A Florida based app called 'Papa' is aiming to help the issue of senior citizen isolation by pairing seniors with college students for assistance and companionship.
"I think when we can make them happy and make their life enjoyable, we can go home feeling like we've done our job," Carla Raffery, an Administrator at Asbury Place Assisted Living, said.
At Asbury Place Assisted Living Facility in Maryville, Carla Rafferty and her team aim to make their residents happy 24/7, but it's not always easy.
"The hard part is a lot of these folks have outlived their entire family," Rafferty said.
Many senior citizens live alone or deal with senior isolation and according to the U.S. Census Bureau in 2017, 11 million, or 28% of people aged 65 and older, lived alone.
Carla Rafferty has noticed that senior isolation can lead to depression and a lower quality of life.
"Everything about enjoying life has to do with relationships," Carla said.
Building relationships later in life can be tough, but that's where a new app called 'Papa' aims to help.
"Our primary focus is to reduce loneliness," Andrew Parker, 'Papa's' CEO, said.
Andrew Parker created the app that allows seniors to pay college students to help with transportation, house help, technology lessons or just companionship. It all started with his grandfather, who didn't need home care, but was in need of assistance.
"I did it to help my papa and I thought I could help other papas and other grandparents out there," Parker said.
Parker said the app delivers 'grandkids on demand' and calls them 'Papa Pals'. So far, the response has been great.
"I think it's a great idea. I'm shocked right now to see how many residents have laptops and smartphones," Carla Rafferty said.
Carla said this is a tool they would love to utilize to help anyone that's feeling lonely at their facility.
Andrew Parker says they are limited to Florida and some other areas for the time being, but are now partnering with Medicare providers and will be in Tennessee soon.