How might we empower caregivers to care for themselves, in addition to their loved ones?

The Problem

For America’s 40 million family caregivers, assisting loved ones in need is an unpaid part-time or full-time job, with over half spending 21 hours a week or more on caregiving duties. The burdens of caregiving affect people emotionally, physically, and financially. Caregivers are more likely to have mental health issues and chronic health problems and many report significant financial strain. They don’t receive adequate training for caregiving tasks or appropriate support from healthcare providers and employers. These factors result in high levels of caregiver burnout and stress.
This design and innovation challenge seeks to tackle caregivers’ pain points to help deliver solutions that ameliorate the challenges of caregiving and improve caregivers’ quality of life.
A national challenge presents a unique opportunity to support ongoing efforts in the caregiving space and catalyze innovation by bringing new players to the table – designers, developers, digital technology start-ups, entrepreneurs, and other visionaries – who may traditionally function outside the healthcare realm. 

Key Research Insights

To jump-start your design process, Mad*Pow has distilled the research from AARP and other organizations into key themes. The following participant packet outlines key behaviors, motivations, and unmet needs from the caregivers’ point of view, along with potential opportunities for innovation in this space.

View or download the packet here.

“It never ends. What is most difficult about the tasks I perform is just living my own life.” – William, age 38; caring for his mother, age 64

Research Reports:

“Are there any caregiving-specific technologies? I don’t know of any.” – Theresa, age 33; caring for her mother, age 73

Human-Centered Design Toolkit

Human-centered design is a creative and iterative approach to problem-solving that focuses on the contexts, behaviors, emotions, and unmet needs of the people whom the solutions aim to serve.

We urge you to consider the following health literacy and plain language guidelines to ensure clear communication.

You may want to consider creating a journey map that explains the caregiver experience. The articles listed below provide further instruction on the journey mapping process.

Relevant Articles & Websites


Relevant Organizations

There are many active organizations in the caregiving space, which aim to improve caregivers’ quality of life by providing respite care, telemedicine, and social support services and promoting health, wellness, and financial security. The companies listed below are provided as examples to give you a better sense of the current marketplace. This list is not all-inclusive and you are encouraged to perform your own marketplace research and competitive analysis.

CareFocus Companion Services - Personalized companion care provider
Room2Care - Platform that connects care recipients in need with available caregivers
Visiting Angels - Network of in-home care agencies
HomeHero - Home care agency with vetted caregivers (e.g., entrance exams, in-person interviews, and background checks)
Honor - Home care service with flexible scheduling and remote monitoring
CrowdMed - Online medical crowdsourcing platform
Big White Wall - Behavioral health platform facilitated by healthcare professionals
CareZone - Health information organizer and medication management tool

Smart Patients - Knowledge-sharing platform for patients and their families
Happify - Emotional health platform with evidence-based games and activities to improve well-being
Joyable - Digital therapy service for mental health issues
LifeCare - Work-life services provider (e.g., child and elder care)
LearnUp - Pre-employment coaching and skill development platform
BeClose - Remote home monitoring system for caregivers
Pager - Telemedicine platform
Medicast - On-demand care delivery platform
MedicalAlert - Personal emergency response services provider

Questions about the challenge?

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Challenge Sponsored by: AARP | Powered by: Catalyst @ Health 2.0 & Mad*Pow