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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.


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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