Health Vision Month

New Digital Platform Provides Companionship to Seniors

Effective and consistent communication has always been key to maintaining healthy relationships and one’s mental health. Throughout the pandemic, a multitude of caregivers and family members have had to self-isolate, leaving older adults without essential human contact and care. Papa, an on-demand assistance service that pairs older adults and families with Papa Pals, is helping to fill this coronavirus-created void.

According to a Stanford University survey, caregivers and recipients are suffering from increased anxiety and stress because their support system is under quarantine due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Before the pandemic and beyond, employees who have acted as caregivers have struggled to balance their work and caregiving responsibilities. These employees may not receive any help from their employers; a study by the Disability Management Employer Coalition shows that 20% of U.S. employers do not offer caregiving benefits and have no plans to adopt any. As the current pandemic surges on, however, Papa is being offered as an employee benefit across the nation — addressing the scarcity in access to benefits and rising healthcare costs.

“It’s a lot of responsibility because caregiving is a full-time job, too,” Andrew Parker, Founder and CEO of Papa, says. “But providing access to benefits that make it easier for them to do both helps with retention and healthcare costs.”

The new digital program, which first began in January 2020, provides much needed friendship and companionship to help seniors and their caregivers cope with challenges of isolation and quarantine. Pen Pals connect with older adults to help with everyday tasks like transportation, light household chores, navigating health benefits, doctors appointments, prescription refills and grocery delivery.

As a perk, the platform also enables users to video chat with their pals, so they can interact while maintaining social distancing guidelines. The company is also offering employers the chance to provide volunteer opportunities through the new benefit. Employees can volunteer as a ‘Papa Pal’ for seniors and their family members who are in need.

“Papa is enabling a growing number of older Americans to age at home, while reducing the cost of care for health plans and creating meaningful jobs for companion care professionals,” stated Fatima Husain, Principal at Comcast Ventures.

To learn more about Papa, click here.

Information provided by Employee Benefit News.