India is going through a transition period, where a substantial number of youngsters are avoiding marriage for various reasons – we are not judgemental about them. India also has a large number of families living nuclear, where children are busy with their spouse and kids, while the elderly parents are living alone.
India will soon have a startup that aims to reduce the loneliness of elderly citizens.
Chairman Emeritus of Tata Group Ratan Tata’s business assistant Shantanu Naidu plans to launch GoodFellows, a startup aimed at providing companionship and serving the elderly in their day-to-day activities. In a note to the media, Naidu said,
GoodFellows is an upcoming for-profit startup providing intergenerational friendship and calls itself a “companionship company”. It employs young, educated graduates up to the age of 30 to create intergenerational friendships between them and the elderly to reduce loneliness.
The youngsters would also help the elderly with paperwork and e-mails, or simply spend time with the Grandpals.
Ratan Tata, in an emailed statement to Financial Express, said,
Intergenerational friendships are a kind, meaningful and authentic way to help the elderly living alone with companionship and warmth in the way that GoodFellows is offering. I am keen to see how GoodFellows progresses and wish Shantanu and his young team all the very best.
About Shantanu Naidu
Shantanu (28), an MBA from Cornell University, is the fifth generation of his family, working in the Tata Group. Naidu has been working with Mr Ratan Tata since 2018 as a Deputy General Manager (Chairman’s Office). Earlier, he has worked as an automobile design engineer at Tata Elxsi in Pune.
Naidu’s intergenerational friendship with Ratan Tata has been an influence for him to start this initiative.
GoodFellows is going to launch officially next year and will be working on a monthly subscription model. They will be hiring young graduates to take care of elderly people. As of now, they are accepting requests from those who are willing to experience this service with zero cost or liability.
Through an ongoing beta pilot, the startup has been able to identify and validate the authenticity and results to address the utility needs of the elderly, companionship that is more complex and needs a more empathetic understanding of what a companion means, which is the focal point of GoodFellows, Naidu said.
The beta which is expected to end in January as GoodFellows looks to launch officially, is still accepting Grandpals willing to experience this service with zero cost or liability, the note said.
Each Goodfellow is vetted through several self-designed psychometric tests designed to gauge empathy. These young graduates are spirited individuals that are essentially grandkids on demand with only one goal: dispelling the loneliness from the lives of the Grandpal they are assigned to, the note further said.
The firm plans to get the tests licensed to any corporates who shall filter candidates based on empathy.
An intricate pairing process ensures that the goodfellow and grandpal are a great fit. Once paired, the goodfellow would do anything and everything that he/she would do for their own grandparents. Be it going on walks, watching movies, helping with grocery shopping, visits to the doctor, all the way to more utilitarian needs such as teaching technology, helping with paperwork and emails, or just spending time bonding with their grandpals, the report added.
According to NGOs, there are around 25 million elderly who live independently in India. According to a PTI report, NGOs working with the elderly said a lot of senior citizens especially those living alone have been battling depression, anxiety and a sense of abandonment since the onset of covid-19 and the situation worsened during the second wave.
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