Why startups must focus on eldercare to help India realise the demographic dividend

India’s senior population is now at 134 million, with one out of every five adults in the country a senior citizen. This has led many startups to innovate in a bid to revolutionise the eldercare segment.
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COVID-19 took a heavy toll, disrupting operations of several major business and industries across various verticals. Keeping the engines of their operations working despite the mayhem, lockdowns, and has not been easy for organisations that depend on their employees to continue to deliver day after day to sustain their business.

Senior citizens were gravely impacted by the first wave and then were easy victims to the second one. With most professionals fighting the pandemic, economically, medically, and emotionally, the burden of parent care became even more acute and apparent amid the pandemic.

The older adult population in India is 134 million, with one out of every five adults in the country a senior citizen. The startup ecosystem has been alert to the circumstances of 2020 and new brands and initiatives have stepped forward in the eldercare-giving segment.

Feedback indicates a 40 percent increase in demand for eldercare support over this recent period. This has indeed been a wake-up call for a large number of organisations, startups, and individuals.

Eldercare impacting efficiency and economy

Research findings and observations show that a majority of the people who had responsibility for elders, living with them or living away from them, faced a challenging situation trying to balance caregiving and their professions simultaneously. The burden of eldercare not only distracted them from achieving their daily goals but also disrupted their concentration level and productivity.

This situation is not new for people who had eldercare responsibilities even prior to the pandemic. Many had to take career breaks, deny progression to new roles or locations, take lower positions etc.

This inhibited personal growth, led to mental health issues, and at a macro level inhibited economic growth of the country. Thanks to eldercare startups and options, there is a solution to address this problem that will only grow as the country inevitably ages.

Innovating parent care

The startup ecosystem is finding various ways to overcome the challenges faced with respect to eldercare. Interestingly, progressive organisations, which understand the drivers of employee productivity and commitment, are also empowering people by introducing parent-care policies and support in the corporate sector as part of their benefits strategy.

The human resources department is now focusing on innovating with its policies to match employees’ expectations and maintain a healthier work environment by reinforcing initiatives that recognise parent care support as an important benefit for employees, much like childcare has come to be recognised as a core area of employee support over the years.

Startups are finding ways to extend on-ground support and establish eldercare as the next big thing in the industry. Increasing reliability, differentiation, and quality in the parent care industry while launching new services and features to cater to the caregiving needs of the elders is the way forward for such initiatives.

What the future holds

The growing requirements of parent care will help the eldercare market in India to grow rapidly. India might be a young country today, but it is adding to the ageing population quite, rapidly driven by the population pyramid and increasing longevity.

There is also no denying that a large part of productive resources, especially of women, are consumed in providing eldercare at home, which even then is suboptimal to all stakeholders in several ways.

It has become imperative for eldercare to become a prominent part of company policies, corporate sectors, and startups. With the rising figures and number of cases, it is evident that parent care startups have an opportunity to redefine the support for elders of the family along with contributing actively to the Indian economy.

It has become crucial to understand that professional parent care at homes is a normal need without any stigmas and taboos attached to it.

Professionalising this sector with quality resources, investments, and organisations is essential if we have to realise the true demographic dividend of the country and ensure a better quality of life for seniors and young alike.
Edited by Teja Lele Desai

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)

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