Helping your aging parents from afar can be challenging. Tuktu has the solution.

young man plays piano for older adult at home

Tuktu Care offers family-like support for your loved ones. The company provides on-demand support services by matching older adults with local, vetted helpers from their own community. The helpers, or tuktus, assist clients with everyday chores and companionship, including driving to appointments, gardening, home keeping, technology assistance, shopping, pet sitting… the list goes on.

Tuktu’s technology allows for smart and safe protocols; its language, interests, and culture-based preference matching sets them apart from traditional agencies. This business is far more than transactional; the tuktus themselves set their own schedules and enjoy sharing their stories, skills, and experiences with clients. It is also a lifeline for adult children who live far away from their aging parents.

Rustam Sengupta, the founder and CEO of Tuktu, lives an ocean away from his parents who struggle with dementia and social isolation, both conditions exacerbated by the COVID pandemic. Realizing that this was the case for an untold number of older adults, Sengupta started Tuktu with eight volunteers and a spreadsheet in summer 2021; it now boasts more than 500+ clients (across British Columbia and Alberta) and hundreds of providers (lovingly called Tuktus), with plans to expand throughout Canada next year.

Two other factors make Tuktu stand out among the inventory of other service providers, and helped the organization earn funding from the Centre for Aging + Brain Health Innovation’s (CABHI) MC2 Capital program:

Unique approach uses data to create personalized care models.
The same old existing models of care aren’t meeting the needs of adults who are living healthy and living longer in their homes. This cohort is growing quickly, and due to changes in family structures that often leave aging parents behind, adult children are looking for something reliable and up-to-date. Tuktu’s technology can personalize what an older person needs and makes it easier for remote family members to schedule care.

Respectful connection to the Indigenous community.
Rustam and his spouse Helina Jolly moved to Canada so she could pursue her Ph.D. in Natural Resource Management and Indigenous Studies. The company’s name, Tuktu, means ‘caribou,’ in Inuktitut. Caribou are an intractable part of Indigenous culture and reflective of the community’s relationship with the land. Helina landed on the name Tuktu and consulted with local Elders to seek their opinion about using it for the company.

Those were two of the reasons why Tuktu’s application to CABHI’s MC2 Capital program stood out from so many others. “We’ve seen many companies trying to address caregiving challenges, but Tuktu’s on-demand, AI-driven smart matchmaking technology provides a much more personalized experience than other solutions. This unique feature, combined with the passion and understanding from the founder’s own experience caring for his parents, made Tuktu’s application for MC2 Capital a success,” says Dr. Allison Sekuler, President and Chief Scientist at CABHI.

As the organization enters into a round of seed funding and expands across Canada, its commitment to addressing societal challenges with a personalized and data-driven approach is paramount.

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