Fredericton Entrepreneur Facilitates Easier Caregiving for Seniors
Vikram Devaguptapu not only witnessed close friends act as caregivers for their senior relatives, but served as a caregiver for his grandfather himself before he moved to Canada. It was this experience that allowed him to identify a universal problem that disproportionately affects our province.
Increased demands for caregiving have caused the task to becoming overwhelming. “The research indicates that, socially, we are quickly arriving at a situation where family caregiving is quite difficult due to time and mobility constraints of caregivers and lack of support,” he says. Vikram has found that it is particularly difficult to find information about support services.
Not only does this impact the quality of life of both older adults and their overworked caregivers, but Vikram sees how this problem affects the business world. “Because of employee caregiver responsibilities, my ex-employer lost productivity,” he says. When employees are committed to providing care—and the ratio of caregivers to seniors is insufficient to accommodate the growing need—employers and businesses may begin to lack productivity due to other outside responsibilities.
Vikram recognized these problems while living across the world in Singapore, the UK, and his home country of India. However, when he moved to Fredericton to participate in the University of New Brunswick’s Master of Engineering in Technology Management and Entrepreneurship program, the issues became clearer than ever.
New Brunswick’s population is rapidly aging, and there is a gap between our province’s demographic realities and the growing demands of our aging population. As of 2011, every senior had 3.9 family caregivers, yet estimates for 2020 predict only 2.6 family caregivers for each senior. This ratio means the 5.4 million Canadians currently providing care to a senior family member or friend will experience further stress and constraints.
The significant gap between resources and seniors our province continues to face suggests that the above problems will affect New Brunswick more severely.
It was this combination of personal experience and research that led Vikram to a solution. In 2017, he developed a software solution prototype, now known as ServUs Health Inc. Headquartered in Fredericton, ServUs simplifies the process of navigating and coordinating services, programs, and resources for seniors and their caregivers. The platform allows seniors and their family members to connect with their caregivers through secure chatlines.
So far, ServUs has seen success. The product goes beyond a mere communication tool and differentiates itself as a navigation tool, connecting caregivers, both formal and informal, with marketplace listings. ServUs has acquired exclusive partnerships with organizations, advocacy groups, and strategic partners in order to source their listings.
Vikram credits his success in part to the strength of various community resources. A Planet Hatch member since September 2018, he is a part of Fredericton’s startup community and recognizes the support offered by UNB and Fredericton’s business ecosystem.
Moving forward, Vikram and ServUs continue to recognize the importance of staying connected with your target audience. Currently, the company is reaching out to seniors across the province, providing presentations, and performing outreach activities.
Want to connect with Vikram or ServUs?
ServUs has been a Planet Hatch member since September 2018 and offers a platform for caregiving navigation and coordination. Seniors and their formal and informal caregivers can access exclusive marketplace listings and networks.
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