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Update_2013_08_08; gRENTparents......

The main idea is to offer mainly an online platform which is supported by an offline service where elderly could connect with young parents whose own parents don´t live nearby to help them with daily tasks and vice versa.

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The online platform itself is build upon the principle of a social platform. Each member can set up a profile, mentioning what they can help with (like doing homework with the kids, baking, etc.) but also what they would need help with (e.g. help with the monthly shopping, be taught how to use the computer, etc.). The information given about each member on the profile will be the same for both; the future gRENTparents as well as the parents of the kids. 

For older people who don´t know how to use the computer. gRENTparents will provide drop-in centers. These elderly can then go in there, get informed about the concept and let the g(RENT)parents employees/volunteers let them help with setting up an online profile. Also the drop-in centers could also be embedded in public institutions=partners like (e.g: libraries, schools, etc.) to outsource the service. As in those institutions computers are provided, elderly can go there to get help with setting up or maintain their online profile. In each of those institutions at least one employee will be assigned and trained by a proper gRENTparents employee about how the concept works and how it can be easily explained to older people who are not familiar with computer technology. So then, every area will either have a gRENTparents dorp-in center (responsible for an area within the radius of 10miles) and/or (depends on the residential density), partners in this area acting as a drop-in center. 

The information of the gRENTparents will then be put online; they´ll be marked to be `not active online members´, so that parents know when it comes to delays in response, etc. After a maximum of two exchanges online between the `not active online members` (exchange process will be maintained with the help of the gRENTparents volunteers, employees or partners) and the interested parent both the gRENTparents and the actual parents will be asked to meet on one of the organized getting together events (organized by gRENTparents itself) or in future by engaged gRENTparents users.

Every two weeks a getting together event organized by the gRENTparents employees itself will be organized to ease the first contact. Also once in a while a sharing event will be held, where people from the area who are taking part in the concept get together and share their experiences. Also the possibility of general computer classes, presentations, etc. will be organized within each area.  

After the first steps and once the elder people become actual gRENTparents, the parents or even the children are then responsible to explain their gRENTparents in how to use the computer properly, so that they can maintain their profile. 

The concept itself would help to bring together people from different generations who all live in the same area. Due to urbanization many young couples live far away from their own parents and so when it comes to daily tasks have no one on their side to help them with. Also moments, like e.g.; the first zoo visit for the child could be something to share with the individual gRENTparents if the proper ones live too far away. 

How might your idea scale and spread to reach as many people as possible?

As it is mainly a social platform the concept would spread viral. The platform would be more or less a kind of `facebook` for older people. They then could upload images of their adventures as being gRENTparents and so motivate other members to be more active. Also WOM (Word of Mouth) would be a method to reach people at least the once who are living in the same area. Furthermore partnerships will be established to institutions which are in contact with elder people. To mention a few; Libraries, Meals on wheels, Medical practices, retirement centers, etc. Those partners would then be responsible (as partly mentioned above) to inform these elderly that a service like this exist and provide (if they have computers in their facilities and are skilled/trained gRENTparents partners) help in setting up their online profile.

How might your idea attract and involve partners from health care, business, government, nonprofit or other sectors?

It is a fact that due to better living conditions life expectation grows; People get older. One of the major problems would be to pay attention that those older people don´t get isolated and still stay an active part of our society. They should be connected and informed about technology and so more aware of what is happening around them. The government due to subsidiaries could support this project as it generates a social benefit. Also as I am now living in Shanghai, I experienced how on the first of July, 2013 a law got introduced, in which the government prescribe that young people have to visit their own parents on a regular base otherwise they get sued; How disappointing is the fact that a law have to be introduced for that. In terms of profit organizations; many volunteers would probably be interested to work for gRENTparents, also parents who active users of the service would help out to build up this concept. Due to its social value, locality as well as constant actuality, funds can be easily collected as people can directly experience where the money goes to; transparency is pretty high. But also businesses and investors could be attracted by this concept. I would not charge the users for this service but ask for a regular donations. It would be a Pay-As-Much-As-You-Want price model. Due to general studies on that model it has been conducted that people (especially in this case) would not spoil this mechanism. In the end those having more money would then probably donate more.

How might you design an early experiment or prototype to further develop your idea?

It would make sense to first do a research and ask both older people and young parents if they would be ready to use this service. if this is positive, it might be reasonable to start trying out this concept cooperating with few partners first offline and in one test area. If the offer turns out to be popular, other areas would be taken into account. The beta version will be set and tested in smaller regions before the big roll out and realization of gRENTparents would start in bigger cities.

Evaluation results

11 evaluations so far

1. How well does this idea enable people to maintain wellbeing and thrive as they age?

Really well. There's clear value in this idea for people of all ages - 63.6%

This idea is getting there but the connection to healthy ageing isn't quite clear - 27.3%

Not so well – there were other ideas that provide more real value for people as they age - 9.1%

2. Does this idea outline a clear mechanism or strategy that would enable it to scale and spread around the world?

Yep – it's really clear how this idea would get diffused and adopted by people from all over - 36.4%

Seems like the mechanism for diffusion still needs some fleshing out - 45.5%

No, it doesn't really look like it takes scale and spread into account. - 18.2%

3. How attractive is this idea for partners from health care, business, government, nonprofit or other sectors to get involved?

This idea is ready for partnership! It's easy to see how and why different sectors would want to get involved - 36.4%

There's some opportunity for partners here but it would need more refinement to really attract other organisations or people - 36.4%

It's not clear to me how or why partners would be motivated to get involved - 27.3%

4. How easy would it be to pilot an early version of this idea for continued iteration and learning?

Really easy – ways that we might test this idea in a pilot are already springing to mind - 54.5%

A pilot would be doable – but we'd need to spend quite a bit of time to figure out how to do it - 45.5%

An early pilot doesn't seem too easy at this point - 0%

5. Overall, how do you feel about this concept?

It rocked my world - 18.2%

I liked it but preferred others - 63.6%

It didn't get me so excited - 18.2%

39 comments

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DeletedUser

Love the thinking that went into the business model. Great work!

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DeletedUser

I think this is a great idea! How wonderful to increase a sense of community between generations. I grew up far away from my extended family, and this sounds like a great opportunity to create a family of sorts where ever you are. I can easily see how this could be developed in partnership between public senior centers and g(Rent)parents in the U.S. to match people.

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DeletedUser

As a service designer/ux point of view. I felt that when we design tools or anything for the future, its important to understand when we dealt with elderly or caregiving, its all about empathy and it takes a lot of time for them to understand technology too.

Idea is great, and needs more finesse in it, a lot of considerations to take in and especially designing for ageing. Quality time always encompasses all technologies given the circumstances.

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DeletedUser

Josipa, as a senior I think your plan is fantastic. It encourages people of all ages to interact. At 65 I am starting to feel isolated, Senior centers are just that you never or rarely get a chance to interact with any younger people. I have had a few (too few) experiences where a younger person and I get into a conversation about nothing more than the book I might be reading or asking directions and find these discussions extremely pleasant and rewarding, but for the most part this does not happen. I find the prospect of being able to help others of all ages very exciting.

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Hi Jim,

thank you so much for sharing your story. It is so sad: I am actually on the other side; As I lost my grandparents very early I have this soft spot for elderly. I am enjoying it every time when I met randomly elderly people in the the train and they start talking to me; Sometimes they are willing to share beautiful stories and simple insights about life which are always a good reminder:). Let´s see what will happen with the realization of this concept. All the best to you!

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DeletedUser

Hi Josipa, your comment resonates with me. I was lucky to grow up with two grandmas, but my grandfathers passed before my age of memory. All my life I've had a soft spot for other people's grandfathers. I'd definitely love these get-togethers. Anyway, just wanted to confirm your theory that there's an audience of eager young people out there!

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DeletedUser

Jim,
Because you are someone who would participate in this program, I have a few questions for you (not to put you on the spot):
1. Do you know how to use a computer?
2. Do you have a facebook account?
2a.Do you like it?
2b.If Yes, How often do you check your facebook account?
3. Would you sign up with gRent parents?
4. Depending where you live, would your travel 15-30 miles or take public transportation for half an hour?

I liked what you shared!!!

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Bravo, bravo, bravo dear Patricia; such a good move!! I haven´t think of that but of course this seems the most suitable step right now. Thank you so much for participating and coming up with these questions. @Jim Shea; More than happy if you could answer them and share your thoughts!! Thank you both!

Great!!!Love it.

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Nice one, Patricia! Something we've seen in the past on OpenIDEO is that people make online surveys for their concepts e.g.. http://www.openideo.com/open/well-work/concepting/glass-door-for-health-and-fitness-rating/ They often email them out to people they know and promote them on Twitter, Facebook, etc. You might like to think about doing something like this – even encouraging people to ask seniors on their lives and helping them to complete the survey so that you capture responses from elders who are not so internet savvy.

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DeletedUser

Thank you Meena for providing this information. I will ask Josipa about creating an online survey.

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DeletedUser

Hi Josipa, What are your thoughts about creating an online survey. We can come up with a few questions and send out to a few friends and family members. I can work with you and anyone else who may be interested. Let me know. Thanks.

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Hi Patricia,

I am very sorry for coming back to you that late. It´s been recently very busy here and I did not had the chance to follow up here. Life always comes up with big surprises when you least expect it.....Thank you very much for your contribution and the survey would definitely be worth creating once I step on with this concept. It would be great if I can then again come back to you. Best, Josipa....

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DeletedUser

Hi Josipa, Yes of course! I'll be more than happy to help out. Thanks.

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Photo of Meena Kadri
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I really like your thoughts around discussing this idea with both older people and young parents, Josipa. Will be interesting to see what this raises around capabilities, trust and other opportunities and challenges which can help evolve your idea. As you find out more, you can update your post with any developments to your idea by hitting the Update Entry button up there on the right. Looking forward to seeing more of you on OpenIDEO!

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DeletedUser

Hi Josipa,
I love this idea but a challenge will be the outreach. I hope I didn't skip any comments that someone may have either pointed out or suggested but your WOM will reach a certain population. What will be your ourtreach plan? Especially for those seniors who may not be surrounded by single parents or don't participate at any senior centers or aren't involved in the community.
For examply, I am very fortunate to have been raised by my grandmother and she has taught me many things that some of my friends didn't experience. She isn't involved in any community centers or senior centers because she doesn't speak English. So she feels that she can't communicate with someone even though I've seen her do very well without anyone to help her. She doesn't know what a computer is or what to do with it. But she would be great in teaching someone how to cook. If a child had an interest in this kind of activity.

I definitely would like to see how begin refining your concept because I do like it and as I get older, I would benefit in this kind of program for when I become a senior!

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Great insights Patricia. We're certainly keen to see our Top 20 shortlisters (with the help of our OpenIDEO community) refine their ideas to be as inclusive as possible and you've raised some great challenges here. Looking forward to seeing what solutions that folks come up with!

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DeletedUser

Perhaps, if the platform is a website, the users could select different languages they speak, to include an even larger population. Additionally, the users could input other interests to find someone they can really connect with!

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Very interesting idea, there is a documentary movie Called Rent a Family. The main character rents himself and friends out as a husband, boyfriend, family etc..to help people I think it is a pretty lucrative business in Japan. The concept applied to seniors and kids a very cool. A different twist on the old Big Brother, Big Sisters programs
Good Luck

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DeletedUser

Thanks Josipa — I really like how this idea not only provides activity and purpose to elders, but also brings value to folks in the community who could use help. I do wonder if there's a way to bring down the technology barrier a bit more. Do you think it's possible to completely bypass requiring the grandparents to use a computer in order to participate in this platform?

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DeletedUser

This technology barrier has been racking my brain too since this challenge started. My first thought is outreaching locally, and soliciting participants from already existing senior centers or events.

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Could it be somewhat old school, along the lines of a telephone directory of G(rent)parents? Could the G(rent)parents indicate their interest and be included in an online list, making it up to the parents to search for and contact the appropriate G(rent)parent? Would limit the online effort required on the side of the G(rent)parent . . .

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Been thinking a lot about the tech challenge too. One option, at least here in the US, is to leverage things like the PACE program (http://www.medicaid.gov/Medicaid-CHIP-Program-Information/By-Topics/Long-Term-Services-and-Support/Integrating-Care/Program-of-All-Inclusive-Care-for-the-Elderly-PACE/Program-of-All-Inclusive-Care-for-the-Elderly-PACE.html )

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hit reply too soon...
an idea might be to work with PACE centers, which are modern, inclusive senior centers, and use them as physical hubs, rather than relying on an online platform.

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Josipa,

I really like this idea which provides opportunity for elder people to be socially active as well as create intergenerational interactions and provide support for parents and relationships for kids.

Like all the comments above, I'm wondering if you could not think of a complementary way to access the service. Having only the platform as a touch point might make it difficult for certain generations to access the service.

Based on the older people around me, I don't think any of them would really "buy in" in the concept of the social platform. Nick's idea is one. You could facilitate access to the platform but maybe also have different interaction options: phone, email, bulletin boards (in some centers), "open house" in public locations like child care ...

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Hi guys, thank you so much for all your input. These have been my concerns as well but due to the fact that I want to make those older people use modern technology more often, this might be a first step.

Regarding the initial contact traditional marketing channels would be used, such as information events, on-side presentations, flyers, information stands in waiting rooms at the doctors, etc.

Due to possible solutions of how the future g(rent)parents set up/maintain their profile my ideas has been to set up drop-in centers, where they would be two to three contact people explaining on computers at the information point of how to get into the platform and creating an individual profile. These can then also be used as a neutral place of the first meeting for parents and g(rent)parents.

Also a network of partners where computers are a part of the facility (like; schools, libraries, community centres and retirement homes) would be set up. In their the actual staff would get a quick workshop from G(rent)parents.com and so be able to help the elder people once they pop in and ask for assistance. As mentioned before these solutions would help to create the first contact to the young parents who then (once the relationship with their g(rent)parents is settled) would have the obligation to show the g(rent)parents how to update their profile and use the computer.

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Josipa, multiplying the points of contact is a great idea. I'm also thinking that once one relationship (or two maybe) is developed, the grand parents might not need / want to develop many more contacts. I can see long term deep relationships developing over time once the right "fit" has been found.

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DeletedUser

I like where you're going with targeting the parents, especially because they may know an elder in their area and can get them involved. You could also host workshops in assisted living homes, where you will often find still-active elders. Encourage them to invite their friends, then keep advertising your website by television, in the newspaper, in the mail, etc.
Senior citizens can often become lonely, and I love that your solution speaks to that! Great job!

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DeletedUser

Love the new logo Josipa! I'm a big fan of your idea - I had originally planned on submitting a concept about actually renting out ROOMS to the elderly within families that had the physical and mental room in their lives to provide minor daily support and life enhancement to those elderly who didn't have their own family living nearby.

Then after my dad has been in and out of the hospital this past month (who also lives within my family) I realized the flaw in my model was the inherent risk if/when any more serious medical issues happened to someone that was elderly, if their own family wasn't nearby (or close with them) then the family renting to the elderly person would be on point.

With that, I think your idea is much more reasonable in terms of what people will be willing to take on, they can offer what they have to offer, but would not be expected to be THE point person in the event more serious medical conditions occurred.

Anyhow, just wanted to throw my support your way! Definitely send over any feedback you have on my Sandwich Game idea - the more collaboration the better :)

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I am a big fan of your (+ other with similar concept/Yap's and Vikram's) idea of encouraging a mix of generations. It reminds me of my own relationship to my grandparents. I saw them very much as a child and still kept a close relationship to them as I grew up. They are such a huge part of who I am today. They taught me skills, showed passion and appreciation for life and passed on history. I feel a great connection to elder people today as a result of the time I spent in my grandparents company and care. I believe this is such an important empathy to maintain in young people's minds.

As an addition to the online profiles there could also be a weekly day where people (old + children and parents) could meet up to establish a relationship. This could go on for a few hours, for example happen at the local library or similar. Each week there could be a guest invited to do a talk. This could be about computer use (which all libraries as well normally provide access to) or a nutritionist telling about healthy diet through life. Other topics could be: first aid/sleep/things to do with health/technology and additionally introduce opportunities connected to each local area.

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Hi Sine,

thank you so much for sharing these wonderful experience. My grandparents lived in Croatia while I grew up in Germany so I did not really had the chance to see them more than twice a year which has been a bit sad. But this reason just made me enjoy the time of my friends grandparents; I was kind of like the fourth grandchild from the grandparents of my best friend back then.

Your input is really amazing: Thank you so much for this. I´ll definitely build that in when refining the concept. I especially like the idea of having someone who could thought them how to use the computer, which again would form a community among the older people as students. They could then teach each other away from the classes as I suppose that the men might be more tech affine than the women:). Thanks for this; really appreciate!!!!

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Great conversation, guys! And Josipa... as you refine your idea, if you want to acknowledge collaborative input which we're such bug fans of on OpenIDEO, check out the Virtual Teams feature: http://bit.ly/oi-teams

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DeletedUser

Great and observant idea. Having isolated elderlies nearby I have felt for a considerable time that perhaps what they need is interaction. As people age, due to circumstances people lose friends or have less social interaction which I personally believe contributes greatly to unhealthy and isolated way of living. Often elderlies just like any individuals need an opportunity to meet people and even better feel that they are needed, as they truly are but underrated, whilst using the skills they have acquired throughout their life. It is such a liberating sight to see older generation still working involved with the rest of population and G(RENT) PARENTS scheme concentrates on their Unique set of skills which I love about. Well done and this kind of scheme NEEDS to be out here NOW.

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Hi Yu-jin,

thank you so much for your insights. I am happy to refine the concept and see you then as well posting what is on your mind!! Best, Josipa

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DeletedUser

This idea is a great idea! Did you have a chance to look at the market size? Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I see the target audience of this platform to be a) elderly who don't have grandchildren and b) children who don't have grandparents.
Would be interesting to understand the market size this concept is targeting.

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Hi Jan,

sorry for replying that late. To come back to your question: So far I only had time to look around among friends how current this topic of having your parents living apart actually is. As part of the refinement process I will also take a deeper look into how many single parents, single grandparents they are. I might even found refined data about parents living apart from their own parents or similar.

According to the target audience I am considering to target both you mentioned above. Adding that in this case parents from young children might search online (so they would be the consumers and their children the users of this service). Ones the children are a bit older and haven´t had the chance to try out the concept of g(RENT)parents until that point, they might even go themselves online and search for those.

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DeletedUser

Great idea - engagement! I have the feeling you are already assuming this part - but it might be helpful to get the parents who need specific help posting what they need too - that way it can be a true matchmaking experience - and the technology requirement can be pushed to the parents more - know what I mean?

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Hi Lynn, thank you very much for the input. I was basically considering that as well but might forgot to mention it in the description of the concept. Both parents and the future G(rent)parents would set up a complete profile mentioning what they offer and what they need. Due to that a filter system can be used and the platform would give the parents/g(rent)parents recommendations of who suits the best.

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DeletedUser

Maybe even include alerts when someone joins/creates a need that matches a service offering etc! great stuff.

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Congrats on this post being today's onsite Featured Idea!