These days, there’s an app that can offer a temporary fix to any need — including, apparently, loneliness. Papa, an app founded by a man who had challenges meeting the needs of his own grandparents, hires vetted college students and others to not only help seniors with tasks or transportation, but also broaden their social interaction. Those seniors pay either $20 per hour with no membership fee, or $30 per month and $20 per hour for a premium membership. The latter option allows seniors to interview and choose their students, schedule same-day appointments and cancel at any time.
“Papa Pals” set their own schedules, and might assist with things like caring for pets, house tasks, teaching technology, grocery shopping, doctors’ appointments and the like. They go through a rigorous process of approval, with careful attention given to personality types for the right fit. The service, which made its start in a variety of Florida towns, is an example of using technology not only to meet relevant needs, but also to build community.