Loneliness of the elderly and vulnerable
As we age as a nation, the change to the delivery of care becomes centred on a person living in their own home. With this change comes rising levels of loneliness in our community, one of the most serious health challenges we face. Research shows loneliness can increase the risk of early death more than smoking or obesity. The flip side to this is that those with good social relationships have a 50% increased chance of living longer than those who feel alone.
There are number of ways loneliness can be addressed. In 2018, the UK government appointed a Minister for Loneliness for a top down approach. At Agnes, our approach to the answer is to support innovators who are creating new models of care. Two entrepreneurial organisations we partner with are examples of this. At the centre of their work is reducing the loneliness of the elderly and vulnerable in our community.
Lively and an intergenerational care model
Lively is a care provider that continually inspires us at Agnes. Founded by social entrepreneur Anna Donaldson, Lively has developed an innovative, intergenerational care model.
Lively was established to reduce social isolation amongst older people, improve youth employment outcomes and build a more age-friendly society.
To do this, they train and employ young jobseekers to provide care services to older people in a way that focuses on connection and two-way relationships. This not only improves the quality of life for the older person, it creates a career pathway and develops new skills for young people.
The wider aged care industry is also a beneficiary of Lively’s work. They are showing a way to attract and retain young people into a workforce where the median age is 52. Reducing loneliness and creating careers for young jobseekers is the reason we are inspired by Lively.
Home Care Heroes and a technology platform
Home Care Heroes address loneliness though connection and belonging in communities.
Founded by the dynamic wife and husband team of Jenna Leo and Mathieu Bertrand, Home Care Heroes use a digital platform to match people who care, with people in need. Their algorithm takes into account human interests, activities and personalities, as well as location and skills, to come up with the right match.
When the UK announced their Minster for Loneliness, one of their objectives was to meet with technology companies. They wanted to explore the impact technology has on loneliness and how it can help prevent it. Home Care Heroes is demonstrating the answer. They do this by delivering the blended value of human connection alongside enabling technology. Recently, Deloitte ranked Home Care Heroes as the 4th fastest growing business in their Tech 500, showing what high levels of care recipient and care worker satisfaction can do.
The current Royal Commission into Aged Care has a term of reference asking how we deliver sustainable aged care services through innovative care models. They can look to two start ups in Lively and Home Care Heroes as exciting examples of the answer.