‘There is a significant growth in demand compared to first wave’
At-home care providers of the elderly are witnessing a surge in demand for their services amid the second and more lethal wave of the pandemic that has confined a large number of elders to their home.
“We are seeing a significant growth in demand compared to the first wave because things are really getting worse now. “The enrollment for our care plans has surged at least by 60 per cent compared to last year,” said Prashanth Reddy, Founder, Anvayaa.
The Hyderabad-based start-up offers home-care services, including healthcare (regular health needs and check-ups), daily care (food delivery and home needs) and emergency care (ambulance assistance etc) in Chennai, Hyderabad and Bengaluru. It soon plans to expand into Mumbai.
Stuck at home
From ensuring vaccination of elderly members to addressing their day-to-day healthcare needs and helping them in emergencies, home care service providers are stepping up to help senior citizens who are stuck at home and fill the shoes of their children.
Samarth eldercare, one of the largest players in this space, has augmented support to the elders by arranging essentials such as medicines, provisions and cash at home, besides regular check-in calls to ensure that elders don’t feel isolated, tracking their vitals, hospitalisation support, oxygen cylinders, concentrators and even helping in cremation ceremonies.
“This is a transient demand aided by two factors. One is people’s requirement for emergency services has gone up largely around healthcare,” Asheesh Gupta, Founder and Chief Care Officer, Samarth said, adding: “Second, there is a sense of fear and helplessness which has nothing to do with physical needs but emotional and mental state of people. On these two counts, we are seeing very different responses and demand in this second wave.”
Samarth offers homecare services for the elderly under four categories – healthcare, convenience, engagement and emergency. Currently, Samarth Care Program is available in over 40 cities across the country, with the support of over 200 local care counsellors.
Chennai-based senior care and assisted living service provider Alserv also said it is witnessing a multi-fold growth in demand, especially for food and catering services from home isolated elders and their families.
“It’s not just about people unable to get a hospital bed but there are many who are in home quarantine and need help so there is definitely a requirement,” said Jagadish Ramamoorthy, Co-founder & Director, Alserv, adding: “Today, the number we do in food is far higher compared to what we were doing last year. We have probably done five times times compared to what we did in the first wave.” Ramamoorthy said that besides the surge in demand from the local community, Alserv has also been receiving a lot of enquiries from NRI children in the last 30-45 days seeking care for their parents in Chennai.
In addition to direct consumers, a growing number of corporates are also roping in elderly care service providers to cover their employees and their families. Anvayaa’s Reddy said: “Lot of corporates are approaching us to give Covid care to their employees and their parents. That is one area where we have seen a significant change as compared to last year.” “We have a couple of companies already and are talking to a lot more, primarily to create a Covid help desk for their employees and families,” said Alserv’s Ramamoorthy.
As published in The Hindu Businessline