Regina DeMartino, Olga's daughter-in-law, said before they found Papa on social media, family members took turns taking time off work to take her to her appointments.
"She loves them – she finds them all really interesting and loves being with younger people," Regina said of the Papa Pals. They walk her out of her appointment and always have an umbrella so her hair won't get wet, she said. "If she needs help around the house, they do that too."
On Valentine's Day last year, a Papa Pal brought Olga a rose. "How sweet is that?" Regina DeMartino said.
Like Papa, Room2Care also leverages the sharing economy but in a different way. The Miami startup is creating a network of vetted private caregiver homes, which provide less expensive and more personalized care than assisted living, said Richard Ashenoff, who founded the company with Dr. Todd Florin.
Room2Care is licensed and doing business in five states –– Florida, West Virginia, Texas, Arizona and California –– and has over 5,000 users and id growing daily, Ashenoff said.
While Room2Care and Papa use tech to connect seniors with humans for companionship, assistance and caregiving, technology steps in to help at other times, too.
CarePredict, an elder-care platform powered by artificial intelligence, makes bracelets that help track an elderly resident's every activity. Currently it is available only to large group senior-living facilities and home care agencies, but the company hopes to offer the device directly to consumers in the future.
In an office space above a Boston Market in Plantation, more than a dozen engineers and data scientists are working on computers in an office adorned with large portraits of senior citizens. In the next room, another worker is carefully assembling the devices.
Founder and CEO Satish Movva keeps a portrait of his parents near his office as a reminder of his mission. His parents, who are now 90 and 80, live just 10 miles away. Still, despite frequent calls and visits, he couldn't trust the answers he was getting from them about their health.
"No matter how many times I would call them during the week, when I showed up on Saturday I'd find new things I didn't know about. It was frustrating," Movva said. "I wanted a wearable device that would answer all the questions I have about them every day."