How might we empower caregivers to care for themselves, in addition to their loved ones?
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
“Are there any caregiving-specific technologies? I don’t know of any.” – Theresa, age 33; caring for her mother, age 73
- 2015 Report: Caregiving in the U.S.
- Caregivers & Technology: What They Want and Need
- Caregiving Innovation Frontiers
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.
- Gauging Readability
- Plain Writing Checklist
- Health Literacy Online: A Guide for Simplifying the User Experience
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.
- Sample Journey Map
- Using Customer Journey Maps to Improve Customer Experience
- All You Need to Know About Customer Journey Mapping
- Illustrating the Big Picture: Journeys, Experiences, and Illustrations
Relevant Articles & Websites
- Who Will Care for the Caregivers (NYT)
- Love and Burnout: Caregivers, Too, Need Care (NYT)
- Caregivers Sometimes Must Sacrifice Their Careers (NYT)
- Valuing the Invaluable: 2015 Update (AARP)
- Understanding the Impact of Family Caregiving on Work, Fact Sheet (AARP)
- The New Faces of Caregiving (AARP)
- Families Caring for an Aging America (National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine)
- Caregiving as a Risk Factor for Mortality (JAMA)
- Chronic Stress and Age-Related Increases in the Proinflammatory Cytokine IL-6 (PNAS)
- One-Year Outcomes in Caregivers of Critically Ill Patients (NEJM)
- A Practical Guide to Caring for Caregivers (AFP)
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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