It's basically grandkids on demand.

By Stacey Leasca
Updated June 06, 2020
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Right now, we could all use a little more human connection. However, our senior citizens are at the absolute top of that need list. And that’s where Papa comes in.

“Papa pairs older adults and families with motivated college students for companionship and assistance with everyday tasks,” the company explain on the website. “We offer programs to health plans, providers, employers, and consumers.”

In other words, Papa is essentially a few helpful grandchildren on demand for older adults who need light assistance with grocery shopping, changing a lightbulb, laundry, meal prep, and most importantly, a friend.

“What’s interesting is that people don’t always want to say they want companionship, even though their families say they do,” Papa CEO Andrew Parker told TechCrunch about his product. “But when a visit ends up being six hours, that’s evident what it’s for.”

According to Parker, the company, named after his own papa, does everything from the tasks above to driving older adults to doctor’s appointments to helping them set up smartphones or tablets. And, along the way, the helpers can make a little cash too, but that’s not the driving motivator.

“If you want to be a Papa Pal to make a couple extra dollars, then it’s probably not a good fit,” he says, adding, it’s more about showing a bit of empathy and care instead.

And that’s especially important right now, while helpers are still out there assisting their Papa partners even in quarantine.

“Overall, we do not foresee any impact on the delivery of the Papa service due to COVID-19. As always, we are committed to keeping our platform up and running for our Papa Pals, members, and partners,” the company shared in a statement. “Our cloud-based architecture approach is designed to operate without any service disruptions.”

It added, thanks to its technology, Papa employees are already able to work from anywhere and have the resources and tools they need to do their jobs securely from any location.

“We have communicated best practices for protecting employee and Papa Pals health and implemented employee workstations cleaning requirements. We have implemented employee travel restrictions and are restricting anyone having traveled to or through any restricted countries from entry into Papa's call center for 14 days,” it added.

However, if seniors are worried, the company now offers virtual visits too. Those visits can be used to assist in ordering groceries to be delivered, help getting set up with a telehealth provider, or just a good old fashioned conversation.

Want to get your grandparents, parents, or yourself set up, or join as a Papa companion? Check out the company website now.