Honor is a startup that has been likened to Uber, an app that allows people to request transportation on demand and automatically pay. The company has raised $20 million from investors. Honor is a new model for in-home senior care invented by Seth Sternberg, co-founder and CEO of Meebo (acquired by Google for $100 million in 2012). Sternberg believes Honor is the tip of the iceberg for utilizing technology to change the way seniors receive care. Honor has been likened to Uber because as Uber is a service that matches customers with drivers, Honor is an application that matches families with home care providers. Honor also provides family members with a monitoring system so they can ensure their loved one is receiving the high quality care they need. Honor is set to launch this April in Contra Costa County, CA, and then it has plans to expand throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.
Honor is hard at work recruiting caregivers to match seniors in need of services. However, the company is incredibly selective, so far only hiring approximately 5 percent of applicants. The company is requiring that all its caregivers are certified nursing assistants or in possession of another certification related to in-home senior care. Honor has raised wages for its caregivers, who will earn no less than $15 per hour. The current industry average is $9.50 per hour, and recently industry workers around the country have advocated for higher pay. Seth Sternberg has remarked that “We don’t treat our care professionals very well right now. That’s a bad situation. We’re raising the wage floor for care professionals. I think technology can help make that happen by helping to bring efficiency and better care to the space.” As Honor expands throughout the country, its raised pay rate will likely have an effect on all senior living companies, and increase employee demand for higher wages.
Caregivers on Demand
Customers will be able to download an Honor app to their smartphone and describe the care they require. They will then be matched with a caregiver on an as-needed basis, as little as one hour per week. The goal is to form lasting relationships between caregivers and clients, so that seniors are receiving care from someone they know and trust. Initially, Honor’s services will be paid entirely out of pocket. Sternberg has not allowed for coverage by Medicare and Medicaid at this time. Payments will be automatic and linked to a credit card, similar to Uber.
Honor will closely monitor caregivers’ activity in clients’ homes. A monitoring appliance will be kept in homes. It will enable clients to rate caregivers’ services. This way, the company can ensure they are sending out only highly rated caregivers to seniors’ homes. Honor will also have an internal monitoring system that tracks caregivers’ activities. Family members will also be able to monitor the activities of Honor’s caregivers.
The launch of Honor demonstrates a change the way senior care is provided. Senior living companies are very likely to take notice and alter their caregiving strategies.
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