Digerati50: To grandma, with love

  • Martin Yap drives Care Concierge to allow the aged to live life – undisturbed
  • Data and AI platform aims to supercharge caregivers to deliver better quality care

Digerati50: To grandma, with love

Digital News Asia (DNA) continues its series that profiles 50 influencers who are helping shape Malaysia’s Digital Economy, from Digerati50 2020-2021 (Vol 4), a special biennial print publication released in July 2020. The digital copy can be downloaded from the sidebar link.

The following article first appeared in the print edition.

Care Concierge may very well be one of the important Malaysian startups in the coming years. As noted by the Malaysian Department of Statistics, 15% of the country’s population will be 65 years and older by 2030 – a number which, by the definition set by the World Health Organisation, will make Malaysia a country with an aging population.

What Care Concierge does is provide an option for the elderly to age-in-place, essentially letting them age at home with the right elder care service. While the core aspect of CareConcierge is in providing professional and personalised caregiver support, the backbone behind the startup is an ecosystem comprising of caregiver training, elderly daycare centres and support at assisted living centres.

CareConcierge currently have more than 1,500 caregivers, nurses and therapists within their system. They also have what they call Care Managers – personnel that serve as a liaison between caregivers and the family. They handle things from billing and requests from additional resources to more complicated aspects like therapist scheduling.

Underneath this all, however, is technology. What cofounder and CEO Martin Yap has done, alongside his team members, is to utilise digital technology to enhance caregiving. To start with, CareConcierge caregivers are required to key in information of the elderly using an app – data which range from blood pressure to the patient’s heart rate.

The data is then fed to Care Concierge’s team of “care managers”, who analyse the information. This method has already proven critical – Yap says that their care managers tracking the data of one of their care recipients found that the man had internal bleeding and were able to send him to the hospital before anything severe happened.

Not only that, the information also allows family members to track the wellbeing of their elderlies.

“What’s key for us is that we’re taking care of both the seniors and their family members as well. We want to empower them to live life undisrupted. We’re here to support them so they can live their own lives and have their own free time,” Martin says.

The startup is already thinking ahead, piloting the use of sensors to geotrack patients, allowing caregivers to know when Alzheimer patients wander out of their rooms or homes, or detect falls. They are looking into the use of AI to predict the conditions of their elderly, allowing them to make more informed decisions.

The intention is to “supercharge” caregivers. As the platform grows, Care Concierge’s service will be further enhanced with tech that range from the aforementioned AI use to something as simple as panic buttons that connect to their platform.

Yet there’s a thoughtfulness to the approach with tech. When asked if Care Concierge will look into using wearables as a means to track elderly health, Yap notes that the elderly react very easily to new things, and usually dislike having to wear them.

Ultimately, it’s about allowing the elderly to age in place as comfortable as possible – an aspect Martin fully understands. Aged care is something that he is more than well versed in – prior to starting Care Concierge, Martin was the architect who spearheaded the design for the award-winning Green Leaf Retirement Resort in Sepang, Selangor.

He subsequently developed, designed and operated The Mansion, a premium nursing home facility in Kuala Lumpur.

Care Concierge, however, started as a desire to care for his grandmother, who suffered a stroke. Martin noticed how it affected his whole family, and how aging in place matters. He and his partners built the platform after discovering that no such services exist in Malaysia, starting first with funding from peers and subsequently from Cradle Fund Sdn Bhd.

He’s clearly on the right track. The startup has been recognised as the SEA Startup Disruptor of the Year by Wild Digital in 2019.

[Ed: It has since then gone on to be a winner of Ageing Asia Eldercare Innovation Awards 2020 in 4 categories.]

Martin has already understood the needs that fulfil the standards of quality aged care – the tech is just about enabling it. A passion for aged care isn’t just what motivates him, but his team as well. “It’s a clichéd thing, but it’s the truth; when you see the elderly being happy, when you see their progress towards recovery, it really gives us a sense that what we’re doing is right.”  

Digerati50 2020/2021 is proudly sponsored by Maxis - Powering Malaysia's 5G era.

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