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A helping hand for the old

Smart solutions
Last Updated : 17 July 2016, 18:35 IST
Last Updated : 17 July 2016, 18:35 IST
Last Updated : 17 July 2016, 18:35 IST
Last Updated : 17 July 2016, 18:35 IST

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A slew of startups is hitting the e-commerce space by the day and customers in the city are spoilt for a choice of products including baby care, sports, health and interiors.

Yet, the space of geriatrics is largely untapped. Locating the need to tap this market so that the quality of lives of the elderly improves are two friends — Nirav Parikh and Anisha Srinivasan.

They went live with their company, ‘Elder Smart Solutions Pvt Ltd’ in August last year, which is a one-stop shop for elder-friendly products and services.

The idea for this public platform sprouted from personal experiences as both of them grew up with affectionate grandparents at home and wanted to contribute back to the geriatrics sector.

Anisha says, “We are an online platform and have a range of products and services which help make the lives of the elderly easier. They include utility products such as walkers, toilet rails, diapers, crutches, bathing accessories and wheelchairs. We have also tied-up with a number of services designed for the elderly such as yoga and physiotherapy. There are plenty of services available but are quite scattered. Instead of going to different places for services, elders can avail items at one place and easily access them. These solutions are available from the comfort of their own home.”

 ‘Elder Smart’ curates the best of products and services as each one of them have been tried and tested on their own families. The duo also select them on their website based on their understanding of the market, heavy research, word-of-mouth and questionnaires, to understand which of the many services out there are most helpful. Apart from the space of e-commerce, they also have an offline angle to their company called ‘Elder Smart Spaces’, where they help retro-fit existing spaces to make them elder-friendly.

 Nirav, an interior designer by profession, says, “The idea here is to help the elderly move freely at home and also make them independent for as long as possible.

Projects may include building ramps, putting up railings or helping to make the floor anti-skating. We personally go and meet people, look at the space and see how to make it elder-friendly. We engage and interact with the family and understand their dynamics. We talk to the primary caregiver and see how many hours a day he can look after the elder person at home and so on. We are careful to keep the aesthetics intact and try as much not to change the look of the house.”

This innovative idea bore fruit after Anisha, who came back to Bengaluru after studying in New York, found a gap in the market for elder care.

 “Nuclear families are fast-increasing. Children are either abroad or don’t stay with their grandparents. Taking care of the elderly has become tough. It’s not that we are an empathy-deficit society but the caregivers probably just don’t have the time, considering today’s lifestyle. So Nirav and I got talking and decided to take this idea forward.”  Currently, their biggest challenge is getting the word out to the public.

Nirav adds, “It’s a very sensitive audience we are dealing with. It’s very difficult to convince old people about our products because they don’t accept change very well. They aren’t open to trying something new. In terms of ‘Elder Smart Spaces’, so many are very sentimental about their home and don’t want to change the look of the house.”

    However, we have been going strong in Bengaluru, a city which is generally considered a retirement city. Elder-care is the next big thing and there aren’t too many players in the market now. We wish to contribute back to the space in full measure.”
For details, visit www.eldersmart.in

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Published 17 July 2016, 14:50 IST

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