In India, the population of senior citizens is 104 million or more than 10 crores, according to the Population Census of 2011. The Government of India provides many perks to this section of the society in an attempt to make their life easier. Senior citizens have discounts on airfare, train fare, rebates on income tax, reductions on health insurance, and other things in life. But, the most important question is are they able to live their life with dignity today? Are there enough apps or people who are available to support them? Our senior citizens definitely need to be cherished and celebrated. It was their hard work and intelligence that brought about these new changes and progress for us so that we can enjoy it. They were the key force behind bringing advancement in technology, economy, medicine, and many other sectors. There has been a tremendous contribution from this section of society to our present India.
This day gives us an opportunity to celebrate their accomplishments and also solve any issues that are plaguing them. We at MediCircle are conducting a series on National Senior Citizen Day. Through this, we are trying to find their problems, their concerns and take into consideration the kind of apps or services that are available for them. We're going to interview those who make senior citizens happier so they too can enjoy their lives.
Jagjit Singh is the Vice President of India’s leading home healthcare Care24. He has been in the healthcare sector for 6+ years. He was a part of Care24 from the start and now sees the venture as one of the most successful in the region of Delhi NCR. He has been working hard on making Care24 more accessible for everyone.
Know more about Care24
He lends, “Care24 is a six-year-old company. We work to provide home healthcare. Home healthcare means we provide attendants, nurses, physiotherapists and doctors at one’s home. Our service ranges from helping an elderly who is home alone, get some kind of help. For that, we send an attendant as a companion. To taking care of someone who has just moved out of the hospital and is in need of ICU components, we help that. All their needs of a nurse or a doctor is taken care of. Our service can be used by those patients that can switch to their home instead of the hospital. A hospital gives you a different environment, compared to your home where you have mental and financial relaxation. So when you switch to home, you are with your family.”
Challenges Faced by Care24
He elaborates, “Technology has been the major challenge. Senior citizens are not used to using these technologies. While technology has made everything so easy for us, still, there's a huge gap for the elderly, so you cannot technologically reach out to them. This leaves you with no cost-effective way or direct way to reach out to them. There are many companies who are creating amazing products, but they're not able to show it directly to the customer - the senior citizen. Other than that, our elderly come from a different phase. So the mindset is very different. Another weird challenge is that they don't want us to spend money on them. Unless it's a very critical health issue. Other than that, they do not want to be dependent.”
Advice for entrepreneurs who want to cater for the elderly
He says, “10% of our current population are elderly. The number will increase to 14 - 15% This is a segment that needs our help. If we want to help then we need to build a community. This community should comprise of healthcare, entertainment and more. Other than that make sure your product is available to the senior citizen offline. Or is extremely convenient like WhatsApp or FaceTime that anyone can operate it. You have to understand who's your payer. Knowing that will help you to target better that. Whether the elderly are going to pay for that or the teens are going to pay for that.”
Illness and Isolation
During the lockdown, many elderly faced isolation and loneliness. At such times, organizations like Care24 would have been beneficial. But with isolation, they also have to suffer illness. According to the National Council of Ageing, 92% of senior citizens face at least one illness. Amongst them, 77% face more than one illness like heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes and other common chronic conditions. Apart from this, they face a lack of financial help, lack of infrastructure, missing companionship and feelings of insecurity.
(Edited by Priyal Shah)