My grandpa just died.
I was freaking out. We had been sitting there watching TV and I got up to go to the bathroom. As I walked past him I notice he did not seem to be moving. It was so noticeable I did a double take. I slow backed up and stood very still and quiet. I was seriously falling apart on the inside.
I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know who to tell? I was afraid of death. And no fan of dead bodies either.
And then he moved. I had a wave of instant relief. It turns out he had just nodded off for a second. What I took to be death was probably a common everyday occurrence for him. TV show is on commercial? Mute TV. Nap. Repeat. I didn’t even know how long I stood there wondering what had just happened. Once he opened his eyes I just left the room as if nothing just happened.
My experiences with the elderly have been limited and sporadic. I am not gerontophobic but I have not had taken too many opportunities to spend time with people of advanced age. When I do I get along fine. Mostly because I am good at listening to people. And most times I find the elderly want to talk.
While growing up we moved to Texas.
Grandparents are most peoples main contact with the elderly. Both my parents were from Michigan so both sets of grandparents still lived in Michigan. We had seen them on summer trips up to the lake but now that we moved we saw them much less.
In Texas we went one time to a nursing home to visit with the elderly. I was a little nervous and afraid. I think it was part of a volunteer effort in middle or high school. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. Mostly just boring. Youth does not appreciate wisdom.
Outside of that there were just random encounters.
When I began working I would encounter customers who were elderly. I had limited interaction with them. This one older gentleman had strange rough and yellowing finger nails. They were thick and scratched up. Strange what you notice as you are ringing up and bagging someones groceries.
I have been to a few more nursing homes on volunteering projects. This time I was older and understood the reality of the situation in a much different light. I had changed as a person and come to value life in a different light. This understanding changed how I interacted with those hoary heads.
Plus I was much less of a jerk by then.
Today’s ideas are to come up with 10 business ideas to help the elderly. Being that Hipsters are of the age to become entrepreneurs, these ideas might spark a drive in them. I may be off base of the elderly’s true needs, but I guessed what I would think would be helpful to someone of advancing age.
1. Friend IRL App
Sometimes you get lonely. I guess. As an elderly person you miss your SO who has passed or your main social life consist of going to funerals of friends. Well this is depressing to do. Especially alone. The Friend IRL(In Real Life) App will find someone (of any age) who is up for whatever to hang out with. They will keep you company in good times and bad. In Real Life.
2. Projects/Handyman Service
Even if you are not living alone, getting around is not as easy as it once was. Light bulb out? Fence need whitewashing? Connect with low fee handyman service providers. This could even be a volunteer based program or a non-profit.
3. Medication Organizer App
Pills. Pills. Pills. Morning. Noon. Night.
Ain’t nobody got time for that.
Have the MO App help you keep track of your medication schedule. Set reminder alarms to go off when it is time to take your next dose. Don’t remember what that weird little pill does? There is a link so can access the drug fact sheet on your device. This will help you remember what they do and what they are for and will also provide a prescription interaction warning to make sure you don’t mix meds and end up dead. Also this app can be linked and shared securely with your doctor so they can know what you take and best help you. Finally, it will include options of reordering when your pill count (that the app tracks) gets low.
4. Legacy Project
Legacy seems to be huge buzzword in the ageing population. Help them achieve this legacy with a business that provides a mentoring program to pass on wisdom to the younger generations. Connect olds with youngs. Give them a guide with direction for the relationship and how best to get the most out of the time spent together.
5. Every Story Counts
Similar to the Legacy Project, the Every Story Counts business will contract interviewers with the elderly. They interviewers will be trained on how to best listen and record the stories of the elderly. This will benefit them in the sense that sharing your story makes you feel valued. It will then be compiled into a easily digestible format such as a book or magazine. It could even be a series with similar stories collected into one volume.
6. ALG: Active Lifestyle Group
This company plans and organizes activities for the elderly who want to maintain an active lifestyle. It is not that people don’t like to do things. Sometimes they would just like someone to come up with the ideas of what to do for them. This business could charge a monthly fee to be part of the group or provide the service for free but charge for the activities that people show up to.
7. In Home Dialysis Service
My grampa who I thought had died, who did at a later date, had been receiving dialysis treatments before he passed. This business would help the elderly so they would not have to travel to treatment centers for dialysis. Instead a qualified assistant would come to them in the comfort of their own homes and bring the necessary machines and equipment.
8. Cabinet Lowering Mechanism / System
These products already exist. This company would sell and install them. But the main selling point is that they would find a way to mechanize the process that would connect the pull down system to a app that controls them remotely. So if you have the app on you simple touch the button corresponding to the cabinet you want opened and lowered. Then simple grab what you need.
9. Age In Place Design Service
This home redesign service based business will asses and evaluate your current home or property and then provide ways to make simple renovations or modifications to make it easier to use as you get older. That way you can “age in place” rather than having more difficulties as your body stops performing a peak levels, you still will be able to fully utilize the home you already occupy.
10. Honest Financial Services
Some business that truly is looking out for the best financial advising for the elderly. Maybe a non-profit or some other charity type organization that is helping people with their money and not slowly (or quickly) draining the bank accounts of those who don’t know better.
I wasn’t there the day my gradpa died.
But I was honored to be one of the pallbearers at the funeral.