We’re going to Rockford, Illinois to meet two participants in a unique program called Papa Pals. It’s a service that’s helping seniors at home, while reducing social isolation. Social isolation can contribute to depression, dementia, heart attacks, and strokes. Betty Schaffer is a 74-year-old widow who had been caring for her husband who had dementia. In providing care, she found that she had been neglecting her own health. Susan Wheeler has been working as a Papa Pal since March, helping Betty and other seniors.
Andrew Parker, founder and CEO of Papa Inc. explains, “Pals do a variety of things for seniors. They drive, they help around the house, they teach them how to use technology. They take them into the community. It's really an intergenerational connection that doesn't feel like you're being cared for.”
Potential Papa Pals go through an extensive background check and training regimen called “Papa University.” On average, the company receives 20,000 applications each month, and roughly 10% of applicants become Pals. Christopher Ciano, President of Aetna Medicare, a CVS Health company, has been essential to bringing these family on-demand services to select Medicare Advantage members, and expanding the reach of this program over time.