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Brief Published: 4 Sep 2018

New App Cures Cross-Generational Loneliness


Papa, a new app, connects elderly people in need of a helping hand at home with college students looking to earn extra cash. The app aims to combat the US loneliness epidemic, with recent data indicating that 46% of Americans feel lonely (Cigna, 2018).

The app provides an on-demand solution for when family help isn't available. Carefully vetted college students can be hired by the hour to help with transportation, cleaning, tech lessons or just companionship. Loneliness has been linked to heart disease and premature death, making the app a creative solution to physical and mental illness in older generations (ESC, 2018).

The app benefits both its elderly customers and the student 'Papa Pals', with a recent survey suggesting that Generation Z are more likely to feel lonely than seniors (Cigna, 2018). Papa gives helpers the opportunity to spend their spare time fostering human connections rather than feeling isolated.

The app has a monthly service fee of $15 or $30, with the higher price allowing users to request a specific Papa Pal. Students can then be hired for $15 an hour. The app is currently live in Florida, with plans to expand to other states by the end of the year.

As discussed in Boomers in Motion, services that connect different generations are growing in popularity as household structures shift away from the traditional nuclear family; brands should follow Papa's example and foster intergenerational friendships. For more on tech enhancing wellbeing, see our Nurturing Mental Health report.

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