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GERI: Virtual Assistant for Caregivers

An in-home virtual advisor that supports and organizes the caregivers world.

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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?

GERI is for family caregivers of all ages. GERI is an in-home voice-activated virtual assistant and app that helps delegate tasks to others, coordinates care, & reminds caregivers to take care of themselves through creative activities. Through the use of GERI Caregivers will be able to make time to take care of themselves and connect with others knowing that their loved one is also being taken care of.

GERI: Virtual Assistant for Caregivers

"Your coach in charge of it all.."

We would like you to meet our inspiration...Mariah, a professional athlete, artist, author, and accomplished speaker on success, leadership, and sports, and now a caregiver. Yet with all of her accomplishments, she still needs help. Looking for a way to find time for herself while still providing meaningful care for her mother GERI was born. 

With GERI (an in-home voice-activated assistant and downloadable app) caregivers will be able to manage their loved one's appointments, connect with a healthcare team to guide them through important decisions, delegate tasks to friends and family members, find ways to be creative and more!

Most importantly, over time, GERI will get to know the habits of caregiver and will remind them to take time to take care of themselves and also assist them in bringing other relevant information.

GERI will work with partners to provide additional access to services such as local support groups, networks and helplines, ways to meditate, transportation, grocery shopping, and entertainment. 

**GERI excels by combining the best of caregiving administrative tools with creative activities to promote to caregiver health.**

The online platform of GERI will be a virtual binder (that is linked to an in-home voice-activated virtual assistant), when the Caregiver logs in they will access to areas such as: 

1) A sample list showing "Sarah's Team Members": Relatives, friends, professional caregivers, medical team, etc. My guess/hope would be that just showing some family caregivers this list would give them a satisfying sense that everyone would be working together, and that the team is sizeable. This should be indicated as "by invitation only."

2) A sample task list showing tasks, short description, maybe approximate amount of time, and a place for the support team to sign up. Also a hyperlink to Task Rabbit or other resources that could help get some of those tasks done.

2) A medical update list, showing upcoming appointments and physician reports.

3) A hands-on caregiver journal, organized by date, showing notes from family caregivers, CNAs, nurses, etc re: observations, needs, behaviors, other notes.

4) A "Sarah at a glance" summary of key info: dietary restrictions, DNR, birthdate, preferences, etc.

5) A dated (and updated) medication list.

6) A legal tab with POA, Healthcare POA, living will, etc.

7) A creative expression tab with sample drawings, poems, etc. and room for more.

8) A "rant and rave" section for family members or caregivers to express how hard this work is, or what difficulties they are having with it.

9) A gratitude section to express thanks (to each other or beyond).
10) A private/public toggle switch for certain elements (not the medical, legal tabs) to provide a sense of control over who gets to see this.

11) A burning questions tab.

12) A direct-message option so people can send individual, private notes.

Finally, at the end of the day, the hope is that the caregiver who uses GERI is able to accomplish a sense of peace with themselves.

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

We would like to prototype elements of the online platform as a physical binder, then conduct open-ended, in-person interviews with users to gauge their response.

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

1) What privacy concerns should we address? 2) What would make this most appealing/attractive for all key constituents to use? 3) What is most appealing about this idea? 4) What barriers (besides the fact that not everyone is online) could get in the way? 5) Would a journal/book version be helpful for caregivers who do not have online access? 6) Where can we find people (at all levels of the caregiving spectrum) to show our prototype? 7) Should this be a subscription-based service?

How long has your idea existed?

  • 0-3 months

This idea emerged from

  • A group brainstorm
  • An OpenIDEO Outpost or Chapter
  • An Individual

Tell us about your work experience:

The team works in a variety of settings from hospitals to advocacy to non-profit administration and the arts! Collectively, we experience in design, user experience, healthcare, fundraising, and caregiving.

1 comment

Join the conversation:

Photo of Mariah Burton Nelson

Kate Rushton Bettina Fliegel Hi Kate and Bettina, I've so enjoyed working with you on other challenges. Just tagging you here to see if you have any thoughts on this one. As noted, it emerged from an OpenIdeo workshop in DC. As the person on our team representing the caregiver point of view, I liked it because it's not just about caregiver needs (like delegating tasks and keeping everyone informed); it's also about supporting the caregiver to go do other things that are unrelated to caregiving except in that they support the whole person, and thus fend off burnout. Any thoughts on this from your perspectives? What might we be overlooking? Thanks!