At The Startup CFO, we are passionate about transmitting good startup practices to help budding entrepreneurs on their journey to tangible success. However, we are equally as interested in exploring companies and organizations that make a difference beyond the business world, especially when they demonstrate the ability to mobilise others to do good for some of the most vulnerable communities in our society. In this post, we’re going to take a look at Adopta Un Abuelo, la startup con conciencia social que se ha convertido en un movimiento imparable que tiene como objetivo tender un mejor puente generacional, al tiempo que apoya a una comunidad que ahora cuenta con 360.000 personas mayores solo en las residencias de ancianos de España.
An increasingly relevant social issue
If there is one guarantee in life, it’s the fact that all of us will age. If we look at the global panorama, but particularly that of Europe, it’s evident that our society has a larger community of older people who need caring for. Putting the horrific impact of the COVID-19 pandemic to one side, general life expectancy has increased in our senior citizens, which means that elderly populations are in desperate need of a more diverse range of services and support networks that foster a better quality of life..
However, key mental health issues affecting elderly people, including loneliness and emotional health, are often neglected and simply left to one side in order to prioritise physical health issues.
Alberto Cabanes, founder of AdoptaUnAbuelo, felt the need to do something about this heart wrenching situation when he met his dad’s nursing home friend, Bernardo, an elderly man who confessed to him that his dream was to have a grandchild who paid him frequent visits.
Alberto decided to adopt Bernardo as his own grandad, realising that the pair had an immense amount to share and benefit from in their meetings and long chats. He drew on this personal experience to start his charity in 2014 and decided to work towards the dream of rolling out similar interactions and relationship building schemes across Spain.
Tackling loneliness and lack of awareness head on
Alberto decided to move forward with his social, charity-oriented business using business angels and private investors who had managed to raise 675,000 euros by 2020. The idea has proven so successful that the company now offers paid plans to interested participants, whereby users sign up for a monthly fee in order to strengthen and reaffirm a commitment to the charity and its work. This fact is extremely impressive, considering that the service is completely free for the elderly residents who take part and is propelled by younger generations who pay for the privilege of visiting and spending time with their adopted grandparents. In a sense, the organisation has helped rekindle and celebrate the fostering of relationships between two generations that rarely get the opportunity to mix.
Growing values and consciousness
Considering this impressive success story, it’s no surprise that the company has expanded its reach and the number of services it offers to elderly communities through an army of keen users across the nation. The experiences held through the platform come to life in two distinct formats, with both long-term support relationships providing frequent contact between an adopted grandparent and grandchild, and so-called “one shots”, which offer one-off experiences and events.
In keeping with the brand’s mission to create experiences, give elderly people the respect they deserve, and develop new communication solutions to foster interaction, a range of different meetups and options now exist in order to further explore these valuable relationships. These new channels include video calls and phone calls, cookery classes, social outings and even the chance to sit down for a cold pint of beer together.
An idea that knows no limits
Adopt a Grandparent has demonstrated potential for huge success through the distinct social experiences it offers and continues to grow across Spain. It has now broken into the extremely profitable corporate market, offering corporate social responsibility schemes and activities for organizations and their employees. These developments point to a successful future for the brand, which seeks to reach a wider target audience and impact the communities most in need of support, while also widening its use of process automation and machine learning to facilitate dynamic workshops and a range stress-reducing activities for nursing home communities.
The company can now vouch for tangible success and results across its schemes, in both the young people and elderly residents who form the programs key participants.
Also proving to be a hugely successful project in terms of opportunities for virtual platforms and learning.
Looking towards the future, Adopt a Grandparent will seek further expansion in its bid to help more vulnerable people, and highlight the health benefits of the work it does to reduce loneliness, depression and anxiety in the elderly and teenagers alike.