After analysing 25 early stage ventures, including HomeTouch, Patients Know Best, Casserole Club and My Support Broker, the report found that new technology could increase the supply and efficiency of informal care, and deliver low cost, personalised solutions.
However, it highlights the need for social entrepreneurs to work with commissioners and care providers, and provide evidence of impact.
In fact, over 9m older people could need ‘informal care’ from their friends and family in ten years time. And by 2017 the number of older people in need of care will outstrip the number of family members able to help.
The report, ‘Who Cares?‘, also found that social entrepreneurs are at the forefront of designing new technologies that can improve the informal care market, but that they are being held back by a lack of investment.
Arguably, new technologies can build ‘networks of care’, which improve connections between older people and their carers, increase engagement from the community and help to manage and co-ordinate care tasks.
“The time bomb that is our ageing population is increasingly well documented,” says Joe Ludlow, Nesta’s impact investment director. “The implications for demand on care services are profound and public spending can’t keep up.
“Social entrepreneurs are developing solutions that can avoid the looming crisis, solutions which can also be highly successful businesses over time. But to achieve the scale necessary to tackle this problem these entrepreneurs need investment capital. Now is the time for impact investors to engage with this serious social need, which is also a significant economic opportunity.”
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