New Service for Seniors Promises ‘On-Demand Grandkids’

As an increasing number of Americans enter their retirement, more and more people will seek help in their daily lives. And that’s where a new startup hopes to make an impact.

The service, called Papa, aims at offering senior citizens and older adults “Grandkids on-demand.” Papa, which was earlier profiled by TechCrunch, will connect “college students to senior citizens and older adults” who need help with transportation or “house help,” the company says. Grandkids on-demand can also be called for help setting up a new iPhone or simply acting as a companion with the elderly.

In order to use the service, seniors will first need to contact Papa through its mobile app or by calling its customer service line. Papa’s representatives will then provide a free consult with the person to see how it can pair college students with them. They can request help for as little as one hour or as much as all day. The younger person, who is often a college student, according to the Papa website, is called a Papa Pal.

There are two plans seniors can sign up for in Papa. The first is a pay-as-you-go option that will cost $15 per hour. The job must be within 10 miles of the Papa Pal or seniors will need to pay an additional 50 cents per hour. A monthly membership costs $15 per month, but the same hourly rates apply. The monthly membership adds companionship, house help, and technology lessons to the pay-as-you-go plan, which only includes social transportation. Monthly memberships also allow for canceling at any time.

Not just anyone can sign up to be a Papa Pal. Papa has an application process that includes a questionnaire, phone interview, and background check, among other protocols. According to the Papa website, fewer than 5% of people qualify to become a Papa Pal.

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