America is getting older, and many seniors live in Florida, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau.
To reach the growing number of seniors, an online caregiving platform has expanded to Central Florida.
CareYaya is a health tech website that connects families that need companion care for their loved ones, with healthcare students who need hands-on experience.
Families can create an account on CareYaya's website and request companion care.
Once they are matched with a student caregiver, they can pay the student directly at rates starting at $15 an hour.
Carolyn Picton received care for her 92-year-old mother, Betty Nelson, who had recently gotten out of surgery.
"My mother had a lumpectomy, and I was a little concerned that she was going to need to spend a couple of nights in the hospital. We contacted CareYaya to provide some care for her," Picton said. "Gratefully, she came back the next day without any issues, so we almost didn't need the care. But we decided since it was already scheduled, and it was so inexpensive, that [the caregiver] could just come and tidy up and do some laundry and just be an extra set of ears to talk to."
"We didn't have a long time together, but it was nice having her and she helped me after surgery," Nelson said. "I wasn't in the best of strength, and I got tired real fast."
Degenhardt was able to help with household chores and provide some comfort for Nelson.
"One of the biggest issues I think, facing health care in America right now is the elder care crisis. It's so sad to see that so many homes and patients are being out-priced out of the traditional home care system, since it gets expensive for families," Degenhardt said. "With this platform, the patients get an affordable home care option, and the students have an opportunity to connect, while also earning some money."
CareYaya has partnered with students from schools across the nation. With the recent expansion into Orlando, the platform can now reach Stetson University and the University of Central Florida.