Avanlee Care joins forces with Walmart, uses technology to support millions of unpaid caregivers

Avanlee Care teamed up with Walmart to bring its digital tool to the 65 million Americans caring for aging family members. Currently, 90% of seniors are choosing to age in place and rely on digital tools to access support.

The Avanlee app will be displayed and promoted in the pharmacy and grocery sections of select Walmart supercenter locations in Arizona, Florida, New York and Texas. Walmart representatives will be on-site to answer questions and provide support to shoppers using the mobile app. The app can connect to wearables, like Fitbit, in order to inform family members about the health of seniors aging in place. The app also integrates appointments, medication reminders and grocery lists in one place to ease the burden on caregivers.

“Our team and some executives will be there to talk about the Avanlee app with caregivers coming into Walmart shopping for their aging parents,” Avanlee founder and CEO Avanlee Christine told Fierce Healthcare. “It’s exciting to have somebody like Walmart taking a vested interest in the fact that so many of their shoppers are caregivers and figuring out how can they just simply make their lives easier.”

The first customer to receive a delivery of Walmart groceries from the app was Christine’s own grandmother. The formulation of the app was born out of watching the women in Christine's family care for her aging grandfather after he was diagnosed with dementia when she was 10 years old.

That experience, along with watching her grandmother age, inspired Christine to build various tools as part of the caregiver app. Not only can the indirect cost of caregiving be diminished through the use of one integrated app, but family members across the country can stay connected and share the emotional and financial burden of care, Christine said.

Christine’s mother is the only sibling living near her aging mother. With Avanlee, her out-of-state sister can order and pay for a grocery list created through the integration with Walmart products. Currently, only groceries and health and wellness products can be purchased, but Christine hopes that medication can be included in the future.

“No one really gets it until they're in it,” Christine said. “When you're in caregiving, you're like, ‘I can do this. I'll help mom.’ And then you look at the end of the week, and then the next week, and then the month, and you add up all that time, and it's a part-time job.”

Family members get private health reports with Fitbit integration and track medication and medical appointments. Private, HIPAA-compliant messages can be sent between caregivers. Christine says that, on average, two to three caregivers access the app.

The free version of the app allows two family members to access the information, four managed medications, four managed events and two Walmart shopping lists. For $10 a month, up to 10 caregivers can join with unlimited medications, events and lists. With a bump up to $13, for a limited time, up to 30 caregivers can join.

Walmart shopping lists can be personally made or pulled from a list of Avanlee-crafted lists directed toward specific conditions. Pre-made lists include tailoring for gluten-free groceries, dairy-free groceries, low-sodium groceries, diabetic-friendly groceries, post-surgery support and adaptive equipment.

Currently, the most popular features for caregivers are grocery lists followed by tracking health and vitals. For senior users, support in medication adherence is the No. 1 used, and the ability to create and save shopping lists. Christine rejects the notion that seniors can’t use technology, citing a statistic that over 60% of seniors have a smart device, and she does see a great appreciation from seniors that all features are in one app.

“We surveyed our top 200 users, and we asked them what would make caregiving easy; they said, the ability to get all of these products in this app and not have to use others,” Christine said. “So my mom could do this because she's 100 miles away from me. I don't have the ability to do this for her. That's kind of the use case of a lot of our users: They're just working people who have an aging parent and they don't live exactly near and they're trying to get mom or dad all these products that they need to age at home, and this just made it that much easier.

Avanlee's primary investor, Esther Dyson, will be in select Walmart locations participating in the partnership’s pilot launch later this month. Ten locations in total will participate in the launch with more expected to come.

Avanlee is also looking to expand through partnerships with Medicare Advantage plans, health plans and employers. The company wants to expand its footprint in the 4,500 Walmart locations throughout the country where 230 million Americans shop every week.