YouthCare will take place at a dementia-friendly venue that accommodates several student-senior pairs, helping the seniors battle social isolation, while simultaneously allowing family caregivers the opportunity to network with each other. This model promises to provide the most affordable respite care anywhere while simultaneously inspiring students to pursue careers in aging and helping those with Alzheimer’s rediscover purpose.
YouthCare will be more than just a respite care program. Our nonprofit has licensed the research-backed Brain Boot Camp from UCLA’s Dr. Gary Small and will be training students on how to effectively conduct memory training exercises with their elderly partners. In addition, students and seniors are paired based on similar career interest and hobbies, creating a mentor-mentee relationship. Our team is currently working on a mobile application that will automate the partnering of the students and seniors, notify students and family caregivers of upcoming YouthCare sessions, and accelerate our screening process.
For the past 2 years, our team has operated a similar but grant-funded model - TimeOut@UCLA. This program has partnered over 100 students and seniors, yielding almost 3000 hours of respite care and promising exit survey results: 73% of caregivers say this program alone provides enough stress relief; 100% of students would recommend this program to a friend.
Once our team implements our mobile application that partners persons with dementia (PWDs) and students, we can use this platform to further the connectivity between family caregivers and provide tips for better health outcomes. The profile for PWDs will be created by the family caregiver.
In the past, our team has been meticulous about getting feedback. From the original implementation of our grant-funded model itself, we have been administering surveys to all the individuals involved with our model, and using the feedback each quarter to improve incrementally in the ensuing one. Beyond this, we also did a market research survey in partnership with UsAgainstAlzheimer's in order to assess the financial feasibility of our program from the perspective of potential users.
Having gotten feedback about our model from caregivers, for the refinement phase, we decided to directly get feedback from universities. We initially reached out to sixteen universities in the southern California area. The feedback we got was primarily of two concerns: 1. How is liability handled? 2. How are the responsibilities split between the university and our nonprofit in regards to administering the program?
During this phase, we also sought to act on this feedback. Our organization has found an insurance structure that is within budget that includes general liability (seniors + venue), workers comp (student volunteers), and directors & operators (for our BOD). In addition, we decided that our nonprofit has to do most, if not all of the work, if we are to scale this program to as many universities as possible. Hence, from the universities, we will only be requiring student recruitment and dual-branding. This dual-branding will allow us to leverage trust that partner universities have already built within their respective community.
This implementation of feedback has recently yielded USC Gerontology to approve our program! We will be launching YouthCare in early 2018.