Society

Chennai-based app Alserv provides doorstep services for the elderly

Alserv, a Chennai-based startup app, promises to provide essential services, like healthcare and maintenance, to senior citizens at their doorstep

Retirement homes — service apartments that make day-to-day living easier for communities of senior citizens living together — are slowly coming into prominence.

While these living spaces capture the country’s imagination, it made Saravanan Adiseshan and Jagadish Ramamoorthy wonder about its accessibility for everyone. “There is a huge gap in the senior citizen living space today in terms of real estate available and demand,” says Jagadish. The duo claims that its research suggests most retirement homes in gated communities cost above ₹30 lakh, and involves dislocating people from their roots and forcing a major change in their lifestyle. “Most of these homes are situated outside the city. What about those who don’t want to move to a retirement community but still need daily assistance?” he asks.

The comfort of assistance

The duo co-founded Alserv, an app that brings medicare, food and catering, security, home maintenance, and concierge to your doorstep, as an answer. One can choose to employ any of these services depending on the need. “We want to unify senior assistance on a single platform. Through the app, we are connecting people with vendors across the city who provide these services. After subscribing, it is flexible; you can pay as you go according to the service you require,” adds Jagadish.

Alserv also has a dedicated call centre service since not everyone aged 60 and above would be comfortable using an app. “Everyone who uses the app will get their own relationship manager whom they can call whenever they face any issue. If they feel stuck somewhere while navigating the app, they can always call and get help. So comfort factor and rapport is built in,” he says.

Chennai-based app Alserv provides doorstep services for the elderly

Chennai-based app Alserv provides doorstep services for the elderly

A demo login into the app shows five categories of service, each with its own sub categories. The ‘Medical’ category, for example, would take you to nursing, caretaker, check-up, emergency on-call, and a doctor to speak to via call. The services can be one time or hired in packages. A blinking red emergency option leads us to an emergency number (108) or voice support. While the user experience is seamless, some may find the font too small for comfort. The notifications page gives you the status of your bookings. “We give you the details of the person in charge of the booking along with their photo, so that you don’t worry about who will be coming to your house,” says Jagadish.

The company started a couple of months ago in Chennai, and wants to establish in the city before expanding. With the lockdown situation in light of Coronavirus, Jagadish adds that they are entering uncharted territory. “On the one hand, people will use these services only when they need them. And when they do need it, it is better they get it at home than stepping out and facing more risk,” he says, adding that all their helpers have been trained in safety and hygiene. “Initially, the most popular service was healthcare, but now [demand for] deep cleaning services has gone up. Nobody is currently looking for a caretaker to stay in the house, however, physiotherapists are still in demand.”

When things settle down, the app’s primary aim is to provide peace of mind “for senior citizens as well as their children” living away or abroad. “Their children can look at the app, and be in the loop. They no longer have to ask favours from neighbours, and can live their daily life independently,” he adds.

Alserv is available to download on Google Play and App Store.

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Printable version | Mar 31, 2020 8:13:47 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/society/chennai-based-app-alserv-provides-doorstep-services-for-the-elderly/article31143415.ece

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