Caring for your elderly parents need not be difficult even if you live away from them what with one-stop portals such as Senior Shelf offering a range of products

From wheelchairs and insurance options to inputs on travel agents for different types of vacations, Senior Shelf is a one-stop portal for anything the elderly need. Primarily an e-commerce site that hopes to make shopping for products like hearing aids, walking sticks and others more accessible, Senior Shelf is also for children who are far away but want to be there for their parents, despite distance.

Rahul Upadhyay spent four hours going from one surgical store to another trying to find a BP-apparatus for his mother. This forced him to realise that products for seniors are not easily available and it was an untapped market online. “It was okay for me to search that long because I’m young and mobile and, therefore, can easily do it. What about people who can’t get out often? Or are too scared to? There was no website catering to the needs of seniors,” says Rahul.

The site was launched in January, this year. It categorises products under ‘Daily Living Aids’, which include bathroom and bedroom accessories, walking sticks and other useful products such as nail clippers with a magnifying glass. Other products are hearing aids, ailment-specific products and wheelchairs. There’s assistance for insurance and travel too. “We have the largest range of wheelchairs online,” adds Rahul, “There are other simple products that are very useful for elderly people which many are not aware of such as grab bars, anti-skid tapes, glow-in-the-dark tapes, toilet-seat raisers and so on. Now that they are available online, people are happy to buy them.”

The site targets NRIs and others who live in far off places who are looking to buy these products for their parents. “In India, so far, it’s usually the children who buy from us, although many seniors have mailed us with enquiries. Abroad however, we receive orders directly from our target users,” says Rahul. So far, the hearing aids and the seat-raisers are a hit. “We recently delivered to a customer in Nagaland. He couldn’t find some products in the stores there and was happy to find a site that delivers them.”

Senior Shelf, based out of Mumbai, delivers all over the country and has garnered a lot of curiosity in the three months that it has been live. “The products that sell most are for everyday use and comfort. These are things people had never even thought of till they saw them on the website. For our wheelchairs, for instance, we have videos that explain how to use them. Based on this, they can make their decision on which wheelchair to buy,” he explains.

After working as a marketing professional for over 15 years, the website is a challenging project for Rahul. “For the first time in my life, people are writing to me thanking me for the work I have done. We are a small team of four now, even though the site began with just me. Through it, we hope to make a difference to people to whom these products were not available before.”

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