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Family Care Story

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Keeping Mom at home for the long-term is challenging for many, this is a story shared by one of CareRelay’s early users.

By early 2000 it was clear to my two sisters and me that our dear mother had begun her descent into the abyss of early-stage dementia. The best memories of my mother were of a woman who was active in so many ways. A lover of the fine arts and an avid walker who, while never having owned a pair of sneakers in her life would often go for 10K walks in some form of street shoes. She never drove a car but traveled the world with an unquenchable thirst for adventure, discovery and new experience.

During her initial period of cognitive decline, I consulted a medical specialist who met with my Mom and conducted an extensive interview. She recommended that if we were able, Mom should continue to “live at home” in the apartment she had lived in for over thirty years. The professional recommendation based on recent studies determined that seniors with our mother’s cognitive level will decline much faster if moved from their familiar home environment to a new residence.

My two sisters and I accepted the doctor’s recommendation and decided with some additional help we would keep Mom at home for as long as possible. One of my two sisters had moved away over thirty years ago to a city several thousand miles away. While she was caring and concerned, she was not available to actively participate in the day to day challenges that lay ahead. As the only son, I did what I was able to do, however, it was my oldest sister who stepped up, became the primary caregiver and managed this demanding situation with love and unshakable determination to provide the best possible care and attention to our mother.

My sister is not a follower of technology and to this day does not have a cell phone. Communication was maintained by landline. I know that the five or so years leading up to our mother’s death were demanding and exhausting for my sister. Attempting to communicate updates and share duties and responsibilities was time-consuming and complicated.  My sister must have felt like she was running an unending marathon while carrying a very heavy pack on her back.

Since our mother’s passing the technological waves of disruption and innovation have washed over the world and new online tools coupled with the immediate help that they provide significantly reduce and help to manage the challenge faced by caregivers around the world.

CareRelay Early Adopter

Now so many years after their mother’s passing our early adopter is using the app for themselves. They are not at the stage that they need help from their children, but the aging caregiver is having health issues come up, and with the CareRelay app they can keep track of them easily in one place and share with family as needed. As back up in case of emergency the spouse and children have all the information they might need on hand.

The CareRelay application was designed and created for families everywhere. This revolutionary app is now available to help simplify, coordinate and distribute care giving responsibilities to a degree previously unimaginable. With little more than a “click”, the most demanding activities that now form the new caregiver’s responsibilities, are distributed among the care team, often a combination of family, friends, and professionals regardless of where they are located or what they are doing.

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Caregiver Support of Aging in Place Parents

Ageing in Place

Over the next 30 years, the prevalence of dementia is set to double. The increasing number of older adults as a proportion of the global population means, amongst other things, that health care facilities run the risk of becoming over-crowded and that practitioners will struggle to support those in need of care without additional resources in place. People with dementia may spend time in a hospital, nursing home or residential care, or they may live at home in their communities, alone or supported by family and caregivers. Ageing in place means that older adults can choose to live at home if they can, and have attractive alternatives if they cannot. To achieve this, we need older adults to feel safe and supported, and to remain healthy and independent for as long as possible and as their needs change. Maximizing the quality of life and quality of care at advanced ages and keeping people in the community will be a significant challenge of the 21st century and is already a focus of many government investments and strategies.

CareRelay has created solutions to improve and maintain the quality of life and quality of care, enabling older adults with dementia to maximize their independence and age in the most appropriate setting of choice home. CareRelay is an innovative, engaging, practical tool solving a real-world problem for the individual, caregiver, healthcare provider or system.

Caregiver Support

According to the 2008/2009 Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS)–Healthy Aging, an estimated 3.8 million Canadians who were aged 45 or older (35%) were providing informal care to a senior with a short- or long-term health condition. With the recent census data showing that for the first time in Canadian history, the population over 65 has exceeded the community under age 15, the reliance on informal caregivers to care for their loved ones is an ever-increasing focus and concern for governments around the world. In an already complex environment, we also know that the population with dementia in Canada is likely to double every 20 years going forward, and people with dementia generally require high levels of care, most of which are provided by informal or family caregivers.

Formal caregivers are individuals who receive payment to provide care, such as personal support workers and nurses, while informal caregivers are typically not paid to provide care and include family members. CareRelay focuses on these informal caregivers who frequently receive little to no training on caring for older adults with complex health histories and at times and who experience challenging behaviours that are difficult to manage.

It is caregivers who often are the ones who keep their loved ones at home. However, this support comes at the cost of caregiver distress because they are at increased risk for burden, stress, depression, and a variety of other health complications leading to a more reduced quality of life for the caregiver. Caregivers often lack social contact and support, they tend to have few leisurely pursuits and hobbies, and at times are forced to give up or reduce employment to care for their loved ones.

CareRelay is the solution that supports caregivers (formal and informal) in their care for older adults.