Loneliness and isolation is an “underappreciated” public health crisis that can lead to increased risk of heart disease, increased risk of stroke and increased risk of dementia, according to theU.S. Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek Murthy. Older adults areespecially affectedby loneliness.
New York City-basedPeppermintis an “online clubhouse community” for adults aged 55 and older that allows them to connect with others through online clubs (like for traveling or gardening), workshops (like for nutrition or photography) and collaboration (where members can work together on activities like creating a recipe book). The company pays experts to lead these activities in their respective areas of expertise. Some of these experts include providers, nurses and healthcare professionals, who lead workshops and events on areas like nutrition and physical activity.
“We’ve built these opportunities to learn, to connect, to grow, where collaboration ultimately fuels all of it,” said Rich Maggiotto, CEO of Peppermint, in an interview. “You’re not doing [these activities] by yourself. You’re doing them with other people that have similar interests.”
While the web-based platform doesn’t provide healthcare services directly, it will lead to better health outcomes by providing learning opportunities and hobbies to keep older adults’ minds sharp, Maggiotto declared. It also keeps them healthy physically by providing information on nutrition and physical activities like yoga. But overall, it’s about reducing loneliness.
“Ultimately, we want to build a phenomenal culture within that community that really feels that they’re seen, that they’re heard and that they can grow,” Maggiotto said.
Peppermint’s name came from the idea of providing a “refreshing” take on life, he added. The platform is offered to consumers at $9.99 a month. It also has a partnership with the Massachusetts Council of Aging, which is using Peppermint’s platform to supplement its own activities for older adults. The startup is also looking to work with senior living and assisted living communities.
As a company not directly providing healthcare services, Peppermint is a unique startup for Redesign Health. Redesign also helped build healthcare companies like Fort Health, an adolescent mental health solution, and Calibrate, a metabolic health company. It chose to help create Peppermint because it helps older adults feel fulfilled and form connections with others, which can then lead to healthier lifestyles.
“Forging new connections and other things is extremely hard,” said Karthik Krishnan, venture chair of Redesign Health. “So we’ve actually created this collaborative environment … where you can connect with people with shared interests. And you could be a novice in one area, or you can be an expert in another area, which means you’re giving in one situation and you’re actually learning in another situation. So that’s how this whole ecosystem has been set up, to really help people be physically, mentally and socially active.”
薄荷还收到investo的兴趣rs. It raised $8 million in seed funding, including from Primetime Partners. The company will use the funds for gaining additional members, as well experts for leading workshops and events, Maggiotto said.
The startup’s launch comes at a time when the older population is growing: the number of Americans ages 65 and older is expected to reach 80 million by 2040, according to theUrban Institute.
Other companies combating loneliness for older adults includePapa, which connects seniors with people for companionship and help with everyday tasks, andMon Ami, which connects seniors with college students.
Photo: FG Trade, Getty Images