A new online marketplace, Careseekers, is reinventing the traditional way people find in-home aged care workers.
The start-up is using digital technology to directly connect more than 1,200 skilled, qualified care workers with people who need care; now making it easier than ever to find affordable in-home care.
The revolutionary service was developed by sisters and co-founders Marissa Sandler and Lauren Hockley after their grandparents became ill and wanted to remain at home but struggled to find suitable and affordable care.
“Private in-home care was expensive and government options were rigid and impersonal. We knew there had to be a better way for people to find care workers and realised we needed to bring technology to aged care,” says Marissa.
“We created Careseekers as an online matching platform where people can search for care workers based on their specific needs. An algorithm in the backend ensures the most relevant search results so people find the care worker that’s the right fit for them. Our Care Payment system is a game changer too. It caters to the different ways people pay for care and takes the headache out of invoicing and recording hours by allowing care workers to submit their timesheets and have them approved and paid with the click of a button.”
Stepping outside comfort zones
This was unchartered territory for the siblings; neither had any tech experience before creating Careseekers. “I was a human rights and disability discrimination lawyer and Lauren worked in marketing so we prioritised partnering with tech people who were able to communicate with us very clearly and appreciated our lack of tech knowledge.”
Marissa and Lauren also faced another challenge as women entering the male-dominated tech world. “Lauren and I came from more female-dominated industries so it was a change to find ourselves in such a male-dominated field. We quickly found we were either the only women, or part of a very small group of women, in any room. It’s crazy how underrepresented women are in tech. At first it was overwhelming, but now we own it and use it to our advantage. As our company grows, encouraging and supporting women to work in tech will certainly be a focus for us.”
What exactly does Careseekers do?
Essentially an online matching service, Careseekers connects people needing care with more than 1,200 qualified carers that can assist with cleaning, cooking, running errands, transport and personal duties in the home. The site provides useful resources for families when engaging an in-home care worker and a secure online payment system for paying care workers. Careseekers is also helping organisations recruit staff for aged care facilities, respite centres and group homes.
“The challenge Lauren and I faced was not unique. Australia is being transformed by an ageing population as the baby boomer generation is turning 65, and these people increasingly want to stay in the home as they age. This generation also wants more choice and control over how they age at home than previous generations.”
In 2012 the number of people over 65 living independently in their own homes, requiring assistance with one every day task was 1.4 million. In 2022, it is expected to rise to 2 million. “The current way in which care is provided by the private and public sectors is unsustainable. Innovation is needed to address the growing challenges and Careseekers is one way we’re doing this.”
Careseekers ensures all its care workers are trustworthy by only registering those who have been through a rigorous onboarding process. It provides insurance so care workers can work in the home and only charges a very small administrative fee to use the innovative CarePay system. The service is currently available throughout NSW, with plans to expand in Melbourne in April and Perth in August.