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Using the Crowd to Improve Elderly Care


good samaritanFive years ago Task Rabbit was formed as a kind of eBay for some of the mundane chores that we don’t really fancy doing ourselves.  Whether it’s doing our dishes or waiting in line for the next hot gadget, the site provides a platform for people to pay others to take care of the things we have neither the time or inclination for.

Suffice to say, the very nature of the site has attracted criticism, with people suggesting that the site is all rather demeaning and degrading.  Of course, people are volunteering to engage in the tasks, but you can understand the point.  There are sites however that combine the microtasking inherent within Task Rabbit, with a slightly more social end product.

One of these is a new mobile app called STANDWITH, which aims to apply similar principles to Task Rabbit, but with the end product being better care for the elderly and those with severe illnesses that have difficulty caring for themselves.

The app was created by Yael Cohen, the founder of Fuck Cancer, and differs from Task Rabbit in that it relies purely upon goodwill rather than on micropayments. The app taps into the contacts of patients via social networks and allows friends of those in need to offer up help with regular chores, such as getting the groceries or doing the laundry.

Friends can see which tasks have been picked up by people, and can coordinate amongst themselves via a chat facility built into the app to.  What’s more, the app also lets people help out financially, so if they don’t have time available, they can still purchase needed items via AmazonFresh or Uber.

The app is currently in private beta stage, and it will be interesting to see how attractive it proves to be to people on both sides of the equation.  You can try it out here.

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