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Enhancing the capacities of female primary and secondary caregivers to improve mental health of their loved ones with dementia[Videos 26/12]

The idea is to provide means of livelihood for unpaid female family caregivers and build the capacity of nurses to assist family caregivers.

Photo of Ngozi

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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?

This idea is designed for 10 female nurses who will be trained on leadership and management skills for caregivers and mental health management for dementia persons and 2 young women from the family caregiver will also be trained on economic skill acquisition and after which will be empowered financially to kick-start their own businesses as this boost their financial capacity and means of livelihood and also help avoid any mental stress for the family caregivers.


There is this family in Ibeku community in Aboh-Mbaise Local Government Area in Imo State of Nigeria who has an elderly mother with an early ill mental challenge. The mental illness stated as a result of the loss of her husband who died of stroke and ever since then she also developed this problem due to the stress she went through taking care of her husband during his illness and also could not handle the fact that she lost him after all the efforts of the family. As a result of all these shock, she also developed a partial stroke which affected her mental health and up till today she has not recovered from the mental illness despite all the medical treatments a relation assisted her family with to ensure she recovers. Time came when the relation could not help the family with financial assistance for the dementia’s medical bills so the family have to bring her back from the hospital to their village where her two daughters and son are taking care of her. Her case keeps getting worst day by day because the family caregivers do not have any means of livelihood. Most times whenever our team goes for community outreach to the community, we see the stress these two young women go through just to take care of their loved mother. 


Caregivers spend a substantial amount of time interacting with their care recipients, while providing care in a wide range of activities. Nurses have a limited view of this interaction. Caregiving can last for a short period of post-acute care, especially after a hospitalization, to more than 40 years of ongoing care for a person with chronic care needs. On average, informal caregivers devote 4.3 years to this work. Four out of 10 caregivers spend 5 or more years providing support, and 2 out of 10 have spent a decade or more of their lives caring for their family member. This is a day-in, day-out responsibility. More than half of family caregivers provide 8 hours of care or more every week, and one in five provides more than 40 hours per week. 

Low personal and household incomes and limited financial resources can result in increased caregiver risk for negative outcomes, particularly if there are substantial out-of-pocket costs for care recipient needs. Caregivers who are unemployed or have low incomes may experience more distress because they may have fewer resources to meet care demands. Overall, financial concerns cause particular distress for caregivers during long treatment period as resources become depleted. Higher-income families, with greater financial resources to purchase needed care, might not become as distressed or burdened as those with limited resources. Most caregivers are women who handle time-consuming and difficult tasks like personal care. 

Family caregivers often feel unprepared to provide care, have inadequate knowledge to deliver proper care, and receive little guidance from the formal health care provider. Nurses and family caregivers rarely agree about specific needs or problems during hospital admission or discharge, in part because nurses are often unaware of the strengths and weaknesses of both the patient and caregiver. Due to inadequate knowledge and skill, family caregivers may be unfamiliar with the type of care they must provide or the amount of care needed. Family caregivers may not know when they need community resources, and then may not know how to access and best utilize available resources. As a result, caregivers often neglect their own health care needs in order to assist their family member, causing deterioration in the caregiver’s health and well-being. 

Our team had a deep thought to this situation that if these young women continue like this without the help of a trained Nurse, medical assistance for the loved mother and also a means of livelihood to take care of their mother, they may also develop mental health issues too like their mother did. To this we came up with this idea to when this call was made: 

1. Survey research on needs assessments both at the beginning and end of the project: in doing this, we had paid a visit to the family to know the current situation of things and after which we decided to apply for this call in order to assist the family caregivers in improving the health of their dementia person. As the project commences, there will be a proper survey research on needs assessments and also at the end of the project to evaluate the outcome of the project intervention. 

2. Training and engaging of nurses (primary caregivers): We will enhance the capacity 10 volunteer nurses on Leadership and Management Skills for Caregivers and Mental Health Management Skills of dementia persons. 2 of these nurses will be engaged to train the family caregiver as administer treatments and also assist them on how to take care of the loved mother (the dementia) while the other 8 nurses will be assigned to at least 4 other identified families that have dementia persons to assist them for the period of this intervention. 

3. Skill acquisition and economic empowerment of the two female (daughters of the dementia) family caregivers: through this intervention, our team will also train and financially empower the two female family caregivers. They will be both trained on different economic skill acquisitions for the period of 3 months and after which they will be financially empowered to kick-start their own business as this will help them to be financially stable with a means of livelihood and this will also help avoid any mental stress that may further cause these girls mental illnesses.

These two ladies will be trained along said with other female identified family caregiver in at least 4 other identified families in the community were the other 8 nurses will be assigned to assist caregivers. 

4. Community outreach for public awareness in the community:

There will be a one day community outreach in the intervention community to create awareness and educate members of the community on the need to assist and promote family caregiver of dementia persons.

5. Monitory and evaluation: An M&E consultant will be hired for effective success of this project. 

Project sustainability: 

After this intervention, the family will no longer have issues of taking care of their mother because they have acquired both mental management skills and economic skills that will boost their capacities to face challenges. The volunteered nurses who have also being trained on management skills on mental health services will also have extend these skills and services even at the expiration of the project and it will no longer be an issue for the family caregivers to assist the nurses with stipends.

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

Providing the assistance of trained primary caregivers (nurses) to train and assist family caregivers and also improving the economic status of the unpaid family caregivers through skill acquisition and economic empowerment. When the caregivers have no means of livelihood, it could add more stress to what they encounter taking care of their loved dementia person. But ones they are quipped and trained to take care of their love dementia, it could curb frustrations and mental stress.

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

We will require the experience of the OpenIDEO on similar case and also the Facilitators from OPenIDEO who will help train the volunteer nurses who will in turn train and assist the family caregivers on leadership and management for caregivers. We also need the your contributions in the area of skill acquisition for the family caregivers and supervision throughout the project lifetime. Funds are also very essential in executing this idea.

How long has your idea existed?

  • 0-3 months

This idea emerged from

  • A group brainstorm

Tell us about your work experience:

We have worked on the areas of entrepreneurship, healthcare, project designs and implementations.

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

It is vital to empower the less-privileged informal caregivers through skill acquisitions. Adequate training will be given to formal caregivers to assist the informal caregivers to cater for their loved ones with dementia. Our focus is on female caregivers because they care more for their families than the men.

How does your idea demonstrate our Criteria of Accessibility?

Our idea is primarily is engineered to empower caregivers to effectively cater for their loved ones with dementia. Our idea is affordable, cost-effective, and sustainable in the present and in the long-term period. These secondary caregivers are empowered and have sources of income to keep going. All our approaches do reinforce the typical day-to-day lifestyle of caregivers, instead of digressing from it. We are currently integrating community participation by getting them involved all along.

How does your idea demonstrate or plan to demonstrate scalability?

During the research, consultative meetings, and community awareness, we had requests to expand our activities to other communities by the intervention community and other communities. We intend to expand this intervention to other affected families that were captured in the survey research.

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

The impact of our idea can measured by the following means. 1. The response from the distributed questionnaires. 2. The level of interest and commitment from the community. 3. The number of dementia patients identified through the research. 4. The number of dementia patients treated. 5. The number of both primary and secondary caregivers trained and empowered. 6. The testimonials from the members of the intervention communities.

What are your immediate next steps after the Challenge?

1. We will go back every six months for post-project evaluation. 2. We will issue interviews to caregivers and members of the community. 3. Our team will hold annual meetings with these caregivers for the purpose of appraisal and greater efficiency.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Chaika

I think this is a wonderful idea and one that can be expanded upon to have global relevance.
As a caregiver, I have often had similar thoughts that sort of mesh with this one.
1. A large part of what makes us less than perfect caregivers is the incredible stress of knowing one could lose a home or worse, because the finances don't support the care. When we are very stressed, we become exhausted, and are not at our best. So economic stability would definitely help the ones cared for. Also, having help in place to make caregiving viable economically might result in more families caring for their own.
2. Education is huge. I often wish there had been some sort of "prepare to care for your parents" class, mandatory in high school or college, or freely offered thereafter. So many things we have to learn as we go. From fall-proofing to more complex medical things. For instance, my mom got C. difficile, and the hospital sent her home after a course of metronidazole, essentially still dying. I had to research another drug and ask her doc about it. Just got lucky.
3. To expand upon this. Many caregivers, even in the US, are broke and find themselves at an age where it is difficult to get hired after the fact. Then they can become the poor elderly, maybe with no kids of their own to care for them.
4. Many caregivers have to be at home full time, but they would have enough time to work from home part time online, if timing could be flexed around care needs, and if they could get help with skills development, referrals for contracts, or both. Some sort of job board for caregiver might help. Projects might need longer lead times, to enable flexibility to meet emergencies, or short lead times for work that could be done overnight.
5. I agree with the premise that better caregiver education and stronger financial support would improve both the quality of care given, and the physical, emotional, and economic health of both the elder and the soon to be elder caregiver.
6. Also, at least in the US, elders get hit w more bureaucratic red tape just at a time when they can least manage it. Caregivers find it an added burden. Help and training w navigating the systems would be useful too.

I hope you win, and spread this to the whole world!

Photo of Ngozi

Dear Chaika.
Thank you so so much for this wonderful contributions. I wish to know your location and desire that you join our team.
I also want to use the opportunity to tell you we are work currently in the community on this project and by the time we finish we will upload our videos/prototype and other relevant materials that will help our team win.
By then we also need you and everyone in our team to contribute to what we will upload. This might take us little time but we assure you that we are coming up with something great.

Photo of Chaika

Thank you, Ngozi.
I would be honored to join your team,
though I don't know what i can offer from Hawaii. Far away. But yes, if that works for you. :)

Photo of Ngozi

Thank you Chaika,
Surely you will have your contributions made when we upload the videos and other documents here. We will need you to scrutinize and make your contributions. That will help us a lot.

Thank you

Photo of Chaika

OK. Will do. Wishing you great success!

Photo of Sameer Khan

This is very valuable insight. Thank you Chaika 

Photo of Chaika

Thank you too Sameer Khan!
And I agree with you that there is a problem of elders being seen
as a burden to society. But we need our elders. We need their wisdom, and even when that goes, the lessons that they can teach us about compassion and non-aversion. You never wasted a moment caring for or advocating for your father or anyone in his position. You did something wonderful. You should be proud.

Photo of Ngozi

Thank You Chaika for this wonderful point you made.

Photo of Sameer Khan

Thank you so much Chaika I really appreciate your words of encouragement. I'm also thankful for the resources you shared. They are very useful for our market research.

I'd like to share our past year's research into caregiving and healthcare in Ontario Canada summarized here:

The entire healthcare industry in Ontario would stall if it weren't for informal caregivers. Informal caregivers constitute more than half of the industry strength in numbers, work hours and spending ($1.5 billion per year). And yes formal as well as informal caregivers are mostly women.

Photo of Ngozi

Thanks Sameer for your link shared.

Photo of Ngozi

Thanks Sameer for your link shared.

Photo of Ngozi

Thanks Sameer for your link shared.

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