Within the growing Digital economy of Thailand 4.0, where the intention is to not leave anyone behind, ‘Young Happy’ has emerged to find ‘Happiness’ of senior citizens. YoungHappy helps seniors maintain an active lifestyle that promotes their self-esteem, keep them engaged with their peers, and support their wellbeing. They also intend not to leave anyone behind either which is why it is called a bridge that connects the elderly and the world of digital technology. The challenge they are tackling is the rapid aging population in Thailand. Due to lack of activities to keep engaged, boredom, exclusion from society, depression, mental and physical degeneration, and health issues, 60% of Elder people, who are living in urban areas, are currently living the lives as a “sick” person. The 3 founders of Young Happy; Nada Tansawat, Chutiphone Upaibun, Thanakorn Promyot and, a group of young people who challenge themselves to solve the problems of the elderly in the form of Social Enterprise (SE). In order for elder people to become an active, fun, valuable, and self-reliant population in our society and have an easier and happier life ahead. I had a wonderful opportunity to interview one of the co-founders of Young Happy and explored his perception of his company.
“As human beings, we face these challenges in our lives. First, when we are young and our parents are old, we see the problems of how they struggle. Second, when we get old and face them ourselves. So no one can escape from these challenges.” said Thanakorn Promyot, Co-founder of Young Happy.
Thanakorn Promyot is 33 years old’s inspiration towards this innovation is that he wants to take care of his parents and see them happy. Life aims for happiness and that happiness can achieve a better happy society. The common problem with parents is that their children do not live with them and most of the time they are lonely. Who will look after them when their son/daughter is not around? In other countries, especially Europe, it may be normal for the elderly to return to work after their retirement. But in Thailand and many other Asian countries, we have social values. For example, if we let our parents go to work, the Society will have a negative mindset towards us. Same as sending elderly people living in a nursing home is normal in Europe but in Thailand, it is not. In the matter of law, the country still has no laws. Young Happy social enterprise is to fill the gap for the elderly to maintain their lifestyles with happiness and dignity. Thanakorn also mentioned that “As people cannot escape from the digital era regardless of who, everyone has to adopt its lifestyles. Even the elderly are forced to use digital technologies because of our current situation.” Retrieving the elderly into the online digital world is useful because it helps the elderly to live happily and meaningfully again. He believes that digital platforms can help elderly people to live life easier.
As of the current situation of COVID-19, everyone is quarantined and we have to use online delivery such. Elderly people have no choice but to learn because online delivery will clearly make their lives easier. This mechanism is still the best benefit of maintaining their values of liveliness, fun, and happiness. The elderly are not only embracing the digital world but also actively participating in it. Young Happy cannot host a physical event but they can do plenty of learning online. For example, not only in Bangkok but also in Southern Thailand, Pattani province, elderly people have downloaded the app and started their own retail business. In his business model, the digital platform is one important category to help elderly people to be an active senior. In order to expand the impact that we want to create, digital platforms will help any business to scale up easier. The worldwide pandemic, COVID-19 has majorly damaged most of the lifestyle and business, especially in Thailand. Part of the Young Happy solution is having a physical event where the elderly can participate in activities and make friends. On the other hand, Young Happy found an opportunity in their business where the elderly can learn through online platforms. Most of their participants were forced by the pandemic to adopt technology and it was easier for Young Happy to conduct events online. Young Happy is still the center for building a new society and a new friend to the elderly through the application and the website “Young Happy” where seniors can be involved and enjoy their lives.
A message from Mr. Thanakorn Promyot to Thailand’s new generation of social enterprise, “If you are focusing on Digital platforms, then think of what ‘beyond Thailand’ because digital platforms are unlimited and you can create more impact. It will also be easier to sustain and to scale up as well.”
The application is now available in three languages: Thai, English, and Japanese.