Justin Boogard’s grandma was afraid to drive at night. In fact, she was scheduled for her DMV renewal and she knew the near blindness in her left eye would mean she surely would not pass the vision test.
Justin loves his grandma. He wanted to make sure she could still enjoy the independence and quality of life she was accustomed to. Justin also knew grandma, (indeed, many seniors) did not have a smart phone or the will to use it.
Seniors can already access services available on many smart phone apps — Uber, general delivery services, and food deliveries, to name a few. But seniors are more accustomed to what Justin calls “dial-tone technology” versus smart phones.
To bridge the gap, Justin got together with a partner, David Lung, and started a business called GoGoGrandparent. Described as a virtual concierge service, the prototype launched at 7 p.m. Jan. 14 — when Justin’s grandma took an Uber ride to Coco’s for dinner out.
Since then the company has expanded to about 100 regular users. They have reached out to about 10 retirement communities and five medical centers to help them beta test their services and are actively pursuing partnerships with on-demand providers.
Based in Studio City, the company can now claim international status as one client ordered an Uber ride to Mexico City. Nationwide service providers (such as Uber) allow the partners to offer their senior friendly concierge services in most major US cities.
In portions of the Los Angeles area and the San Gabriel and San Fernando valleys additional services include on-demand delivery from virtually anywhere the heart desires. As demand increases, a nominal fee structure may go into effect. For now, GoGoGrandparent is only charging a 10 percent surcharge fee for delivery services. They are currently not charging for their other bridging services.
In addition to Uber rides, meal delivery and grocery/pharmacy/almost anything deliveries, GoGoGrandparent also offers an optional minute-by-minute text update service and a monthly usage summary. These two value-added services would be ideal for adult caretakers who may be concerned about turning grandma’s needs over to strangers. The idea would be to let Justin or David set up an Uber ride to get grandma to the doctor, or bingo or whatever, and then text notify the client or his or her designee of each step in the process. I know this would put my mind at ease when I use the service for my mom.
Likewise, the monthly usage summaries would be helpful in keeping track of expenses. Mom’s rent is based in part on how much money she spends on medical services, including transportation costs. I can already see the value of the monthly summaries in keeping track of account balances and medical costs.
Though the service is geared toward senior autonomy, clients do not need to be senior citizens. In fact, anyone who is unable or unwilling to use smart-phone technology can register and use the services.
As a transportation safety advocate I see the potential to reduce dangerous driving habits across the age spectrum. Busy executives can schedule client pickups or a catered business lunch without taking their hands off the wheel or their eyes off the road. Moms can get a gaggle of teenage girls to Disneyland and home again safely without leaving the house. Seniors can retire their driver’s licenses when the time is right without losing their dignity or their autonomy.
I am very happy to recommend this service to seniors or anyone who could benefit from having a personal shopper, private driver, virtual caretaker or girl/man Friday.
The number is (310) 400-5082. Put it on your speed dial. Tape it to grandma’s refrigerator. Mark it as a favorite. Use it. If you are interested in volunteering your time to help cover the phones for this valuable and worthwhile cause, please contact Justin Boogaard at Justin@gogograndparent.com.