Caring for the Aged in COVID Times
How can we reimagine the aged care experience
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As COVID-19 has swept across the globe, economies around the world have ground to a halt. Governments have taken drastic action to try to control its spread, urging their citizens to socially distance themselves and stay at home. Entire workforces have shifted to working from home, international travel has been put on hold, and social events have moved online. Our once-bustling city centres have become like ghost towns.
Our local businesses, especially small businesses, have seen huge casualties because of these changes. Since the social distancing measures were introduced, two-thirds of Australian businesses have reported a loss in revenue, and 1 in 10 businesses have paused their trading completely .
These negative impacts have significantly reduced employment levels across the country. Within the hospitality sector, 70% of businesses have been forced to reduce staff hours, while 43% have either made workers redundant or placed them on unpaid leave .
These impacts are not due to lockdowns and restrictions alone. Even as businesses begin to re-open, consumer footfall has not gone back to pre-COVID levels. Until a vaccine is found, consumers will continue to socially distance themselves. Australian businesses, and the economy, will continue to struggle.
Present.ly offers a solution, by providing an easy avenue for small businesses to adapt their offering and connect to a large customer base at minimal cost. Present.ly is a centralised platform that offers care packages to customers consisting of general groceries to specialised goods. These care packages are sourced from local, small businesses.
Present.ly seeks to resolve financial struggles in local businesses by allowing them to pivot their operations through an online channel. Customers who are in social isolation, have limited mobility or do not have access to essential goods are also supported through these care packages.
Businesses can prepare care packages consisting of their successful inventory, items that they can no longer effectively sell due to isolation and restrictions, and group these with items they do not offer otherwise. For example, a local store that offers painting lessons can pivot their offering and provide customers with a care package consisting of a beginner painting set, or a painting lesson subscription. Cinemas and theatres can prepare care packages with memorabilia, merchandise, and non-perishable goods. Additionally, businesses can partner up to provide care packages that showcase local goods across multiple industries or within a single theme to promote local tourism and accelerate economic recovery.
Customers can purchase care packages for themselves or to send to loved ones. Present.ly offers both pre-made packages catered to specific needs (e.g. beauty package, sweets package, kids package) and the option to customise care packages. People can choose from a selection of quality-checked items, which are organised on the basis of personal preferences and the financial need of local businesses. Using publicly available taxation data and JobKeeper data, we can identify which local businesses on Present.ly are struggling the most, and promote their items more. Additionally, we provide information on the items offered by each business, the story behind each business, and a map showing the locations of the businesses in the customer’s local area. In this way, Present.ly raises awareness of local businesses, and enables people to explore and connect with local hidden gems when restrictions ease.
Through our care packages, Presently also caters to people feeling more anxious, depressed and socially disconnected in this time of crisis. In particular, many of our most vulnerable, especially the elderly, have been forced to isolate themselves for protection. Our care packages can help alleviate the loneliness and disconnection that our aged community are experiencing at this time, and help them better connect with their loved ones. More generally, our care packages enable people to nurture and care for themselves and their loved ones, while also supporting small, Australian businesses.
Beyond COVID-19, Present.ly will continue to support small businesses by raising their public profiles and by providing an online platform for them to sell their goods at minimal cost. As online shopping becomes more common, small businesses will have to adapt to ensure their doors can remain open. Present.ly will help small businesses remain competitive in the digital age.
The first iteration of Present.ly will provide the online service for both businesses and customers, where we offer pre-made care packages. Initially we will offer our services to selected businesses in heavily affected suburbs (e.g. Liverpool in Sydney), and attract the first group of customers through a Kickstarter campaign. This will enable us to refine our offering and customer experiences.
The next milestone for Present.ly will be to incorporate additional features, such as personalised packages, recommended packages based on industries that are struggling, and themed community packages. We will bring aboard more businesses in this phase through online advertising, Government messaging to JobKeeper applicants, and through in-person communications. As the care package offerings increase, we will advertise Present.ly care packages online to attract end customers.
We explored several routes for our business model, from subscription based service for businesses or business partnerships, to a percentage based fee. We will start to implement our business model once we have established our presence within the community. We hope our contribution here will allow anyone to make a difference.
G-Drive Evidence of Work: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/14iyvgixtTyLmCTE5kdpfHo4sq-JRq6d-?usp=sharing
We used several datasets to help with the development and bringing our idea to life
Our main sources of data are from
Australia Business Register
We made every effort to use data that adheres to the FAIR Principle, however not all are under the guidelines of FAIR.
We used this data to identify several insights on the current circumstance business’ are in. We used ABR Bulk Data to identify the businesses within the customer's local area. We combine the jobkeeper data and tax data from the ATO and treasury to identify businesses that are struggling during the recession and lockdown. We can then highlight these businesses on our platform to increase awareness and allow customers to support them financially. My Victoria data provided additional insights on the each of the community within the region. The Google Maps API has been used to promote a stronger connection between customers and businesses by allowing them to see and empathise businesses that are struggling nearby that they can help.
Evidence of Work
Description of Use Identify insights on businesses and the local community within Victoria
Description of Use We use tax data from the ATO to identify businesses that are struggling during the recession and lockdown.
Description of Use Identify businesses within Australia
Description of Use We use the JobKeeper data to identify businesses and areas that are struggling during the recession and lockdown.
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