Adopt a Grandparent’s tech-driven revolution in care

In the face of the unprecedented challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, technology has played a pivotal role in reshaping our lives. At Adopt a Grandparent, we have harnessed the power of digital innovation to bring comfort and companionship to the older community, proving that tech can be a force for good, even in the most trying times.

Embracing tech in care

As the world continues to shift towards remote interactions and digital solutions, the significance of technology has become abundantly clear – especially in the care sector. Our mission to combat loneliness and support the older populations became even more vital as lockdown measures left countless older individuals socially isolated. Technology breathed new life into care, offering a lifeline for those in need.

The belief that older people are incapable of adapting to digital tools is being debunked every day – this is something we continually see at Adopt a Grandparent, as older people are using our app to make contact with their volunteer ‘grandchildren’ and reduce social isolation. The rise of smartphones and user-friendly applications has made technology more accessible than ever. Our app is designed with simplicity in mind, ensuring that it can be adopted by care homes across the UK to promote mental well-being and bridge generational gaps.

Our charity uses technology to pair up younger individuals from across the globe with care residents and older people across the UK. With statistics showing that 1.4 million older people in the UK are often lonely and other studies finding that 200,000 older people have not had a conversation with friends or family for an entire month, we encourage both in-person and virtual pairings.

Part of our app, or community platform, ensures that pairs are matched in accordance with their hobbies and interests, as well as providing a safe space for virtual calls.
It serves as a vibrant community portal, specifically designed to cater to the needs of care homes and the older population. This digital space functions as a secure environment where video calls are facilitated, ensuring the utmost safety and privacy through a layer of security protocols. This multilayered security approach guarantees that all video calls and engagements within the community portal occur within a safe and controlled environment.

The community portal acts as a bridge, connecting the care home and older community with our sponsors and supporters. This interaction not only facilitates meaningful engagement but also opens avenues for collaborative support and involvement. Sponsors and supporters can actively participate in the Adopt a Grandparent community, interact with its members, and contribute to their happiness and wellbeing.

Our technology is responding to a call for the care sector to become more technologically driven, with some studies showing that 76% of respondents felt that the care industry needs to become more digital. The digital transformation in the care sector demonstrates that technology can empower individuals and improve their quality of life, especially when it comes to our beloved ‘grandparents’.

The transformative era of care

Our digital innovation doesn’t stop at individual pairings; it extends to a broader vision for the entire care industry. The number of care homes in the UK is substantial, and the challenge of addressing loneliness among older people in these homes is immense. In fact, there are about 17,100 care homes in the UK and around 70% of care home residents have dementia. Sadly, around 60% of people in care homes get no visitors – a statistic which worsened around the pandemic.

One positive side of the pandemic, though, was that it expedited the adoption of digital capabilities across various industries, but its impact on the care sector has been especially profound. With lockdowns and restrictions having forced care homes to limit visits, residents who lived with dementia and loneliness found themselves isolated from their loved ones. The adoption of technology helped to bridge this gap, offering companionship and enhancing well-being.

This paradigm shift in the care sector underlines the great potential of technology not just as a tool but as a source of genuine connection and solace for those who have experienced loneliness as a pervasive part of their lives. The more individuals we are able to reach with our initiatives, the more it becomes increasingly evident that the adoption of this tech-driven model can significantly enrich the lives of older people across the UK.

We envision a future where our model can be adopted by large care groups, bringing the benefits of digital companionship to a wider audience.

More than just an app

Our app serves as a secure digital haven where care homes actively share their moments, triumphs, and connections, mirroring a personalised digital journal – almost serving as a social media platform for our volunteers and ‘grandparents’. Through this platform, designated companions engage with care homes, sharing photos and encouraging connections, creating an intimate sense of community.

Through our tech partner, Ugenie, we were supported through the process of building our community platform – central to both the tech and care sectors is the power of collaboration, and this is something that we pride ourselves on.

Adopt a Grandparent stands at the forefront of this digital transformation, addressing the critical issue of loneliness among the older community. By pairing volunteers with isolated ‘grandparents’, we have created meaningful relationships that transcend the virtual world.

As the number of care homes in the UK continues to rise, the need for innovative solutions like ours becomes increasingly urgent. By encouraging large care groups to embrace digital innovation and integrate the Adopt a Grandparent model into their facilities, we can combat loneliness on a much larger scale, ensuring that no older person is left behind.

In the midst of a rapidly evolving care sector, Adopt a Grandparent is a shining example of how digital innovation can be harnessed for the greater good. In these challenging times, our commitment to technology and companionship is a testament to the potential of tech for good.

The pandemic has accelerated the need for such initiatives and evidenced how technology can bridge generational gaps, combat loneliness, and ultimately enhance the lives of our beloved communities and older individuals.

Niharika Noakes is Chief Strategy Officer at Adopt A Grandparent.

Niharika, who joined Adopt a Grandparent in 2023, has a background spanning over 15 years in communications, active citizenship projects, advocacy, and community development. She is set to play a key role in driving our growth and impact, bringing more attention to its mission with a plan to take the charity’s subscription app into care homes and specialist services across the UK.

Niharika’s vision revolves around enhancing the intergenerational connections nurtured by our team, recognising that companionship is a powerful antidote to loneliness and depression. She aims to purposefully bring together different generations, document their shared journeys, and work towards improving mental health while delivering a positive societal impact.


Scroll to Top