The on-demand economy – fast, convenient and affordable – is undeniably here. With an app on our smartphone, we can instantly secure numerous services, whether it’s a ride across town, a restaurant reservation, finding a home repair professional or a room for rent in Paris or Phoenix.

For the nation’s 65 million family caregivers, finding quality care help can become a time-consuming task and sometimes a costly effort. But on-demand services, also known as the sharing economy, are now offering a marketplace for family caregivers to find professional care services, from in-home care to transportation to meal delivery and many other services that can help save money and time.

In-home care

An AARP report found 89 percent of older Americans want to stay living in their home as long and as independently as possible. Other statistics show 47 percent of women over age 75 live alone at home. Family caregivers, especially the Sandwich Generation juggling kids, work and caring for an older parent, can’t always be there to ensure an older loved one is safe at home. Getting help with light housekeeping, meal preparation, medication adherence and other personal care tasks aids caregivers in solving this “aging in place” plan.

“Some leading on demand transportation apps, such as Uber and Lyft, are now focusing on helping seniors stay mobile.”

Now, sharing economy professional in-home care services offer apps connecting family caregivers to online professional caregiver marketplaces. Think of it like Match.com or eHarmony. The family caregiver and loved one create a profile of what the care recipient needs and they are matched with professionals in the network based on skill level and experience. Background checks, liability insurance and paperwork for payments or taxes are handled by the caregiver marketplace provider. Family caregivers get fast, affordable, convenient in-home care help for their loved ones to stay safely at home.

Transportation

Many family caregivers become the taxi drivers for their older loved ones who no longer drive. AARP estimated that caregivers provide 1.4 billion trips each year for seniors aged 70-plus, who have entered “driving retirement.”

Some leading on demand transportation apps, such as Uber and Lyft, are now focusing on helping seniors stay mobile. Partnerships between care providers and the new on demand transportation services are a fast growing area. Hospitals, long-term care facilities, rehabilitation services and dialysis clinics are now developing on demand transportation partners. Drivers are specially trained to understand mobility issues among an aging population and the providers are working to address door-through-door services to offer more than the traditional taxi service. In addition, a caregiver can use the app on their smartphone to order the ride for their loved one so the senior does not necessarily have to have a smartphone or an account.

When it comes to caring for older loved ones, many family caregivers are often in on-demand mode. Now it’s nice to know there are services out there – available via a smartphone app – that can help care for our aging population and give caregivers the affordable break they need.