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YouthCare

YouthCare is a respite and memory care program that partners trained student volunteers and persons with early-stage dementia one on one.

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Who is your idea designed for and how does it better support family caregivers as they care for a loved one with dementia?

YouthCare is designed as a win-win-win situation for caregivers, students, and seniors with Alzheimer’s. Caregivers: stress/depression reduction; opportunity to network with each other. Students: insightful workforce development experience as they join the fight against Alzheimer’s disease and develop an interest in fields of aging. Seniors: helps battle social isolation and creates a setting for purposeful aging via the mentor-mentee rapport that develops between seniors and caregivers.

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.


~~GATHER FEEDBACK~~

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.

What early, lightweight experiment might you try out in your own community to find out if the idea will meet your expectations?

We are already currently running a similar, but grant-funded program, TimeOut@UCLA. In 2 years, TimeOut@UCLA has paired over 100 students and seniors, offering 3000+ hours of care. The program has had zero accidents. 88% of students rated the program at least 4 out of 5 and 100% of them marked ‘would recommend to a friend’. 87% of caregivers mentioned this program brought a ‘significant’ stress reduction and 73% of them mentioned this program alone offered enough weekly respite.

What skills, input, or guidance from the OpenIDEO community would be most helpful in building out or refining your idea?

We can further our current progress under the guidance of the OpenIDEO team in refining and polishing our curricula and in making our model more human-centered. We hope to leverage experts within the network to create a more efficient, scalable, and sustainable model. Finally, we hope to benefit from OpenIDEO’s global network, with which we can exchange insights/ideas and spread the word about our venture.

How long has your idea existed?

  • 4 months - 1 year

This idea emerged from

  • A student collaboration

Tell us about your work experience:

In 2015, I founded The Youth Movement Against Alzheimer’s (YMAA). Since then, YMAA has become the nation's widest-reaching nonprofit in providing opportunities for students to advocate, research, and volunteer in this field. I also am a biomedical researcher / seeking a BA in Computer Science.

How would you describe this idea while in an elevator with someone?

YouthCare is the least expensive respite care that creates in an intergenerational bridge to create three very important outcomes. First, it expands care access, reducing rates of caregiver depression. Second, its' integrated memory care allows seniors to slow their cognitive decline. Third, it creates a lasting impression on young minds as they decide which careers to pursue.

How does your idea demonstrate our Criteria of Accessibility?

The fee for our program will be paid by the Caregiver. We believe this meets the Criteria of Accessibility because we are offering the care at the lowest cost on the market, hence opening up access to care for individuals who couldn't previously afford it. In addition, our program attracts a new niche in the respite market by providing care only 6 hours a week. Our market research shows this hour/week count is in high demand.

How does your idea demonstrate or plan to demonstrate scalability?

Our program can work at any suburban or urban university. We plan, by year two, to be expansive in the LA area, but then move past this region into other urban cities, and finally into suburban areas.

How do you plan to measure the impact of your idea?

For quality measures, we will continue to assess our social impact through entrance and exit surveys – like we have done in our grant-funded model. We will give these surveys to students, caregivers, and PWDs. Our surveys will primarily assess increased interest in areas of Alzheimer’s and aging (students), degree of stress relief (caregivers), and how meaningful the program is (seniors). Our quantity and scale will be measured by the number of low-cost respite care hours we are able to provide.

What are your immediate next steps after the Challenge?

Get our program off the ground at USC!

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Photo of Dr lucky ojo solutiontemple
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Photo of Victoria
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I absolutely love the concept of incorporating the youth into such an idea and just the simple fact that it gives the individual with Alzheimer someone to talk to to and interact with. I think it is so crucial to understand that people need that interaction and by allowing youth, who are interested in that career path, the opportunity to take on this idea is absolute genius.

As a person who cares for my mother with a disability and my elderly grandmother, this idea hits home for me and I love it not only because it gives a little relief to the caregiver but because it understands the importance of interaction and social activity. All the programs and ideas out there for the elderly with Alzheimer always seems to include medication and homes that sometimes tend to make individuals depressed and lonely. They do not understand the importance of having that social interaction. And especially with senior individuals- at the end of the day they want someone young that may remind them of their children and grandchildren; someone showing that they actually care about them and enjoy socializing and interacting with them instead of just talking to them like they are a science project for a med student.

Photo of Erin
Team

This idea looks amazing. I love how you have created a meaningful, scalable solution that creates value and solves a need for three such different stakeholder groups -- students, caregivers, and PWD. Congrats to the Youthcare Team for being selected as "Most Promising"! Can't wait to see what you guys do in the coming years! Hope we can meet sometime. :) ~Erin Washington, Embodied Labs

Photo of Nihal
Team

Thank you Erin, and congrats to your team for taking the cake! Love the tech/VR integration with this disease and I'm excited to see you go on to do great things in helping those in this space!

Photo of Susan Hamilton
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Congratulations Youth Care. We can't wait to see you grow!!!

Photo of Nihal
Team

You are so kind Susan - grateful to be working alongside you to create solutions for an issue we are both so passionate about!

Photo of Bettina Fliegel
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Hi Nihal.
Thanks for sharing the awesome programming you have been doing with dementia patients!
With the TimeOut UCLA program do youth/patient pairs meet on campus? What "dementia friendly" spaces do you envision for the YouthCare Program?
You mention that caregivers will receive respite by participating in the program. Are caregivers able to drop their loved one off and take time for themselves? How long are the meet ups?

Have you done outreach to medical students regarding the program? This could be a great way for them to interact with and learn about people with early stage dementia in a non clinical setting.

Looking forward to watching your idea develop!

Photo of Nihal
Team

Hi Bettina,

Thank you for your questions - I appreciate your thorough review of our idea.TimeOut@UCLA met both on campus and off campus. It was a unique situations because both on-campus and off-campus locations were equidistant for students (in terms of time to get to venue), but off-campus was easier for community members."dementia friendly" simply refers to ease of access to restrooms, large hallways, and relatively quiet locations. Meet ups are 3 hours, twice a week. Yes, exactly its a drop-off program.Haven't done outreach to medical students yet, but we work with Dr. Gary Small and Dr. Zaldy Tan from UCLA on this program specifically. Will reach out to them once we establish a pilot program. If undergrads can do this, then definitely med students can as well!

yes, please keep up with us on twitter/instagram: @youthagainstalz/@theyouthmovement_org

Photo of Bettina Fliegel
Team

Nihal,
Congrats to Youth Care on being selected as a Top Idea and all the best as you continue to build the organization and create positive impact!

Photo of Sameer Khan
Team

Hi Nihal 

I like your idea and think your idea can integrate well with an idea like ours. We have met individuals who live alone and need companion care as well informational assistance in daily living. If these individuals were partnered with youth volunteers through YouthCare platform the technologically adept volunteer could help make instructional videos for the care recipient's routine. When the volunteer leaves the premise the care recipient can continue guide themselves through videos of themselves. And then the volunteer can return the subsequent day to check on progress and provide additional social support.

Please get in touch with me if you'd like to try out YouthCare in Canada. Specially because all high school youth in Ontario need to complete 40 Hours of volunteering service and through YouthCare platform create a win-win situation for seniors and youth.

Thank you.
email: sam at brightguide dot ca

Photo of Nihal
Team

Thank you for connecting Sam and for sharing your thoughts - I agree that those who are living alone are in the higher need for programs that address social isolation. Once we get things started in Southern California I can look to expand from there. Appreciate you sharing your contact information as well!

Photo of Mackenzie Jackson
Team

Fantastic!
In Brisbane Australia there is a aged care provider looking to build a student accommodation mixed with an aged care facility. This would be a fantastic program for them.
Mackenzie

Photo of Nihal
Team

Very Cool! Thank you for sharing this MacKenzie - love Australias intergenerational spirit!

Photo of Joanna Spoth
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Hi Nihal we gathered some (ok, a LOT of :)) thoughts about your idea and are curious to hear your responses.

How much of your mobile app is currently built out?
Does your current funding primarily come from foundations? Do you have ambitions to become profitable and what might that look like? Is there a sustainable model?
How much of the UCLA branding is currently carried into the programs?
How are you thinking about scaling, especially keeping in mind quality and training controls? Do you think there's possibility and/or desire, as you scale, to use the UCLA name or will it take on another form?

What role does the training play in the execution of the service? How do your ensure there's consistency and continuity of care in your service - considering both the experience for the person with dementia and the caregiver. Do they get a bio of the person before they show up?
What is the application process for students - are background checks involved or other vetting? What is the setting in which the programs typically take place?

Thanks so much for answering our many questions - we look forward to your responses!

Photo of Nihal
Team

Hello Joanna - Appreciate the thoroughness of your review.

How much of your mobile app is currently built out? -- We have currently developed the wireframe and will be coding the minimum viable product with an expected finish in Summer 2018.

Does your current funding primarily come from foundations? -- In regards to YouthCare, none. Our prototype, TimeOut@UCLA was purely funded by foundations - namely the Eisner Foundation.

Do you have ambitions to become profitable and what might that look like? Is there a sustainable model? -- YouthCare is a model that is set up to derive profit. Our customers would be current caregivers who would pay for the respite.

How much of the UCLA branding is currently carried into the programs? -- Currently, TimeOut@UCLA is heavily branded with UCLA (as it's in the title itself), however, moving forward certain aspects of our program (i.e. training) will have a UCLA brand.

How are you thinking about scaling, especially keeping in mind quality and training controls? Do you think there's possibility and/or desire, as you scale, to use the UCLA name or will it take on another form? -- Our program is definitely designed to scale. Quality and training controls are absolutely critical for us. We plan to initially scale around LA so our team can conduct quality controls in person, however, as we scale beyond southern California, we will have quality control forms for the nurse who oversees the program to fill out and report to our team. In regards to training, we are working on incorporating that into our mobile app, and we already have several follow up quizzes which students need to pass in order to qualify as 'trained'. UCLA's name is irrelevant as we scale. Each school which we a YouthCare chapter at will have to attach their name to our program. This will ensure the community trusts in the program.

What role does the training play in the execution of the service? -- Training ensures students are well aware of strategies that can be used when communicating with this group of older adults. The overseeing nurse(s) will also be trained as to how to help students when they are unable to further conversations.

How do your ensure there's consistency and continuity of care in your service - considering both the experience for the person with dementia and the caregiver. -- One of the biggest questions we often get asked, is what happens if a student doesn't show up. Along with the accepted students, we will also have a group of 'backup' students who will also be trained on how to work with this population. They will take the place of any student who is unable to show up at the time. Furthermore, the quality of the relationship between the student and person with dementia will be monitored by the overseeing nurse. All venues that will be used for the program will be Dementia Friendly (aka bathrooms nearby, large corridors, doors which can be locked, big rooms with open space) so caregivers can feel comfortable that their loved one will be safe for the duration of the program. Caregivers will be asked to make evaluations of their experience of the program after every quarter/semester, giving important feedback on how improvements can be made to the site for the ensuing quarter/semester.

Do they get a bio of the person before they show up? -- Currently, no. However, our app will ensure they will.

What is the application process for students - are background checks involved or other vetting? -- Any student is eligible to apply and will have to go through background checks if accepted. Students are selected based on ability to commit to the program and whether or not they are highly conversational (good people skills).

What is the setting in which the programs typically take place? -- I happened to answer this in a previous question, but all settings will be Dementia Friendly (aka bathrooms nearby, large corridors, doors which can be locked, big rooms with open space) so caregivers can feel comfortable that their loved one will be safe for the duration of the program. In most cases, this would be a community center, senior center, or VA building. Sometimes, this venue may be on the campus itself. In addition, there must be parking nearby to the building.

Photo of Tonia Porras
Team

@Nihal - Just a thought - if you are not aware, Harvard has a similar program (in concept) started by a student that you may want to check out - http://www.alzbuddies.org. I offer it up only possibly a sounding board or reference as you start to scale, think about oversight, accountability, etc. I met with them a year ago and they were a great resource for me. As mentioned before, I really like this program and looking forward to its development.

Photo of Joanna Spoth
Team

Thanks Tonia Porras ! Great analogous resource. And Nihal thanks for taking the time to share your thoughtful responses. Is there specific progress you'll be able to share with us in regard to your goal about "refining and polishing our curricula and in making our model more human-centered?"

Photo of Nihal
Team

Tonia, Thank you for sharing this! Our team has actually had several lengthy conversations with a few members of the founding team of Alzheimer's Buddies. While our model is similar, it addresses a much different pain point as we focus on early-stage respite as compared to improved patient outcomes at a nursing home (Alzheimer's Buddies). I am so glad you have connected with them. I found them quite thoughtful and open to idea-sharing.

Photo of Nihal
Team

Joanna, no thank you, for leading me to be more insightful in my thought around this program!

Our team has indeed! We specifically brought on board a Manager of Curricula who has two years of experience working with our grant-funded model, TimeOut@UCLA is has been able to isolate which activities worked well with the students & seniors, and which didn't. We will continue to test avant-garde curricula ideas as we pilot YouthCare. In regards to the memory care component of the program, we have worked extensively with our licensees in order to create its training and implementation specifically for the undergraduate level. One example of such was discarding archaic examples such as "the Avon Lady" and substituting more relevant references to pop culture.

Photo of Tonia Porras
Team

Great news on two fronts - that you have already spoken with them, but more importantly, I did not realize that you are focused on early stages. Im currently in talks with a few local universities and/or community colleges around the idea of partnering to provide either service opportunities with us or integrating our organization into specific education courses. Is this program going to be an advocacy/outreach component of the YMAA? Regardless, very excited for you and the group. Looking forward to learning more and possibly one day bringing both the YMAA and Youthcare to us.

Photo of Nihal
Team

Love that you are speaking to universities and CCs. When the opportunity is presented the right way, students love to get involved. My email is nihal@theyouthmovement.org - would you mind shooting me yours - I'd love to set up a call to learn more about the work you are doing. Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

Photo of Joanna Spoth
Team

Awesome. Keep us posted either through comments or updates in the text of your idea on how the conversation goes! Nihal Tonia Porras 

Photo of Joanna Spoth
Team

Hi Nihal  great to see you in the Refinement Phase! Don't forget there are a few additional questions - you can see them if you click "Edit Contribution." And please keep us updated with your developments, including new collaborations like the one with Phaedra below. Very exciting! Update the content in your idea and the title with what's new.

Photo of Phaedra null
Team

Hi! This is great, Nihal ! I'm currently an Atlantic Fellow for Equity in Brain Health at the Global Brain Health Institute housed at UCSF's Memory and Aging Center and developing a project that could really benefit from learning more about YouthCare. Tried learning more by googling and enjoyed reading about TimeOut, but didn't immediately find your organization. Would love to understand more about how you're working with the UCLA team, how you're defining roles, how you see the work you do in relation to the literature on person-centered and family-centered care, the literature on loneliness, etc. I'd also be happy to talk through your curriculum questions. Let me know if you'd want to chat -- my contact is at http://www.gbhi.org/phaedra-bell/.

Photo of Nihal
Team

Thank you so much for reaching out, Phaedra. Our team would be honored to chat with you. Planning to reach out soon.

Photo of Sarah
Team

This is an excellent idea! Could it expand to include younger students from nearby high schools? http://enterpriseforyouth.org/

Photo of Nihal
Team

We want to first work with undergraduate students to as they are a little more mature for reasons of ensuring quality. We will have to make that decision upon further development. Great suggestion!

Photo of Susan Hamilton
Team

Excellent service and engagement between passionate and kind young adults and the dementia patients they serve. We love seeing your traction to date.

Photo of Nihal
Team

Thank you Susan! Love your work as well!

Photo of Tonia Porras
Team

Hi Nihal,

I have been thinking of a similar program - pairing college students with seniors as part of my organization. Is this a program that can be easily replicated? What are your plans for growth?

Photo of Nihal
Team

Hi Tonia, I would hope so. We are currently working on launching a project with a university in southern california. We will have to operate it as a pilot to see if it can scale. We hope to scale.