Devanshi Seth grew up in Gonda, a small town in Uttar Pradesh, about 125 kms from Lucknow. She grew up in a joint family with her father’s six brothers and their families staying together. “I’ve always seen people being there for each other and what a support system means.” Ever since she was a little girl, she wanted to do something for the elderly. Even while in college she would visit old age homes. In hindsight, she looks at all her visits and work as preparation to enter the space herself. So why did she wait it out? “To get into something like this, you really need to be sure, you can’t back out. You can’t give the elderly hope and then just stop being there. It involves a lot of emotional giving on your side as well. You have to be mentally prepared. I spent 4-5 years to learn more about the elderly. ”
A year back, Devanshi, then 23, took the first step. Along with her full time job, Devanshi took it upon herself to take care of the elderly when they were alone at home. She would pick groceries for them, meet them regularly and check on their general well-being. She understood that the geriatric segment was in need of assistance and companionship was huge.
What made her quit her job, take the plunge, and launch “Take Care” was this one incident. “I was at Mrs. Shah’s place for one of the visits (this is the time when I was doing it alone in the evenings after work). She was talking to me her dreams when she was probably my age, one of which was to do something for the elderly. Then she said something that stayed with me. She said,” I always kept thinking that I would do something for the elderly when my children grow up and I have more time, but little did I realize back then that when I had planned of doing it, I would be one of the elderly myself.”
Devanshi gained insight into what the elderly look for during her visits when she was in college and the visits she made after office hours. Devanshi lurked in the waiting rooms of hospitals to delve deeper into the medical needs of the elderly. She also paid heed to common complaints about unnecessary medical tests. ‘Take Care’ has now tied up with Manipal hospitals, who have designed special health check packages for the clients as per the health index of an elderly person. The host of services ‘Take Care’ offers is as follows:
Groceries – Daily/Weekly- if there are any specific health restrictions, they are taken care of as well.
Regular Visits by a ‘Take Care’ associate – Spending time with the elderly, accompany for walks, educate technologically, video Calls as per need and request.
Health and fitness – monthly check-up and a half yearly master check, physiotherapy and nursing as per the need of the client.
Household chores – Assistance in finding a maid, cook, plumber, electrician, etc.
Short duration packages and travel – Assistance during a vacation or a trip.
Entertainment – Arranging for recreational activities, as and when requested by the client
There are other services like assistance in relocation, travelling, and in getting travel documentation ready for travel abroad.
Related read: How Support Elders is lending a helping hand to the geriatric population
They customize packages for every client based on their needs. Devanshi adds, “Monthly packages depend on the specifics of the requirements. We sit down with our client and customize packages for each and every family with the intent of not imposing the less required services for them.”
A ballpark estimation of the package works out like this.
The 15-day package which includes groceries, medical emergency, three visits, and daily updates is priced around Rs. 3500. The weekend package’s duration is from Friday evening to Sunday afternoon – it includes food, visits (this includes taking the elderly for walks as well) on Saturday morning and evening, and handling a medical emergency, if one arises. This comes to Rs. 2300. The one-day package that includes visits(including walks) in the morning and the evening, is priced at Rs. 1300.
Revenue model and ironing out the kinks
Until now, they were bootstrapped since they were running a pilot. Now that they have validated the market reach, they are in the process of registering from Pune and are in talks with an incubation centre at Pune for the seed funding.
The primary challenge is scaling up the team. Devanshi adds, “I am in a place where I have to be accountable for how my team interacts with the elderly, it is a very sensitive age group of people. I have been personally training my team with the experience I have gathered in the past. With counsellors and other senior team members on board now, it will be easier to train the team now.” Devanshi speaks to her team every day and discusses how they can better themselves. ‘Take Care’ also sends weekly updates to the children who are away on how their parents are doing.
The second challenge revolves around changing the mindset – understanding that old age is not a stigma for either the elderly or their children is important. It’s the natural progression for every human being. Devanshi comments, “I train the team in treating the elderly with respect and never making them feel like they are incapable. Our vision resonates this too – making old age feel good.”
At 24, Devanshi has turned down career opportunities abroad and given up her full time job and she couldn’t be happier! “The idea of ‘Take Care’ makes me happy. I don’t need an alarm in the morning anymore. Being able to actualize awareness is happiness and I would love to believe that I found it. I want to give something back to the world and make the maximum of the life that I have been blessed with and make it count.”
Her biggest personal dream is to work towards making old age feel good. Her dream for ‘Take Care’ is to take geriatric care in urban and rural India through a journey of improvement to making it the best.