Helping Family Caregivers
Close to three years ago I fell in love with a portion of the United States. Specifically, the estimated 70 million Family Caregivers in the US today. This is the first post in a series dedicated to discussing Family Caregivers and how I plan to help them.
In 2014, I cofounded Rappora with a few colleagues I worked with at IBM. Rappora helps home care agencies efficiently monitor and coordinate care to prevent expensive hospitalizations and readmissions. Our company was born from my experience in my family’s home care business in Connecticut. Growing up in that world, I also had the opportunity to work with family members who had adopted the role of caregiver in lieu of a professional care provider such as a home care agency, skilled nursing facility, or adult home. These people are known as Family Caregivers or Informal Caregivers.
We’ll discuss exactly what Family Caregivers do in a later post but the Cliff notes are they’re the care recipients life line. They adopt the role of caregiver for a sick, elderly, or disabled loved one and become their primary caregiver. They provide care on a daily basis, own all care coordination tasks, manage all financial and legal responsibilities, and socialize their loved one to ensure they are stimulated. They do all of this while juggling their own personal life, career, and family.
When I initially learned of Family Caregivers I became so interested in them because I was in awe. Quite simply, I was in awe of their compassion and willingness to adopt such a taxing role. What turned my interest into a full blown obsession was my Mom’s cancer diagnosis at the end of 2015. Thankfully she survived and has lived cancer free since her treatments 👊. During her treatment my Dad assumed the role of caregiver. While our family’s experience may not be unique, it was the first time I witnessed the role of a Family Caregiver up close and personal. Since then, I have been determined to figure out how to make the role of Family Caregiver easier.
Over the next month I’ll be sharing a series of posts that provide more information about Family Caregivers. Here’s what you can look forward to…
How many are there? Who are they? What do they do?
Long term care industry, costs of care, and options for the average family.
Baby boomer generation growth, will you become a caregiver?
Opportunities to Help
What I’ve learned so far and how I plan to help.
Needless to say, Family Caregivers are an unimaginably special group of people. Unfortunately, they are largely ignored because their work is typically done behind the scenes. Family Caregivers are often witnessing the decline of a loved one due to a horrible illness or disability. Their work requires tremendous strength and due to the limited resources available to them today they are struggling. I want to change that. I want to help Family Caregivers not only because it could have helped my family but due to my experience in the home care world, I know it can help many other families too.
Thank you for reading. If you are a Family Caregiver I’d love to hear from you so please comment below 👇🏻
Oh! I also have a podcast where I interview Family Caregivers. Give it a listen here -> https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-family-caregiver-podcast/id1360817857
P.S. I found the title image for this post on a free image site. The image description included by the photographer is surprisingly relevant…
“My elderly grandfather has been taking care of my grandmother and her family, who suffer from severe health issues, for the last 60 years. He has been the rock and their provider for decades. As he nears his 90’s, however, and he himself begins to become dependent, he has started to show a peaceful readiness for death. Sometimes I’ll look over at him and, while his eyes are open, his mind is completely elsewhere. Here I caught him during such a moment, staring out the window into the light as if he was ready for it to finally take him.”
Photo by Alex Boyd