Project By Chuck Hildebrand, Eric Boggs

Carewell


Introducing Carewell

We plan for college, kids and vacation. But we donʼt plan for caregiving, and that makes it a crisis. And once youʼre in crisis mode, asking for and managing help is nearly impossible. We developed a system philosophy that emphasizes taking pressure off caregivers so they can gain perspective, recover from crisis mode and accept help. To transform caregiving, we have to talk about it before it escalates to crisis. CareWell provides mechanisms to build skills in asking for help before the pressure is on.

 

Our value promise

We promise to help you plan for when you are transformed into a caregiver.

 

About Carewell

Carewell is a lightweight service that helps families spread caregiving across multiple caregivers. Family and friends join a closed social network, and then volunteer to take care of elderly or at-risk individuals. They may volunteer to check in on them from time to time, or to take them to various appointments or activities. A simple text-based service alerts the group when help is needed. An app provides visibility into open tasks and activities, and offers ways to hand off tasks to people who are available.

Families with aging parents need to share the burden of help. Carewell helps foster that sharing.

 

Our Intent

While Carewell is for individuals and families, it drives a larger-scale social change in two ways. The first is through looking at deep breakdowns that stymie people in asking for and accepting help when negotiating challenging life situations. Caregivers demonstrate a strong tendency to isolate, become overly self reliant, and to burn out. Other online caregiving tools seem to offer a palliative solution that helps caregivers manage the logistics of helping aging parents. These systems ‘give a man a fish,’ so to speak. CareWell aims to ‘teach a man to fish.’ Our system assumes the intimidating and overwhelming facets of asking for help, thus taking emotional pressure off the caregiver. As people use our system to request and receive help, we offer them a new perspective on collaboration. A CareWell caregiver is supported in remaining pliable and porous to help in a situation where rigidity and isolation is the norm.

There is a secondary, larger, social impact that stems from CareWell. We seek to create digital solutions that foster meaningful emotional interactions between people. Frequently, digital products effect a certain isolation and dissociation and provide little beyond the illusion of connection. CareWell has found a place where a digital system is able to ‘clear the field’ of overwhelming, unwieldy interactions such that caregivers gain access to increased time and emotional bandwidth to show up for their aging parents. We believe that highly focused digital solutions can counteract the digital fog that our online world is liable to create.

When CareWell is successful, the world will change in accordance with the theories of change outlined above. Caregivers – indeed, all people who are struggling to stay openhearted in times of emotional chaos and overwhelm – will have our system as a communication device (almost an exoskeleton) that keeps them safe and open to help in a time where the instinctual response is to shut down, isolate and operate from a defensive mode. On a larger level, we will exemplify the importance of creating finely honed digital systems to support openhearted, generative human interaction.

 

How it works

Carewell is a simple service made up of a closed social network, an app, and a text messaging service.

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The heart of CareWell is a simple text service that lets helpers know exactly when, where and how to help. Family members or friends will receive a text message when their support is needed. They can respond easily, but texting back a simple “y” or “n”; their response sets in motion a simple workflow, set of updates, and reminder services.


Text-messaging is simple and quick; CareWell removes cognitive friction to make tasks easy and to minimize perceived effort.

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As helpers communicate via text, CareWell populates the caregiver dashboard with notes and feedback on their loved one.


Typically, a single caregiver takes on additional responsibility in supporting a loved one. CareWell lightens the load; rather than doing everything, the primary caregiver can take control of logistics.

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CareWell equips the caregiver with essential views into their helper system. It aggregates a dayʼs tasks into one screen so a caregiver can quickly see what is covered. It also shows what isnʼt covered, and makes it easy to find and reach out to possible helpers.