Televeda helped Chandler reach seniors - SanTan Sun News SanTan Sun News

Televeda helped Chandler reach seniors

May 25th, 2021 development
Televeda helped Chandler reach seniors

By Kevin Reagan
Staff Writer

When the pandemic began to shut down the city last spring and close public facilities, Chandler was already equipped to quickly adapt its recreational services over to a digital audience.

A year-long partnership with Televeda, an Arizona-based software business, was enabling the city to host online activities for home-hound residents long before it became necessary for local governments to offer its services virtually.   

Yoga, dance, art, and science classes have been transferred onto Televeda’s video platform – allowing students to participate safely from the comfort of their own homes.

“I think Chandler was really 10 steps ahead of the curve,” said Shruti Gurudanti, one of Televeda’s founders.

The partnership with Televeda was formed a couple months before the pandemic halted the city recreational services, positioning Chandler to swiftly pivot over to a digital format.

Shortly after elected officials executed stay-at-home orders, the Chandler Parks and Recreation Department collaborated with Televeda to create “ChandlerRec Live,” a virtual recreation center that offered a full calendar of live programs for residents of all ages.

“When the pandemic hit, Chandler was already prepared,” Gurudanti added. “They knew exactly how to reach out to people.”

Televeda was launched in 2018 with the mission of building a virtual platform that could help senior citizens find easy ways to connect with others.

Gurudanti said the company’s inspiration stemmed from observing how lonely and withdrawn her grandparents appeared to be the older they got.

“We wanted to build something that can be easily used by our grandparents,” she said. “We really want to solve the problem of isolation and loneliness among seniors.”

Loneliness among seniors has become an increasingly bigger problem over the last year and public health experts worry the long-term isolation will eventually have serious health impacts on America’s older demographics.

About 56 percent of older adults have reported feeling isolated during the pandemic, according to a University of Michigan survey. That’s nearly double the rate seen a couple years earlier in a similar poll.

Televeda’s name is a hybrid of two words meaning “communicate” and “wisdom,” which helps to illustrate the company’s mantra as being an “exchange of insight.”

Gurudanti said the company has several partnerships with museums and educational organizations across the country that allow their customers to take virtual tours of art galleries or historic places.

During the pandemic, the city was able to use Televeda’s platform to broadcast a live concert put on by the Chandler Symphony Orchestra last summer.

Gurudanti said the event was well attended and allowed an intimate moment for musicians to communicate virtually with their audience.   

“People were able to talk to the ensemble at the end of the concert,” she said. “Some really great interactions, which otherwise would have been very hard to do for a population that cannot leave their house.”

Andy Bass, the city’s community services director, said promoting virtual events like the symphony have been important for Chandler because the city’s residents have expected a sense of normalcy during a chaotic time.

“We’d rather continue to encourage play and exploration, with practical and enriching programming for which we are so well known,” Bass said last summer.

“Our ‘Chandler at-home’ initiative is here to support children and adults alike in keeping boredom at bay and helping them thrive.”

Over the past year, Televeda has seen a steady uptick in demand for its services from municipalities and businesses scrambling to transition their operations to a virtual audience.

Gurudanti said the company has been marketing itself as an efficient tool that can go beyond what other video applications have to offer.

Televeda’s platform provides automated data tracking, customizable calendars and a layout designed to be accessible for all users.

Televeda has already begun to form partnerships with other cities throughout the Valley and is currently working with Banner Health, one of Arizona’s biggest health care providers, to offer virtual programming to elder patients.

Last summer, Televeda won a $50,000 grant from the Greater Phoenix Economic Council to provide more programming to residents in nursing homes and expand their services to other states.

“Our plan is to grow to other cities, work with more senior centers and hospital centers,” Gurudanti added.

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