Talking tech since 2003

When you think of cutting edge technology and new apps, you don’t tend to think of senior citizens using them, but you should.   Seniors represent a significant and growing proportion of the market, expected to reach nearly 20% of the population by 2030, and technology startups are starting to take notice.  Tapestry, an app that aims to directly market to seniors, enables them to connect with their families in an easy way.

The Tapestry app, previously only available on Android, has been released on iOS, allowing seniors to stay in touch with loved ones through a single Tapestry account, where they can share photos, messages, and even check the weather.  The interface is aimed toward seniors with larger buttons and user-friendly options.  The new app also includes an integrated help feature and an extra layer of security that email alone doesn’t have, with a private messaging feature available for selected family and friends.

Tapestry App2

“Technology should be about breaking down barriers not building them up, but so many seniors feel excluded because they find things like Facebook or email complicated and confusing,” said Andrew Dowling, CEO of Tapestry.  “Their children or grandchildren are sharing all these important moments and memories online, but they are missing out because they haven’t grown up around this technology and aren’t comfortable with it.”

Tapestry is also helping to ease depression among senior citizens living in elderly care facilities by allowing them to feel more connected with members of their family.

“The rate of depression in seniors living in aged care facilities is very high and yet seniors are less likely to want to talk to others about feeling depressed,” Dowling said.  “Tapestry aims to reduce the feelings of loneliness felt by so many elderly people by helping them connect to those who matter to them.”

In 2012, the startup raised $600,000 and is currently in discussions with investors to raise another round of funding to accelerate international growth.   Since launching more than a year ago, Tapestry has over 1500 users.

While the app is free to sign up,  Tapestry gives the option of subscribing to a $5/month plan for additional benefits such as unlimited photo and message storage.  The free version allows sharing of photos but doesn’t store them indefinitely.  The company recently expanded to include an enterprise plan, which is aimed at assisting operational businesses.  The enterprise plan, which is $9/month, has additional administration controls and communication capabilities.  Dowling said they added the enterprise plan to improve communication with the community between the residents themselves and aged care workers.

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