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Grandkids on Demand: This Startup Will Recruit ‘GoodFellows’ to Support the Elderly

India will soon have a startup that aims to reduce the loneliness of elderly citizens. Shantanu Naidu, who is business magnate Ratan Tata’s assistant, will launch GoodFellows that will recruit younger persons to assist the elderly in their day-to-day life. “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,” Naidu said in a note, according to VC Circle. This startup is backed by the former chairman of Tata Group, but it is not clear how much money he is investing in the venture.

“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,” Tata said in an emailed statement to Financial Express. “They would also help the elderly with paperwork and e-mails, or simply spend time with the Grandpals,” Naidu added. According to a report in Your Story, each Goodfellow is vetted through several 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 ‘grandpals’ they are assigned to.

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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