Loneliness is no more the result of choices made with time. It has now become a problem that may give rise to many medical issues. This problem is seen by everyone in their daily life but the solution is a big question. According to the report based on the 2011 census, in India, almost 15 million elderlies live by themselves.
With the shift of join families to nuclear ones, these seniors don’t have any access to emotional support. While they might find ways to fulfil their utility needs, the unavailability of companionship because of unavailable separated or busy families has let them lead lonely isolated lives.
GoodFellows is an Indian startup that aims to reduce the loneliness of elderly citizens. It is an upcoming for-profit startup that will provide intergenerational friendships and will be known as a ‘companionship company’. The startup is backed up by the former chairman of the Tata group, Ratan Tata.
The founder Shantanu Naidu, join Tata in 2014. His journey started when Ratan Tata was impressed by his work idea of saving the street dogs with ‘collar bands’. Shantanu, 27 years old, is now the business magnate Ratan Tata’s assistant.
The startup will employ young, educated graduates who are under the age of 30 to create intergenerational friendships between them and the elderly to reduce solitude. The startup is in a bit of a testing phase for now and soon look forward to start providing its services.
The graduates called good fellows will provide a friendship to the elderly, go for walks help done in daily routine work like grocery shopping, watching movies or visiting to doctor appointments and also teach them some basics regarding technology.
They will offer warmth and companionship to the elderly living alone through intergenerational friendships whose foundation stands on kind meaningful and authentic ways. According to psychologists, this is a very vast and powerful way that can address elderly loneliness very effectively.
As per Naidu, GoodFellow also helps the elderly with paperwork and emails or simply spend time with their grandpas. According to a report in Your Story, each Goodfellow will go through several psychometric tests that are designed focusing on the one key quality, empathy.
The working involves a detailed pairing process that the GoodFellow and grandpal are a great fit. Once paired, the GoodFellow would do anything and everything that he/she would do for their own grandparents.
The sea of stories to tell and wisdom to impart, these grandpals have it all whereas the young graduates will help them stay relevant and see the world with new eyes. With children living abroad or far away, Goodfellow will be soon to keep showing up proudly and loyally with the family member’s affection and enthusiasm.
These regular visits are always taken for granted but when you are in their shoes you realize the loneliness of the elderly which deepens with time.
According to a report, since the onset of COVID-19, a lot of senior citizens especially those living alone have been facing depression anxiety, and a sense of abandonment. the situation has only worsened during the second wave.
In an emailed statement Tata said, “I am keen to see how good fellows progress and wish Shantanu and his young team all the very best.”
Ratan Tata funds nearly 50 startups such as Airbnb, Paytm, Nestaway, Ola electric, and many others. under his leadership couple of them have become unicorns, a term used for startups that value $1 billion and above.
Although, the amount of funding to the GoodFellows is not yet declared.