Social start-up aims to cure ‘old age loneliness’

Company plans to roll out services around Ireland in 2020

Photograph: iStock

Photograph: iStock

 

An Irish start-up is offering companionship and new friendships to elderly people, connecting nursing home residents with local visitors to provide extra company.

Grandpal, which aims to “cure” old-age loneliness, said it has logged more than 800 hours of visits to 120 residents in Dublin, Wicklow and Kildare. Almost 800 people have signed up to provide companionship to people who would benefit from additional companionship, who may have family living abroad or unable to visit as often as they would like.

The Grandpal app shows visit schedules, smart task suggestions, training and reminders, keeping family members in the loop.

“We’ve been blown away by the interest Grandpal has gotten from people all over the country. It’s amazing to see how many good people there are out there who want to give and to be there for someone else,” said co-founder Brian Daly. “Nursing homes are very good at delivering traditional medical care but they have failed to deliver a sufficient level of social care due to their current staffing model.”

The social impact company was set up in 2018, cofounded by Mr Daly and William Hollacsek. It plans to roll out its services around Ireland next year, with a number of nursing homes already on the waiting list.