The rise of age-tech startups in India
Our elders play an important role in our lives since they not only provide us with a solid foundation but also shape our future selves. Seeing them mature, stepping into their second innings of life, we strive to seek means of making this an unforgettable experience for them.
We need to get involved in the age-tech ecosystem and exploring solutions that could improve our parents' and grandparents' wellbeing, and assist them in becoming independent and respectful.
Need for age-tech solutions in India
The needs of elders can largely be bucketed into three: ease of living, addressing their wellness, and catering to lifestyle and hospitality. Over the last decade or so, the need for ease of living has caught the fancy of infrastructure developers, bringing about better accessibility for older adults and differently-abled people.
While historically, entrepreneurs have been addressing the second bucket, the third seems to be a little unpopular.
Since time immemorial, issues like loneliness and anxiety have affected the senior community to a large extent. Globally, governments have started appointing ministers of loneliness to cater to this less acknowledged issue.
The root cause for the same in India is the lifestyle of people living with older adults and the loss of mobility that comes at a certain stage in life. Even looking at the pre-COVID-19 period, how much time did you get to spend with your parents or grandparents?
How much time would the elders spend in the company of their peers? Add to this: the rise in tech solutions catered to digitally-savvy consumers – mostly the youth – rendering elderlies under-served.
Apart from being one of the youngest nations in the world, India is also counted among one of the oldest, with people aged 55+ representing more than 15 percent of the total population.
The senior community’s needs, wants, behaviours, and preferences are evolving with time. Of the ~120 million older adults in India, over a fourth are on WhatsApp. It is now easier to reach this audience and provide for their needs. This gives us a perspective on how huge the potential impact of age-tech solutions can be.
So, what are these age-tech solutions?
These are solutions provided by any firm weaving in “tech” to build a product or service involving older adults (usually an audience aged 50+) either as a consumer or a service provider or both.
In its current stage of age-tech in India, products are largely being developed in the healthcare sector. Besides, a bunch of wellness services, solutions are mushrooming to bring this community closer.
Some are even empowering the seniors to share their wisdom with their peers. There is still a lot of scope for innovative products and solutions to cater to older adults. All it requires is a careful understanding of the audience’s changing lifestyle and needs.
Understanding the audience
It comes as no surprise that the current Gen S (or Seenagers as they are popularly called) showcase a more independent persona compared to earlier generations. This stems from the evolution of lifestyle, family structures and life dependencies.
And in this new inning of life, Gen-S are driven to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle, travel across the world, and also pursue their passions and interests. This trend is clear when we observe this community’s increasing appetite for travel, hospitality, real-estate products and services along with healthcare.
There is a growing interest among entrepreneurs to solve this surging demand for age-tech solutions, not just from the Gen S but also the younger generation that is willing to invest efforts to take care of the elderly.
It may take a few years to establish the concept of age-tech and create enough and more solutions in this space, but I do envision that this niche sector will turn into a norm on the back of a growing audience, tech adaptability, and high spending power. This space has already attracted investors worldwide and in India.
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)