New service helps seniors without smartphones take advantage of popular app services

GoGo Grandparent helps connect seniors to popular app services
Updated: Feb. 22, 2017 at 7:12 PM EST
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(CBS News) - A new service is helping seniors without smartphones take advantage of popular app services, like Uber, from their touchtone phones.

When Justin Boogaard got out of college, he spent three years living with his grandmother, Betty Lou Luce, to save some money. He says it was a learning experience for both of them

"I taught you how to use the TV, you taught me how to put the toilet seat down," he joked.?

Justin also taught Betty about services like Uber, but Uber works through an app and Betty is among the 70% of Americans over the age of 65 who don't own a smartphone.

With his grandmother in mind, Justin developed "GoGo Grandparent," a service that connects seniors to app services using a traditional touchtone phone.

A recording on the line guides the caller to the service they need. Employees at the call center set up the Uber ride for the customer.

Customers are charged an extra 19 cents a minute during the ride for the service and pay the total cost of the ride through a credit card that is on file.

"I'd really be house-bound I think without it," Betty said. "I couldn't just depend on friends and family all the time to get me here and there."

GoGo Grandparent has callers from 47 states, Puerto Rico and three provinces in Canada.

All the call center employees, dubbed 'professional grandchildren' were raised by or have lived with a grandparent.

They eventually hope to add other app services, like grocery delivery.

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