Some of the country’s tech elite are coming together to use their companies’ technology, entrepreneurial spirit, and tech savvy to improve home care for the elderly across America. Big names such as Apple’s Ron Johnson, former Senator Bob Kerrey, Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppleman, Facebook CTO Mike Schroepfer, Paypal founder Max Levchin, actress Jessica Alba and many others are working together to create Honor, a modernized home care program for seniors.
Current Elder Care Issues
The goal of the Honor system is to keep parents in their homes and safe for as long as possible. With the number of Baby Boomers in America reaching retirement age and beyond expected to reach 84 million people by 2050, elder care is quickly becoming a concern for families everywhere. Other options like nursing homes facilities can be costly and unpleasant for everyone involved.
Currently, there are 1.5 million people employed as home care workers. These people help seniors with daily living tasks around the home like getting out of bed, making meals, ensuring that medication is taken, and other daily tasks. They either work as independent contractors or employees for around 50,000 home care companies in the United States. Unfortunately, these workers typically earn minimum wage, work part time, and rely heavily on government assistance. As a result, the turnover for home care workers is high and the quality of care for seniors can be poor.
Implementing the Honor System
One of Honor’s directors has come out and said that “it is a really big problem on both sides . . . There is a fundamental challenge of how do we care for a much larger percentage of older people in a way that is as respectful and humane and positive as possible. The other side is the workers. Today, this is not a job where they feel respected . . . There is an opportunity to have it become a more professional job, and a better paying job, a job where people have a lot more respect.”
The Honor program is set up as an online marketplace for home care workers and seekers. The workers will be able to list their qualifications, skills, experience, and distances able to travel for work. The seniors or their family members will be able to list the type of services that they require, the hours needed to work, and any specific qualifications that come with the job. The Honor system will then match home care workers and seniors, with the final approval given to the seniors and their families.
In addition, the Honor program will give each senior client a simple, touchscreen pad to use so that they can update their families and care givers about any changes in their needs or condition. That way their loved ones stay informed and their care givers can be prepared when they walk in the door. The device also records what services were provided to the senior and for how long in addition to allowing the senior to rate the quality of care.