Envoy Concierge ServicesEnvoy Concierge Services

Aging in place is the goal for many older adults, but as we age, small home tasks and errands can become a challenge. For adults who care for older relatives while managing their own homes and careers, the goal is finding time to make sure both households run smoothly. Senior concierge services are increasingly popular as a way to ease the time crunch on family caregivers and to help older adults live well at home by delivering groceries, picking up prescriptions, and taking care of things around the house.

San Francisco-based Envoy is one such concierge service. It’s a sort of hybrid online grocery delivery-household help company that’s tailored to the needs of adults who are aging in place. One of Envoy’s goals is to pair subscribers with the same “envoy” each time so the envoys get to know their clients’ shopping preferences, dietary needs and favorite shops.

Subscribers can order groceries and plan a list of tasks for their envoy on their computer, tablet or phone; the envoy does the shopping and chores during regularly scheduled 2-hour blocks of time. Envoy will pick up items from virtually any shop within a 10-mile radius of the client’s home, which gives customers more selection than other grocery delivery services may provide. Typical tasks are trash removal, putting groceries away and other light chores that don’t require special skills or medical training.

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Pros:

Envoy’s helpers document each visit online with photos of tasks completed; scans of grocery, pharmacy and other receipts; and notes so users have a complete record of what’s been accomplished. Envoy spells out exactly which agencies and databases it uses to run its background checks, how it does identity verification, and what its one-on-one interviews cover for prospective envoys. The company insures its service with a $1 million Lloyd’s of London liability policy. Envoy is an accredited with the Better Business Bureau and as of this writing has an A+ rating with the BBB.

Cons:

Envoy is currently available in only a dozen major metro areas in the western US.

Fine print:

New subscribers can cancel their plan before their second visit for a full refund of membership and service fees. After the second visit, Envoy will refund a pro-rated amount to subscribers who cancel service.

Cost:

Envoy’s every-other-week plan costs $119 per month and the weekly plan costs $199 per month. For both plans, there’s an additional charge equal to 10% of the cost of groceries and other purchases your envoy makes at your request. Envoy also offers a trial deal of $49 for new clients; it also includes the 10% fee for items purchased.  

Best for…

Seniors who need help with light household chores, errands, and grocery shopping but don’t want or need daily assistance; family caregivers who need extra help; people who prefer to work with familiar helpers.