were at ‘breaking point’. Females, aged between 35 and 54, and living in a major city were most likely to be given the role of dual carer, likely while still trying to progress their career.

Help is on the way with significant investments in aged care innovation offering convenience and compassion at the touch of a button.

Good Friends

Arvida Group’s Good Friends is an easy-to-use mobile app that connects individuals requiring home care with trusted helpers. Initially, it has launched in Christchurch with multiple help services, from gardening and housework to nursing and specialist care. Elderly or people with a disability have a dedicated support person to connect them with their required services and ensure they have everything they need. The app also makes it easy for family members to track and order services, ensuring loved ones get the support they need.

“The majority of Kiwis maintain their independence regardless of age or disability. And that’s brilliant. This service ultimately encourages that independence,” says CEO Bill McDonald. “Convenience is key for the app, but equally a big driver for us is acknowledging the power of community. Clients will be matched with local helpers – people who live and work in neighbouring areas. They will have all the necessary qualifications and experience, plus they’ll be good sorts.”

Mycare

A social impact platform dedicated to bettering the lives of New Zealanders, Mycare was established in 2013 with the help of various partners including New Zealand Health IT (NZHIT). An early adopter to on-demand care apps, it has the largest offering of carers and clients. As well as elderly support, Mycare looks after people with disabilities, those recovering from injuries and childcare, with services ranging from meals and companionship to live-in home care. All workers are independent contractors who have been safety vetted with the Ministry of Justice. Mycare also has the tools for scheduling, messaging, payment and reporting. Dedicated to well-rounded support, the team launched the Te Heke Mai app in 2019 to help people find meaningful work from the unemployment benefit.

myRyman

Ryman Healthcare’s myRyman app eliminates paperwork to improve quality of life for their residents. Run on tablets in rooms, it’s intuitive and easy to use and helps nurses and care staff update records in real-time with the resident. The three-year project required the technology and clinical teams to work together on an application that was specific to their needs. The collaboration was acknowledged in 2019 when it won the Innovation of the Year Residential Care Model category at the Asia Pacific Eldercare Innovation Awards in Singapore.

“It has been a massive team effort to build our own app from scratch and turn it into something that has made a real improvement to the care of our residents,” says Chief Executive Gordon MacLeod. “Not only has it done what it set out to do – get rid of paperwork – but the data we’re collecting from it means we better understand care outcomes and allow us to lift our standards of care even higher.”

My Homecare

Geneva Healthcare’s My Homecare online tool helps families choose personalised and clinically approved support plans. It provides greater choice and control with easy search tools to find a worker that best suits specific needs. Geneva’s certified support workers are trained, qualified and security-checked, and are carefully selected to match specific needs. Service coordinators conduct regular checks, and Geneva is on call twenty-four-seven. Calendars can be shared with loved ones to support scheduling and tracking if wished.

“My Homecare has been created with the people we care for in mind, New Zealanders who are vulnerable and in need of support,” says Veronica Manion, Geneva’s Chief Executive. “It’s important for us to ensure we give those people a voice, after all, it is their life we’re talking about here. We’ve listened to them and responded with a technology solution that gives them choice, control and visibility of information to assist them to make informed decisions.”

Jessica-Belle Greer

Jessica-Belle Greer

Jessica-Belle Greer is an experienced lifestyle features editor and writer based in New Zealand. She believes in big ideas and smart solutions.

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