As the African proverb says, "It takes a village to raise a child." It also takes a village to care for an elderly person with dementia as well.
Caring for someone with dementia usually requires a team of in-home caregivers, outside healthcare workers, and family members. The patient must be under constant supervision, take multiple medications, be fed, have their hygienic needs met, and be driven to and from doctor visits.
All the while, the patient needs to be given the opportunity to spend the rest of their days as happy and comfortable as possible.
Nineteen-year-old Logan Wells of Lexington, Massachusetts, found an amazing way to organize the village of people helping his grandmother Nannie who suffers from dementia. With the help of his father, Eric, he created an app to keep all of his grandmother's caregivers on the same page, in real-time.
My grandma used to take care of me, who knew I would end up help take care of her! Love ya Nannie :) pic.twitter.com/AIQWTkEyHn
— Care Zare (@CareZare) November 4, 2019
"When we first started," Hallie Nannie's daughter, told Colonial Times Magazine, "there were pieces of paper all over Nannie's house: the chore chart on the fridge, the calendar on the kitchen counter, the medication check-off."
Then, as Nannie's condition progressed, she needed more caregivers, making things even more difficult to manage.
"It became really hard to stay on the same page, because we had to have multiple group chats," Logan told Best Life.
So then-15-year-old Logan got the idea for the app that would be come CareZare. "I learned the coding and my dad helped me create the prototype, and then we contacted a father-son duo to help us with the development," he said.
Over two-years, they developed the app to include heads-up alerts, like for the time when Nannie's clothes washer broke and a plumber was needed.
The app also has a calendar feature , which is great for keeping track of regular doctor visits. It also has a daily journal feature where caregivers can recount their time spent with Nannie and le t everyone know how she's feeling.
According to Logan, when caregivers start their shift, they can "look at the app and read the recent journal entries and heads up alerts, so if there's anything significant, they can deal with that."
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Seeing how well the app worked for their village of caregivers, they thought it would be a big help for others as well.
"We started to think – we can build this so it's useful to other people," said Eric. "We felt there were opportunities to really promote team-based care at the family level,"
Now, caregivers everywhere can download the app in the Apple or Android store and use it for free. It's also available to organizations for a fee.
"CareZare allows caregivers to take a team-based approach to care-giving instead of going it alone. Involve other family, friends and outside professional services on a single platform for ease of communication and better care," the CareZare website reads.
It may take a village to care for someone with dementia, but it's a lot easier when the caregivers are connected.
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