A growing number of Silicon Valley executives trapped in the sandwich generation are leaving the rat race to develop elder-care apps for their own parents.
A recent post by Reuters highlighted a growing phenomenon that bears a closer look. It seems some high tech executives who are caring for both their children and their parents (aka the sandwich generation) are handing in the company keys and developing their own tech solutions.
Their niche? Their own parents, and others like them.
Elder-care apps are a growing trend, with so many baby boomers layered between two generations of family members who need tender loving care.
5 elder-care apps that grew out of necessity
- Stephanie Tilenius, former head of commerce for Google, left the giant search company to develop an app to help aging patients deal with chronic disease. Vida, a $15 a month mobile app billed as your personal health coach, allows patients to consult with a complete team of health care professionals, including doctors, nurses and nutritionists, from their smartphone. The app reminds users to take their medication while caregivers and family members can request access to the app so they can keep up to date with a patient's progress.
- Fellow Google employee Munjal Shah left the company in 2011 to create an app called Hi.Q, which helps improve people's health knowledge.
- Groupon Inc.’s former product development chief, Suneel Gupta, left Groupon in 2012 to create a nutrition app called Rise, which supports people like his parents, who fought with diabetes, cancer and obesity.
- Caring.com, an online community forum and information provider for caregivers, is the brainchild of Andy Cohen, who said he was inspired to leave his job as a vice president at SuccessFactors, after his parents became ill. With the slogan, “You’re there for them. We’re there for you,” it becomes obvious who their target market is.
- Aneesh Chopra was the chief technology officer for the United States and is now the co-founder of a startup called Hunch Analytics. “We are dedicated to helping improve provider efficiency and consumer outcomes through unleashing new data sets and leveraging the newest advances in analytics,” says their mission statement online. Big data meets elder-care.
With digital health start-ups showing no sign of slowing down, I wonder if large employers are re-thinking their health insurance plans in order to retain their brightest talent. According to the Reuters article, companies like Google and Twitter are in fact offering employees the chance to extend their health coverage to at least one other family member, beyond even the immediate family. Perhaps other companies will follow suit as digital health becomes the rule rather than the exception.
Because as we all well know, a good health insurance plan can make all the difference between staying with an employer and leaving. If digital health start-ups are changing the conversation, and enabling at least sandwiched employees to keep a closer eye on their parents, perhaps the decision to stay will be that much easier.
The nuviun blog is intended to contribute to discussion and stimulate debate on important issues in global digital health. The views are solely those of the author.